Violent British Muslims fighting for the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria are using organised crime in the UK to pay for their “gangsta-Jihad” and may pose a significant security risk if they are allowed to return, reveals the Express on Sunday.
Monitoring of social media by Britain’s political police force the ‘Special Branch’ shows that communications originating in the war-torn region uses British criminal slang to communicate with ‘compatriots’ left behind in the UK.
There are thought to be around 400 British nationals fighting for ISIS, responding to a call to arms to establish a global caliphate. Despite how potentially destabilising the conflict could be not only in the region but also in the UK should the fighters return, some have compared those going abroad the international brigades of the Spanish Civil War.
This is not a problem limited to the United Kingdom – or even to Europe. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was fast to take action over Australian Muslims traveling to fight abroad. In line with Australia’s tough border and counter-terrorism policy, Mr. Abbott said in June “The important thing is to ensure that as far as is humanly possible they don’t come back into our country”. So far the UK has vowed to prosecute those engaging in conflicts abroad, but this is not without difficulty.
Because of Britain’s comparatively poor border controls, fighters have been free to come and go relatively unimpeded. Indeed, the former head of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service has recently warned that as many as 300 battle-hardened Jihadists may have returned to the UK already and “the scale of the threat is placing an impossible burden on British intelligence”.
Returning to the criminal gangs they may have left to fight abroad in the first place, these veteran fighters will have access to underground networks capable of arming and supplying them. Terror expert Raffaello Pantucci told the Express “The danger is of serious criminals with battlefield experience using this in civilian situations either as terrorist activity or criminal activity”.
Statistics released by the Government in 2013 shows that Muslims are significantly over-represented in England & Wales’ prison population, being over three times more likely to be incarcerated than the general population average.