A feared scenario: three friends left their homes in the West (could have been Britain, The Netherlands, Australia ….) to join Jihad in the middle east. And join they did.
Jihad training is in physical endeavours, weapons, house to house fighting, open warfare, killing without mercy, political indoctrination.
Latest figures I have seen - estimated there are currently 150 known such Australians in this situation. Australian Prime Ministers - Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and now Scott Morrison have all claimed they will not be allowed back into Australia if at all possible (according to law).
This is the story: three friends were good at this. If a notch on a belt was applicable, their belts had plenty. They had not only became highly trained but were in the thick of it for months on end. They became cold to suffering and death. Moreover they could give chapter and verse to the indoctrination.
Their stint comes to an end. There are many reasons why they need to get back and back they go, now with a head full of political agony to what they now consider the only way forward and a brilliant knowledge of weaponry, house to house fighting, terror strategy and tactics.
The suburban life of peace and boredom might sound good after such a hectic and adrenalin logged experiences and it does touch the spot for a few days, maybe a week and then something else takes control. Everything of the West is anathema to their new destructive philosophy, that is Islamist submission and Sharia Law.
Both the Australian and British Parliaments have now raised this issue. In Australia it has gained significant airways in both the general media and in talk-back. Should Australia allow these violent filled people back into Australia whether they have Australian passports or not. The sentiment is that Australia is saying no.
This is - go wage your horror elsewhere. Some passports have already been cancelled. One newspaper report a few years ago had 300 young Muslims from Australia headed for the Middle East.
The issue has now become a hot potato in Britain too. There is not one realistic British MP who not unaware of what the problem could become and has constituencies that are frightened of what it all might mean in their suburban streets. Britain has a particular issue with burrows and districts crowded with like minded acolytes.
France is dealing with precisely such issues, one example, a Jihardist who went to Syria fighting returned and at the Belgium Jewish Museum gunned down several people. In these last 2 years there have been numerous. Only recently a French jihadist escaped prison and caught three years later having been disguised be wearing a burqua.
A recent article by Soeren Kern who is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute highlights this. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group published in UCI recently, clarity prevails.
Soeren Kern reports that more than 100 Dutch Muslims travelled to Syria in 2013 with the intention of taking part in jihadist activities there, and at least 20 battle-hardened jihadists have since returned to the Netherlands, posing a significant threat to national security, according to a new report published by the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD.
Further: reports presented by Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk and AIVD head Rob Bertholee in The Hague. In contrast to previous years, when the main security threat was deemed to be a cyber-attack, the principal concern is the mounting threats posed by the returning jihadists, as well as by Muslim hate preachers who are using the Internet to radicalise young Dutch Muslims and incite them to violence.
And more: the report warns that the presence of European fighters in Syria provides the jihadist groups active there with an “excellent opportunity to recruit individuals familiar with our region to commit acts of terrorism here.” In addition, returnees could “exploit their status as veterans to radicalize others in the Netherlands.” Overall, AIVD's primary concern is about the radicalizing influence that Dutch jihadists will exert on Muslim communities in the Netherlands.
It goes on: the vast majority of Dutch jihadists in Syria had joined one of two rebel groups, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] or Jabhat al-Nusra [JaN]. AIVD believes that at least ten individuals from the Netherlands were killed in 2013, including two Dutch jihadists who blew themselves up in suicide attacks (one in Syria and one in Iraq) and many more since.
Of more concern: as well as potentially posing a direct threat, returnees from Syria might also have a radicalizing and mobilizing effect upon fellow Muslims. In the Netherlands, they could “act as the catalyst pushing some young people already attracted by a radical strand of Islam into militant activism,” the report says. “That could strengthen local radical groups and spread their message to a wider audience.”
And what is more - they have crossed the line from rhetoric to action. Effectively, the organizations have thus become actual jihadist networks with their core members fighting in Syria and, at home, a wider group of supporters engaged in ever more fervent propaganda. Social media are used to disseminate stories about 'brothers' on the front line in Al Sham (Syria) and the deaths of their 'martyrs.'”
Further, Soeren Kern writes that forty percent of Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands between the ages of 12 and 24 have been arrested, fined, charged or otherwise accused of committing a crime during the past five years, according to recent research. In Dutch neighbourhoods where the majority of residents are Moroccan immigrants, the youth crime rate reaches 50%.
In an interview with Dutch Public Radio 1, Mustapha Abbou, a former Labor Party councillor in the city of Eindhoven, said many Moroccan youths in the Netherlands have “no education, no prospects and are barely supervised. They are a ticking time bomb.”
Our own politicians are expressing grave concerns that any known such person to get back into Australia will need to jump hoops and more hoops. The media have revealed some are in Turkish prisons, even Australia’s most wanted. Fascinating – Islamic Turkey won’t allow them onto their streets.
The Russians are now telling us in Syria, ISIS has captured 700 hostages including Europeans and Americans and threating to kill 10 a day. The US has affirmed the capture but distanced themselves from the 700 figure, much lower figure. It’s not over by a long way.
Australia has to be eternally vigilant. Christians need to be in constant prayer over these issues for national wisdom.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html