In October 2017, Britain’s International Development Minister, Rory Stewart, made a case for the in-theatre termination of Britons fighting for the Islamic State (IS).
Stewart said: “They believe in an extremely hateful doctrine which involves … trying to use violence and brutality to create an eighth-century … state. …. [T]hese people are a serious danger to us, and unfortunately the only way of dealing with them will be, in almost every case, to kill them. …
“These are people … who are torturing and murdering, trying by violence to impose their will. Our response has to be … to deal with that.”
Is Stewart’s exhortation morally justified?
Yes. The IS brand of Islam institutionalizes sexism, misogyny and homophobia. It institutionalizes racism, sectarianism and slavery. It’s a barbaric credo that sets itself against British values.
Those who doubt its barbarity should reflect on the fate of Iraq’s Yazidis. Branded devil-worshippers by IS, it’s a matter of record that Yazidi men, women and children have been murdered, raped and enslaved. Why? Because the Yazidi world-view clashes with that of IS.
In issuing his call for the in-theatre termination of British IS volunteers, Stewart was recognizing an unpalatable truth: that there is sustained interest in and support for the IS brand of Islam in the United Kingdom.
The Secret Intelligence Service estimates that some 3,000 Britons are willing and able to respond to IS calls to commit murder on the streets of Britain. On May 22, 2017, 22 concert-goers were murdered, and 116 injured by a suicide bomber in Manchester. Troops were deployed. Shortly after the troops were stood down, Islamic terrorists murdered eight and injured 48 in London.
A 2007 survey of 1,003 British Muslims revealed that 37 per cent of 16-to-24-year-olds would prefer to live under sharia (religious) law. None of the 500 British Muslims interviewed in a 2009 survey believed that homosexual acts were morally acceptable.
Islamic State websites, propagandists and apologists exploit social conservatism. They exploit ghettoization and polarization – dynamics I’ve witnessed.
Society must reintegrate. Civic leaders must encourage the tolerance of difference, including that pertaining to sexual orientation.
Finally, as a safety net, the government should increase Secret Intelligence Service funding by at least one-third: it takes up to 30 officers to mount a 24-hour surveillance operation on a suspect.
Dr. Simon Bennett is director of the Civil Safety and Security Unit at the University of Leicester in England.