Veteran Belgian politician and European Union (EU) ‘Counter-Terrorism Coordinator” Gilles de Kerchove has said “fourth-rank footsoldiers” of the Islamic State shouldn’t be jailed when they return to Europe as they would be radicalised there even more effectively than they had been in Syria and Iraq.
The comments come as Gilles de Kerchove calls upon European countries to show leniency to certain returnees from the Islamic State. In a plan that appears to take some inspiration from counter-gang membership initiatives in cities like London, Mr. de Kerchove said Islamic State fighters coming to Europe who could be proved to have not killed anybody while serving the caliphate could be put to use by Western governments.
The Eurocrat questioned the utility of prison as a rehabilitative tool for returning jihadis, suggesting that upon release they may end up being more radicalised than they had been at the time of incarceration, reports The Guardian.
Speaking of the unknown number of cases where individuals defect from European states to ISIS before changing their minds again without having done any actual fighting, Mr. de Kerchove said: “If there is no evidence that they are an active jihadi – for instance, they crossed the border and spent a week with the organisation but were really just washing dishes, a fourth-rank footsoldier, then saw people beheaded and rushed to leave, saying, ‘I made a big mistake’ – is it really worth putting them on the trail that leads to prison?”.
Mr. de Kerchove acknowledged the significant problems affected the prisons of many European nations, which have in some cases become colonies of radical Islam. He said: “Prisons are major incubators of radicalisation. Therefore, if you can avoid prison for those who do not have blood on their hands and are genuinely ready to engage in a rehabilitation programme, why don’t we try alternatives?”.
Turning to his native Belgium, the European state with the highest per-capital number of inhabitants fighting with the Islamic State, Mr. de Kerchove criticised the state for being too “blunt” with jihadists, and just jailing them instead of rehabilitating them.
Breitbart London has reported at length on the radicalisation of prisons, which has apparently been allowed to spread and entrench itself under the noses of European politicians and law enforcement professionals. A report this month highlighted how Muslim extremists run whole prison blocks according to their own sharia law, where even non-Muslim inmates are forced to obey laws set by Islamist inmates.
The connection between radical prisons and Islamist terror is also being observed in Europe’s terror attackers. A March report shows how all the Brussels, Paris Bataclan, and Paris Charlie Hebdo attackers had been radicalised in prison while serving time for other crimes.
Muslims make up 23 per cent of the British prison population, and is rising fast — up 122 per cent in the past 13 years. In France, the prison population is estimated to be above 60 per cent.
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