Labour Member of Parliament Yasmin Qureshi has caused outrage after comparing the idea of young British Muslims joining ISIS to the idea of young Jewish Britons joining the Israel Defence Forces.
Qureshi, who has previously had to apologise for offence caused by comparing the situation in Gaza to the Holocaust, also claimed that most British Muslims going to Iraq and Syria were going for “humanitarian reasons” in a bizarre Sky News interview yesterday.
“From my understand [sic], most have gone to actually help people so its been humanitarian work. We understand now from some the [sic] intelligence services giving us information, that some perhaps are… in… doing other things other than humanitarian work. But we know… but what we don’t have enough information is what is the actual numbers [sic] who are perhaps fighting with the Syrian coalition force who we are funding and supporting, how many doing humanitarian work, and how many are actually, sort of involved with Isis specifically as opposed to other groups that are out there?
“So I think it is important that we should have some ideas to have an idea of the numbers. Because I’m not, to be honest, convinced that the numbers as high as its been made out to be. We are told an English accent was heard in the sad and deplorable execution of James Foley, somehow suggests, you know, that a whole swathe of young Muslims from Britain there who gonna come back [sic] and… um… sort of cause a complete chaos here.
“I think that is perhaps not made out, certainly not by the facts we have been given.”
Asked about the number of British Muslims who have gone to fight in Syria versus the number of British Muslims who joined the British army – the “crisis of loyalty” – Qureshi delved into deeply offensive territory, by claiming that British Jews who joined the legitimate army of the democratic State of Israel were no different from British Muslims who joined terrorist group ISIS:
“I think… firstly… we have young people from this country going join [sic] the IDF and I don’t think anybody there calls into question the loyalty between joining the British Army and perhaps joining an Israeli army. So why is it that just because some Muslims, youngsters, wrongly go out to fight a cause that they think is the right cause, like for example we had in Franco’s fascism [sic] we had young men in this country who went there to fight against him… I think just the fact that some people have gone out does not question the loyalty of ninety nine nine point nine percent [sic] of British Muslims to Britain. So I think it is important to separate those two things.”
Qureshi placed the blame for radical Islam at the feet of the West, saying that “the policies we have pursued over the last 30-50 years in the whole of the Middle East has led us to the point we have now.”
Speaking on Home Secretary Theresa May’s proposals on radicalisation, Qureshi said: “we must deal with extremism, whether it Islamic, whether is BNP [sic], EDL, whether its even neo-cons, because a lot of their policies have caused problems in the Middle East.”
There are currently thought to be 100 British Jews fighting with the IDF, an ally of Britain, whereas estimates place the number of British Muslims fighting for the terrorist organisation ISIS at between 500 and 1500.