Western Jihadists: Let Them Go

We’ve all seen or heard stories about the thousands of ISIS sympathizers who are leaving their home countries and sneaking into ISIS-controlled territory to join up with the fundamentalist-Islamist killers and psychopaths on the battlefield.

This morning I saw Mary Anne Weaver on MSNBC discussing her latest article for The New York Times Magazine, provocatively titled “Her Majesty’s Jihadists” and subtitled:

More British Muslims have joined Islamist militant groups than serve in the country’s armed forces. How to understand the pull of jihad.

Ms. Weaver had bewildered the panelists on MSNBC’s Morning Joe by writing this:

Many of the fighters from Britain — as well as those from Finland, Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands — came from comfortable middle-class homes. Many were university students or graduates; a surprising number were women, too.

In her article, Weaver also cited Shiraz Maher, a former Islamic militant and now a senior research fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London:

I asked Maher if, based on the center’s research, he could draw a typical jihadist profile. “The average British fighter is male, in his early 20s and of South Asian ethnic origin,” he began. “He usually has some university education and some association with activist groups. Over and over again, we have seen that radicalization is not necessarily driven by social deprivation or poverty.” He paused for a moment, and then went on. “Other than those who go for humanitarian reasons, some of the foreign fighters are students of martyrdom; they want to die as soon as possible and go directly to paradise. We’ve seen four British suicide bombers thus far among the 38 Britons who have been killed. Then there are the adventure seekers — those who think this will enhance their masculinity, the gang members and the petty criminals too; and then, of course, the die-hard radicals, who began by burning the American flag and who then advanced to wanting to kill Americans — or their partners — under any circumstance.”

That sobering reality being understood, the discussion this morning on MSNBC seemed to focus on just what could be done in countries like the United Kingdom to help assimilate Muslims and keep them from wanting to british jihadistswage militant jihad against Westerners, including Americans. And, after giving the problem a lot of thought, I think that is the wrong question.

I have come to the conclusion that rather than try to bend over frontwards and backwards, or rather than try to lean sideways in order to make militant-minded religious radicals of all stripes comfortable in our liberal, secular societies, we should instead make it easier, not harder, for them to join ISIS on the battlefield. If there are those among us who would rather link up with murderous, Allah-praising jihadists—those who behead and slaughter innocents and throw homosexuals off buildings and stone women to death and not only execute Christians and other non-Muslims but kill fellow Muslims—if there are a few among us who want to live that way, then we should not only allow them to do so, but we should make it easier for them. No barriers. Just let them go.

That is an easy way to rid ourselves of people who have no intention of peacefully living in a secular, freedom-loving society. In that weird sense, ISIS is doing all Western societies a favor. Their creepy jihadist magnetism, their strange and strangely appealing dreams of establishing a Caliphate, are actually performing a social good for us.

And if those ISIS-loving, Western-hating Westerners so choose, they can die for Allah—or for their own pathetic adventurism or misplaced radicalism—on the battlefield, as we pursue their psychopathically fundamentalist mentors.



  1. Bbob

     /  April 16, 2015

    Let’s just make sure they are not allowed to enter the U.S again. That would be punishment enough.


  2. Troy

     /  April 16, 2015

    Bravo! That’s a great idea! Please, let them join up so they can be killed on the battlefield! And yes indeed, once they leave their country to join ISIS, they should never be allowed to re-enter that said country, especially our country.


  3. Anonymous

     /  April 16, 2015

    I have been saying that for months. Any American that wants to go should be given a one way ticket and have their visa confiscated once they arrive in their destination. I read where one American kid went over and was quickly disillusioned with the menial work he was given. We should send any of the “selfies” over there whom want to go. Islam will surrender once they get a load of these guys!

    Kevin Beck


  4. I think Bbob hits on the problem with letting homegrown jehaddists go, i.e., not letting them back into the country. To let them back in, of course, you first have to know not only that they’re leaving, but where they go after they do leave. Under the present system it is all too easy to pretend tourism to Turkey while on the way to Syria and Iraq.

    What stands in the way of fixing this, I think, is the illusion of perfect freedom and privacy. I’m all for privacy in one’s castle, but outside the country ought to be valid business for government. Given the terrorist threat, I would a lot rather be monitored and tracked while on foreign travel than facilitate trained and indoctrinated terrorists’ entry back into the U.S.


  5. ansonburlingame

     /  April 19, 2015

    I too am concerned about people that go to the Middle East (or formerly to Afghanistan) for “training” then return home to create ……… But to restrict travel anywhere for an American citizen strikes me as questionable at best. To refuse reentry back into America for a citizen sounds about as anti-freedom of movement as I could imagine.

    Should America allow travel to any country in the world unless we are at war with such countries? Define “at war” if that is your position. What about Americans that say they want to travel to Syria to render aid now? Should they be allowed to travel and return based on what they say are their intentions?

    Under the “thinking” in this blog and comments thereto, should the two brothers that caused the Boston Bombing have been prevented from reentering America after completing their journey to their homeland? Should they have been prevented from traveling to their homeland in the first place? Should an American citizen first go to the U.S. Government to obtain permission to apply for a visa to another country, then go to the offices of that country to receive the visa? Is that freedom, American style?

    On the other hand, if an American decides to go to foreign lands, should they be monitored (electronically) while there to see what they really do and once they return to America do we then cover them with an electronic “blanket” for several years or more to be sure they did not bring the “black death” back to America. Travel to certain places overseas and your entire electronic life becomes free game for the U.S. government to monitor to its heart’s content? Hm??



    • Anson, you raise the difficulty and inconvenience of tracking likely home-grown terrorists out and back, and you’re right that it is problematic. I would argue however that there is no choice but to do so because every incident is reported as though every town is threatened. However, the truth is that the threat is minuscule relative to any individual. Our chances of harm are much greater from traversing Range Line Road than from any underwear bomber.

      Yes, international travel is bureaucratic and inconvenient, but it’s working. The amazing thing to me is that our law enforcement has been as successful as it has, catching a couple dozen or so of these nuts despite privacy laws. But this is media reality. No matter which brand of administration is in power, a few of these people are going to succeed eventually. (If it’s under a Democrat, the GOP will be yelling Benghazi all over again.)

      Mollie and I just returned from a short cruise to the Western Caribbean. The ship took our passports and held them for the duration while we were in Belize, Honduras and Mexico. We went ashore with only our driver’s licenses and room card. In Miami, five hundred passengers on and off in a couple of hours at each end of the cruise, no problems. If the NSA or INS wants to track people, I’m fine with it, and especially if their trail ends at the Syrian border with no explanation. Aid workers can easily be identified.


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