This week, two men appeared in court facing serious charges related to terror. They are both white British men who went to fight against ISIS alongside the Kurdish militia. When Britain has hundreds of returning Jihadis flooding back into the country, why is it that men who are fighting evil (alongside allies of the British Army) are dragged through courts?
It has been widely reported that of over 800 people from the U.K. that have gone to fight with terror group ISIS, over 400 have already returned to Britain. So far, none have been charged with terrorism crimes.
James Matthews and Aiden James are both facing prison sentencing for attending what the prosecutors are describing as terror camps and thereby implicitly planning acts of terror.
The British public is aghast at the treatment of the two men who are engaged in similar activities to the military forces sent to Syria to combat extremists. The question many want to answer is: why does the British government see value in prosecuting men fighting enemies of the U.K. but not in prosecuting those who joined a terrorist organization that has actually carried out murders on the streets of Britain?
A recent government response regarding why no prosecutions were taking place suggested that the returned ISIS fighters “no longer posed a threat” to society, and could, therefore, be allowed to “reintegrate” back into society. Not so for the two unfortunate men who thought they could do their own part to combat terrorism.
Hero to the Kurds
Since ISIS declared an Islamic Caliphate in 2014, dozens of Brits have joined with the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), a group openly supported by the British Government as the most effective way of combating terror groups in the region. Other people who joined YPG have returned to the U.K. and after questioning by counter-terror squads, have been free to continue with their lives. These charges against two brave men show a significant shift in government policy and attitude.
As James Matthews pleaded not guilty to attending a terrorist training camp, Kurdish supporters and other anti-ISIS fighters cheered him in the courtroom… acknowledgement of his bravery and heroism.
So why would the U.K. Government want to prosecute those who are fighting for the same aims, and in many cases, alongside groups that receive funding from the U.K. and E.U. governments? The answer appears to be because Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sees the YPG as the terrorists in the region… a continuation of the persecution of the Kurdish people that has long been a stain on Turkey’s reputation.
When we have arrived at a time and a place where the British government would side with those who wish for Kurdish genocide over those who fight with their very lives to defeat terror, we must finally ask ourselves, who does the political class really represent?