On my way into work today I heard some lady on radio 4 talking about how the Government needs to do more to stop more young people leaving the UK to go to Syria in order to join ISIS. I heard the phrase "more engagement with the Muslim community", a sound-bite very widely used in political and media circles but lacking in any clear definition, predictably, none was offered.
I thought about this for a while and concluded something quite different from the commentator. I would actually quite like it if all ISIS sympathisers left this country as soon as possible, the quicker the better. To use an old fashioned label, if these people plan, plot or act out in any way the goals of ISIS then they are traitors plain and simple. They betray the society that sustains them and threaten its broader well-being by embracing a set of values and ethics that are incompatible with the wishes of the vast majority of people here. Values like freedom of speech, gender equality, freedom of conscience, pluralism, freedom of religion, tolerance, secular law and so on.
Of course there are some cases where young kids are groomed and indoctrinated (for the second time in their lives) by shady figures whose agenda is to "radicalise" them. Of course coming from the socio-religious background they invariably do, where the main theme of the group-think is "submission" to an invisible male sky God, it's hardly surprising that many are totally gullible and ripe for exploitation in this way. Any shred of sceptical thought has been expunged from them over many years of being pummelled with irrational superstitious nonsense, any sign of weakness of character or thought is right there in plain view, ready to be exploited to the full.
However, having said all this, I still think there is something that our Government can do; it's a simple strategy called "telling the truth". Show these people what will really happen to them, counter the narrative of heroism and jihad coming from ISIS with some hard cold evidence, ideally from witness statements. Let these people know (in graphic detail) what awaits them in this primitive and barbaric cult. YouTube some witness testimony from Yazidi women, explain that their future will consist mainly of being repeatedly gang raped by rancid middle-aged men, immolation for non-compliance, total subjugation to a violently misogynistic patriarchy and eventual annihilation by Arab machine gun (against some dirt wall), or unexpectedly during the night by Kafir missile or Alawite barrel bomb.