Connect with us

kurdistan

The ‘Jihadi Jack’ I went to school with must face justice in Britain | Michael Raff



Jack Letts, 20, from Oxford  - 2272 - The ‘Jihadi Jack’ I went to school with must face justice in Britain | Michael Raff

Until 2014, Jack Letts had a normal life. He grew up in a middle-class family in Oxford, attended a good state school and was surrounded by a close-knit group of friends. I know this first-hand, as for many years we were classmates. However, the last three years have been anything but ordinary for Jack. In 2014, having converted to Islam, he travelled to Syria. He has remained there since, along the way being dubbed Jihadi Jack by the British media, after an image surfaced of him making a hand gesture widely used by Islamic State.

In May, the 21-year-old was captured by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units after leaving territory that had been controlled by Isis. He has since been charged with being a member of Isis.

Even though Kurdish officials have made it clear that they are willing to hand over prisoners to their countries of origin, they say the Foreign Office has still not requested that Jack be returned. What’s more, the Tory minister Rory Stewart recently said that the only way of dealing with most of the Britons who travel to Syria is to have them killed.

Although this view has been largely disavowed, an alarming number of people think Stewart has a point. In their eyes, those who have travelled to Syria, and have any sympathy whatsoever for Isis and its despicable ideology, have forfeited their rights, and are not worthy of our help.

This view, while understandable, is wrong. Every attempt should be made to bring individuals like Jack home to be dealt with.

While I did not know Jack particularly well, and have not had contact with him for many years, I feel compelled to speak out – not only for Jack and his parents (who have been through their own horrendous ordeal, including being charged with funding terrorism for sending money to their son), but also for British society and the values that we supposedly live by.

Despite the media frenzy, very little is actually known about Jack and what he has been doing over the past three years. I have nothing to offer by way of enlightenment. I don’t know why he went to Syria, whether he supports Isis, or whether he has committed any acts of violence in its name. I also have no idea whether he would pose a threat to our society if he returned. I don’t know whether there is any going back for him.

But here is what I do know. 

I know that one thing that separates us from Isis is our unwavering belief in human rights and the rule of law. There is no tangible evidence whatsoever that Jack is a terrorist. In fact, he vehemently denies this, maintaining that he originally travelled to the Middle East on humanitarian grounds. He has clearly been radicalised, but he also insisted that he hates Isis “more than the Americans hate them”. Does Jack have a great deal of questions to answer? Yes. Should he be tried under the Terrorism Act on his return to Britain? Possibly. Should he be abandoned and left to rot in appalling conditions in Syria? No. Jack is a British citizen, and is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. To ignore his plight because he might be a terrorist threatens the very foundations upon which our society is built.

Some may equate this position with sympathy for terrorists. Yet years of tough talk have gotten us nowhere. I often think about how the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks would feel if they could see the world they have left behind. I suspect they would be delighted: they have succeeded in driving a wedge between “us’” and “them”, goading the Western public into accepting increasingly draconian measures that further isolate those vulnerable to their poisonous ideology. To have a hope of combating home-grown terrorism, we must better understand why individuals turn to this ideology, and offer a pathway to redemption where appropriate. 

Obviously, terrorists must be dealt with using the full force of the law. I am not advocating going soft on terrorism; rather, I am proposing that it is time we took a grownup approach, going beyond mere sound bites that play well with a fearful public. We should start with making every effort to bring Jack home and, if necessary, bring him to justice.

The boy I knew was not evil. Nor is it clear, at this moment, that he has done anything evil. Whether anyone likes it or not – be it you, the government, or even Jack himself – he is a British citizen and should be treated as such. It may not be what is popular, but it is what is right.

Michael Raff studied law with criminology at the University of Manchester

theguardian

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

kurdistan

US-led coalition strikes kill 150 Islamic State militants in Syria



A pair of US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles flying over northern Iraq  - 3607 - US-led coalition strikes kill 150 Islamic State militants in Syria

US-led coalition strikes kill 150 Islamic State militants in Syria

Strikes near As Shafah come as the US urged Turkey to focus on fighting Isis and show restraint in its campaign against Kurdish forces







A pair of US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles flying over northern Iraq  - 3607 - US-led coalition strikes kill 150 Islamic State militants in Syria









The US has signalled an open-ended military presence in Syria as part of a broader strategy to prevent Islamic State’s resurgence
Photograph: Senior Airman Matthew Bruch/AFP/Getty Images

The US-led coalition fighting Islamic State has said it has killed nearly 150 militants in strikesin the Syrian middle Euphrates valley.

The strikes on Saturday come as the US urged Turkey to show restraint in its campaign against Kurdish forces in northern Syria and to focus on fighting Isis. On Tuesday, Turkey claimed to have killed 260 Kurdish and Isis fighters in a four-day offensive the north of the country.

The US has signalled an open-ended military presence in Syria as part of a broader strategy to prevent a resurgence of Isis, pave the way diplomatically for the eventual departure of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and curtail Iran’s influence.

“The precision strikes were a culmination of extensive intelligence preparation to confirm an Isis headquarters and command and control center in an exclusively Isis-occupied location in the contested middle Euphrates river valley,” said a statement issued on Tuesday by the coalition.

The strikes took place near As Shafah, Syria and killed between 145 and 150 militants. The statement added that US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which includes Kurdish YPG fighters, helped in target observation.

Turkey seeks to avoid any clash with US, Russian or Syrian forces but will take any steps needed for its security, a Turkish minister said on Tuesday, the fourth day of its air and ground offensive against Kurdish forces.

The United States and Russia both have military forces in Syria and have urged Turkey to show restraint in its campaign, named Operation Olive Branch, to crush the US-backed Kurdish YPG in the Afrin region on Turkey’s southern border.

“Our SDF partners are still making daily progress and sacrifices, and together we are still finding, targeting and killing ISIS terrorists intent on keeping their extremist hold on the region,” maj gen James Jarrard, commander of special operations for the coalition, said in the statement.

The United States has led an international coalition conducting air strikes against Islamic State since 2014. US troops have served as advisers on the ground with Iraqi government forces and with Kurdish and Arab groups in Syria.

The coalition has said in the past that fewer than 1,000 Islamic State fighters remain in Iraq and Syria, but that the militant group still remains a threat. The figure excludes areas in western Syria under the control of Assadss government and his allies.



theguardian

Continue Reading

kurdistan

Kurds in Canada urge Turkey to ‘stop spilling Kurdish blood’ in Afrin

- KACOttawa - Kurds in Canada urge Turkey to ‘stop spilling Kurdish blood’ in Afrin


Rojen Rahmani, head of lobbying and advocacy for KAC, said the Canadian government needs to respond and condemn Turkey’s violent campaign in Rojava.

“I think Canada’s response to Turkey’s attack on Afrin needs to be louder,” she told Kurdistan 24. “[Canada] needs to play a larger role taking into account the YPG forces are an ally of America and Canada.”

Turkish warplanes began striking the Kurdish city of Afrin on Saturday as ground troops entered the region the following day.

The campaign dubbed “Operation Olive Branch” is meant to clear Syria’s Kurdish-held northwest district of People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters who Turkey claims are an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Ankara has labeled the US-backed Kurdish forces a “terrorist organization” and has been infuriated by Washington’s support for the YPG.

The US, which is backing the YPG in the ongoing battle against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria, said it was concerned regarding the situation.



Source link

Continue Reading

kurdistan

New Governor Steps Up Arabisation Campaign in Kirkuk

- 955d54c3357369ad15d1991b10e69675 L - New Governor Steps Up Arabisation Campaign in Kirkuk


KIRKUK — The new governor of Kirkuk who was appointed by the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi, Rakan Saeed, helps the Arabisation campaign against the indigenous Kurdish population of the province.

According to a written document, a copy of which was obtained by BasNews, signed by the governor himself, Saeed urges the security forces based in Nawroz district of Kirkuk to send him the list of names who have been given lands by the directorate of the area.

The documents also show that the people whom their names are in the wanted list have to leave the place in 7 days otherwise they bear the responsibility.

According to the information obtained by BasNews, the number of residents who have been warned to leave their properties is estimated to be 130 families who had built their houses 14 years ago in Kirkuk.

Political observers believe that Saeed’s documents are to intensify the Arabisation in Kirkuk province, therefore he should be stopped.

On October 16th, 2017, Hashed-al Shaabi in collaboration with a few other militias which were allied by some “traitors” in Kurdish military forces, invaded Kirkuk, Tuz Khurmatu, and Khanaqin. During the invasion, hundreds of citizens were killed or severely injured despite the fact that approximately 200,000 people fled their cities.





Source link

Continue Reading

Recent News

- 24turkey1 facebookJumbo 400x240 - Mixed Messages From U.S. as Turkey Attacks Syrian Kurds - 24turkey1 facebookJumbo 80x80 - Mixed Messages From U.S. as Turkey Attacks Syrian Kurds
Syria1 hour ago

Mixed Messages From U.S. as Turkey Attacks Syrian Kurds

Photo Turkish soldiers around the area of Mount Bersaya, north of the Syrian town of Azaz, on Tuesday. Credit Saleh...

- 5a67ae24fc7e9309638b4567 - US chemical blame-game: Well-timed PR stunt or trick to justify military presence in Syria? - 5a67ae24fc7e9309638b4567 - US chemical blame-game: Well-timed PR stunt or trick to justify military presence in Syria?
Syria2 hours ago

US chemical blame-game: Well-timed PR stunt or trick to justify military presence in Syria?

French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. © Philippe Wojazer / Reuters

- 20180124 sdf3d46d3 image 400x240 - 37 Turkish soldiers and gang members killed in Afrin  - 20180124 sdf3d46d3 image 80x80 - 37 Turkish soldiers and gang members killed in Afrin 
Rojava3 hours ago

37 Turkish soldiers and gang members killed in Afrin 

According to SDF sources, the invading Turkish army and allied gangs suffered heavy losses during ongoing clashes in Afrin. Bodies...

kurdistan3 hours ago

US-led coalition strikes kill 150 Islamic State militants in Syria

US news US-led coalition strikes kill 150 Islamic State militants in Syria Strikes near As Shafah come as the US...

- 20180124 sdfaedabe image 400x240 - 8 soldiers killed in an action by SDF fighters  - 20180124 sdfaedabe image 80x80 - 8 soldiers killed in an action by SDF fighters 
Rojava4 hours ago

8 soldiers killed in an action by SDF fighters 

Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces carried out an action against the Turkish army and affiliated gangs in Bazara village...

- 24Friedman web facebookJumbo 400x240 - The Tweet Trump Could Never Send Tehran - 24Friedman web facebookJumbo 80x80 - The Tweet Trump Could Never Send Tehran
Iran4 hours ago

The Tweet Trump Could Never Send Tehran

Photo The Hamoun wetlands in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan Province have dried up. Credit Behrouz Mehria/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images After violent...

- 20180124 raj084be1 image 400x240 - Turkish attack on Rajo kills one civilian, wounds two others  - 20180124 raj084be1 image 80x80 - Turkish attack on Rajo kills one civilian, wounds two others 
Rojava4 hours ago

Turkish attack on Rajo kills one civilian, wounds two others 

Turkish army is continuing its invasion attacks against Afrin Canton of Northern Syria, also hitting civilian areas besides military targets....

- 20180124 20180123 2018 01 23 hsk dauyyani ji bo efrin 2 620x3649b2bdb imageb2feed image 400x240 - Self-Defense Forces: We will not allow Turkey to invade Afrin  - 20180124 20180123 2018 01 23 hsk dauyyani ji bo efrin 2 620x3649b2bdb imageb2feed image 80x80 - Self-Defense Forces: We will not allow Turkey to invade Afrin 
Rojava4 hours ago

Self-Defense Forces: We will not allow Turkey to invade Afrin 

The Defense Councils of Northern Syria regions made a joint statement at Heseke Stadium in solidarity with the resistance of...

- KACOttawa 400x240 - Kurds in Canada urge Turkey to ‘stop spilling Kurdish blood’ in Afrin - KACOttawa 80x80 - Kurds in Canada urge Turkey to ‘stop spilling Kurdish blood’ in Afrin
kurdistan4 hours ago

Kurds in Canada urge Turkey to ‘stop spilling Kurdish blood’ in Afrin

Rojen Rahmani, head of lobbying and advocacy for KAC, said the Canadian government needs to respond and condemn Turkey’s violent...

- 20180123 20180123 555ef125f imaged8d415 image 400x240 - Number of civilians wounded in Turkish attacks rises to 10  - 20180123 20180123 555ef125f imaged8d415 image 80x80 - Number of civilians wounded in Turkish attacks rises to 10 
Rojava5 hours ago

Number of civilians wounded in Turkish attacks rises to 10 

Turkish army continued its airstrikes and artillery attacks on Cindires and Rajo districts of Afrin throughout Tuesday. 10 civilians suffered...

Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2017 KurdDaily.com