Recently, Muslim leaders met with the Australian authorities to protest the fact that the passports of 70 young Muslim men had been rescinded in reaction for them espousing a desire to leave Australia and join the fight with ISIS. While this meeting was taking place, a self-proclaimed Muslim Imam decided to stage his own private Jihad. He held a group of innocent people hostage at gunpoint in a local café. When word of this Imam’s hostage taking reached the participants of the meeting, the first action of the Muslim leaders was to distance themselves from the attacker. Yet, even after the hostage crisis had ended and two innocents were murdered, these Muslim leaders continued to protest the loss of passports from those in their flock.
Today, all western authorities are warning about similar “lone wolf” attacks in their countries. We hear daily news reports about how disaffected young Muslims are trying to leave their adopted lands and join the Jihad. The security teams throughout the western world are dedicated to identifying these miscreants, but when they do discover them, they simply withhold their passports to prevent their exodus. In a few rare cases where material support has been given to terror groups, these misguided individuals are prosecuted. However, in the vast majority of the cases the authorities simply send them back home with a stern admonishment and place them on a no fly list. In one case, the authorities went so far as to retrieve some girls who were aspiring to become ISIS wives all the way from Germany and returned them back to the U.S. Maybe we should just wrap all these budding Jihadists in a blanket and give them a group hug?
This situation begs us to ask the question, when Muslims living in the western world disclose their desire to leave and join ISIS’s Jihad and aspire to the goal of killing as many innocents as possible, what should be done with them? It is time to re-think our position on what action we take when an individual or group has a demonstrated a desire to join groups that think little of beheading people on You Tube?
An analogy. If a stray dog were to enter a community, the typical response by most people would be to catch the dog and attempt to return it to its owner. Compassion for the dog and for the owner would be our guiding principle. However, if the dog was clearly a deranged animal that posed a direct and immediate threat to our family or neighbors, our guiding principle would be to eliminate the threat by removing the dog from the neighborhood. We would call animal control to eliminate the threat from our midst. In a case where the dog was clearly a threat, you would find few who would disagree with this course of action. Why would our response to an individual within our community who was espousing to join a group that was solely dedicated to the destruction of all “disbelievers” be any different than that of the mad dog? Have we forgotten that there are some people in the world that only have evil in their hearts?
Rescinding someone’s passport does not alter the ideology of the one professing death to all. It only prevents them from going to a place where they can join voices with those of like minds. The Jihadist web sites are encouraging those that cannot join the fight in Syria or Iraq to show solidarity by engaging in the fight where they are. If we keep them from leaving, do we not raise the possibility of them becoming a “lone wolf” here?
But what would we have to gain if we reversed this action? What if instead of preventing them from leaving, we instead encouraged a new policy of expatriotism? What if we simplified the process for those desiring to leave the western countries for Syria instead of trying to restrict it? Imagine providing free, one-way service from all large western countries to Syria to all those that desired it. The budding Jihadist would be provided with their first step toward paradise. In return, the western populace would be more secure with the radical believer removed from our midst. With the passport and citizenship of the miscreant rescinded, the local populace would have the security of knowing they couldn’t return. Additionally, the security teams around the world would gain first hand intelligence on who and where the “true believers” are. In extreme cases, when paradise turned out to not be everything the Jihadist web site purported it to be, we may even acquire a double agent on the inside.
Sounds like a win –win to me.