Norwegian Minister of Justice Jøran Kallmyr has announced that the country will be revoking all residency permits granted to individuals who left Norway to go and fight or join the Islamic State in the Middle East.
The minister gave the order to the Directorate of Immigration (UDI) to withdraw the permits saying that only those with Norwegian citizenship would be allowed to step foot in the country, Norwegian tabloid Verdens Gang reports.
Kallmyr added that although Norwegian citizens would be allowed to return, it did not mean they would be exempt from the consequences of having joined the terror group.
“Norwegian citizens who have joined the Islamic State, either as warriors or with other affiliations, will be prosecuted if they return. If they have children. they will be handled by the child welfare service. This applies to those who return to Norway on their own,” Kallmyr said.
When asked about the exact number of Islamic State members who would be affected by the new policy, Kallmyr said that several would be, but the exact numbers were uncertain. “There are many that we assume are dead, but we do not know for sure. There is a lack of information,” he said.
Sweden: Serious Crimes Committed by Returned ISIS Fighters https://t.co/RATEkXYiSp
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Children of Islamic State members will be allowed to return if they qualify for Norwegian citizenship with the government looking to bring back those who have been orphaned in the conflict as well as other children if their mothers are willing to give them up.
The policy is in high contrast to neighbouring Sweden where politicians have advocated bringing back Islamic State fighters and attempting to reintegrate them into society.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven ruled out in March the notion of stripping the citizenship of dual nationals who had joined the terror group, saying some could face potential prosecution if they returned.
Forty-one Swedish municipalities are expected to be forced to take back returning fighters with the Centre for Violent Extremism (CVE) holding an educational event for municipal leaders last month to help them deal with the return of the extremists and their families.
Denmark, meanwhile, passed a law in March that would not allow the children of Islamic State fighters born overseas to claim citizenship at all.