I was interviewed by Anna Foster on BBC Radio 5 Live, on the topic of the UK government criminalising Muslims who go to Syria, and the government’s demand that family members report to the Police anyone in their family who has expressed desire to go. I argued that it was counterproductive to require families to report family members amongst themselves, knowing they would be blindly criminalised and probably sentenced to prison for a long time. Many in the Muslim community, especially parents have also raised the same concerns and rejected the government’s demand.
The second point I raised, is that the UK government is hypocritical for criminalising Muslims who go to Syria to work with non-proscribed groups (which the UK government has itself provided some equipment and support for in many cases, like the FSA!), considering that the UK government permits its other citizens to go to conflicts around the world without legal consequence, like joining the IDF against Gaza, the Western-allied Secular Libyan rebels against Gaddafi and even Secular Kurdish groups who are collaborating with the PKK (a proscribed group by the UK)!
Given that, in the past, famous non-Muslim English poets and writers, George Orwell and Bertrand Russell went off to fight in the Spanish Civil war and returned without incident (which was a point I raised on Sky News last year too), I believe the government’s criminalisation in this case is the reflection of its undue mistrust of its Muslim citizens. Perhaps the UK government should learn from Denmark’s approach?
The BBC 5 Live program was broadcast live 5th March 2015.
Watch the full audio of the discussion here: