The overwhelming majority of participants in our recent Clarion poll believe returning jihadis and their families must not be allowed back into their native countries.
The issue is in the news right now as ISIS is on the cusp of losing all its territory in Syria. Many of the captured fighters, their wives and children want to go back home. U.S. President Donald Trump called on Western leaders to accept them — the idea being that they face the full force of the justice system on their return.
However, despite the plea from Trump, the majority of Clarion subscribers and readers who took part in our survey said they would rather see returning jihadis and their families stay in Syria and Iraq and face justice there.
Below are the result for each question of our poll and some of the comments we received:
Question 1: Should Western countries take back their jihadi citizens?
- 82.55% “No. We should leave them to Iraqi and Syria justice.”
- 14.45% “Yes. They must be tried and if found guilty punished accordingly.”
- 2.36% “Yes. They should be placed in deradicalization programs and reintegrated.”
- 0.64% “Yes. I fear if we don’t, they will escape Middle Eastern jails and launch terror attacks globally.”
“America welcomes everyone, but only if they commit to being an American citizen and speak our language and obey our laws. In other words, don’t come here and then make demands on us to change to make their lives more comfortable.”
“Apprehend them at the POE, give them a fair trial, and a fair execution.”
“They are traitors and by fighting alongside the enemy of your country, they renounced their citizenship and they are no longer citizens of that country.”
“Send them to Gitmo and if they participated in beheadings or other murders they should be executed.”
“This was their choice.”
“The fear is they will radicalize others and/or carry out attacks themselves.”
“They have forsaken their respective citizenship privileges by choosing to place their loyalty to the Caliphate/Ummah above all else. In defeat, they have realized that they made the wrong choice and should now live with the consequences of their own decisions.”
Question 2: Should Western countries take back jihadi brides?
- 86.49% No. They deserve the same treatment as their husbands — Syrian or Iraqi justice.
- 11.18% Yes, if they show remorse and enter deradicalization programs.
- 1.40% Yes. They were brainwashed teenagers. We need to give them a second chance.
- 0.93% Yes, if they have small children. A child needs their mother, whatever she may have done.
“If they are above the age of 16, then they were old enough to understand their decision. Love may be blind, but that is not a reason for the rest of us to be stupid. Their husband is now dead, they are alone in a foreign county that is NOT going to take care of them or their children, and they are an enemy of that country. By going back to a Western country, they know they will be given free medical care, housing, clothing, food and whatever else they can get from a country they abandoned and hate, and they will fight from the inside to bring it down.”
“Yes, she should be allowed to return and face a trial on the same basis of treason as any other jihadi, man or woman.”
“They have children because they think that’s their ticket back in.”
“They should treated the same as their husbands.”
“They made a conscious choice to join ISIS. They were fulfilling a religious duty issued by an authority they respected enough to leave their comfortable lives in the West for religious fanaticism.”
“They fled this country and all its standards, morals and rules to go to an organization that lived by another law, participating in unspeakable atrocities. They should stay in the governmental/religious state they chose and accept the culture, laws and punishments they have incurred. You don’t escape the law and punishment by running back and forth between countries and law systems.”
Question 3: Should young children of jihadis be allowed back into Western countries?
- 71.56% No. Let Syria and Iraq deal with these children, no matter how they grow up.
- 21.61% Yes. An innocent child has the right to come back to normal society but not with their parents.
- 6.83% Yes. An innocent child has the right to come back with their jihadi bride mother.
“Society has failed a lot of our younger generation, and we need to accept some responsibility in this matter, too. However, each situation needs to be considered independent of others to ensure proper handling and processing to prevent future issues with the individual.”
“I definitely would support the child over the adult bride. It wasn’t their choice; however, depending of the child’s age, further consideration would be necessary for ensuring that they don’t follow the path of terrorists.”
“These children were born in Syria or Iraq. They are citizens of that country by their mothers choice. Let them stay with their mother and let her take care of them. If we take them it will be our responsibility and cost to care for them. Also. it will now give the mother claim to go back to the come country that she abandoned.”
“Children are unfortunately very easily radicalized. Whole programs were devoted to [trying to deradicalize them]. Therefore only children under age 3 [should be let back in] with no restrictions. There should be graduated programs of deprogramming up to age 10. Tough call after that. No easy answers. Any child repatriated should return alone absent either parent, who, in turn, should remain in refugee camps.”
“A child, especially any child old enough to have been indoctrinated in radical thought should be very very closely monitored and guarded to evaluate whether he or she is a potential threat as he or she grows up. These thoughts can be planted so early in a child’s life that it can be hard to tell if he or she is safe until it’s too late.”