As I believe the studies included in my article from yesterday showed, Britain has some deep integration problems regarding its migrant Muslim population. But a statistic released last week and which seems to have gone largely unnoticed indicates that British Muslim youth would rather fight for the extremist group ISIS (aka ISIL aka The Islamic State) in Syria and Iraq than join the British military.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense confirmed to USA TODAY that there are approximately 600British Muslim servicemembers in its armed forces of almost 200,000 people. Official government estimates put the number of British Islamic State fighters operating in Syria and Iraq at up to 800. The Foreign Office cautioned Thursday that it is difficult to provide precise numbers.
In an interview with Newsweek, a Muslim member of the British Parliament, Khalid Mahmood, says that he believes the 800 number is too low, that there are likely circa 1500 Muslim British nationals fighting for ISIS.
Mahmood described such low estimates as “nonsense” and said that the British government was failing to deal with the problem of home-grown extremists. “We’ve not concentrated on the prevention work, we haven’t invested enough in de-radicalisation. It’s tragic, somebody’s got to wake up to it.”
The deeper question, it seems, is why does an environment of extremist tolerance exist in these British Muslim communities in the first place.