One of the most senior British diplomats has claimed that the Islamic State is “not Islamic and they are not a state” – in a major policy speech to the United Nations Security Council on Friday.
Mark Sedwill, the Permanent Secretary to the UK Home Office delivered a speech in New York to the Security Council’s Briefing on Foreign Terrorist Fighters where he stated the aims of the British government to “challenge” and “disrupt” ISIS fighters – focusing on their killing of hundreds of “mostly Muslim” civilians.
Sedwell, who was the private secretary to the Foreign Secretaries Robin Cook and Jack Straw during the invasion of Iraq, said that there are now 25,000 foreign fighters within ISIS, with many of these coming from Britain, the United States, and European nations.
In national security, there is no longer a distinction between the domestic and the international,” he commented, before outing the British government’s new plans to use 2 million public sector workers as spies against homegrown extremism. The plans set in place make it a legal requirement for public servants to “seek to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and extremism”.
While Mr Sedwell made bold claims over the aims of the British government, some may be concerned over his attitude towards the religious nature of ISIS. He spoke of countering the ISIS narrative, stating: “We must counter their false claims of success, of statehood, of moral supremacy, of religious authority, and reach those vulnerable to terrorist and extremist propaganda”.
His comments and the “claims of success” come just shortly after the group took control of Palymra, in Syria.
Sedwell, who is also the former UK Ambassador to Afghanistan, concluded: “Let us remind ourselves of the overall picture. Al-Qaeda, ISIS, ISIL, Da’esh or whatever the next mutation turns out to be are not Islamic and they are not a state. They are a death cult devoted to mayhem and destruction. So from today’s session and the work that follows they must hear a united message from these United Nations. We will not tolerate your intolerance. We will not compromise our values. We will contain you, challenge you, disrupt you. We will stand united and united we will defeat you.”