the-conversation-logoI was recently invited to write a short article for The Conversation late last week, focusing on the news that more young British Muslims had gone to fight in Syria and Iraq.

What struck me most about the reporting was the coverage about the families of some of the men that had gone to the Middle East, not least that they were for once presented as being ‘normal’. Given that it was so rare, I decided to focus on this for the piece.

To read the article in full, click here.

I’ve pasted the opening paragraphs below to whet you appetite.

Coverage of Britons fighting in the Middle East has moved on from Islamophobia of the past

For some time now, speculation has raged over the number of young British Muslims travelling to Syria and Iraq with the intention of fighting in the ongoing conflicts there.

At the high end, Birmingham-area MP Khalid Mahmood claimed that “more than 1,500” British Muslims have gone to the Middle East to fight. Meanwhile, Peter Fahy, head of the Prevent counter-terrorism strategy for the Association of Chief Police Officers, offered a more tempered figure of around 500. But ultimately, as Fahy acknowledged, no-one really knows what the number is.

Further speculation followed the posting of a 13-minute recruitment video, the trenchantly titled There is no Life without Jihad, on account pages linked to ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), posted highly explicit videos and photos online purporting to show mass executions.

In this particular video, which urges British Muslims to join the fight in Iraq and Syria, three of the six fighters shown are British: Cardiff-based brothers Nasser and Aseel Muthana (aged 20 and 17 respectively) and another man from Aberdeen, Abdul Raquib Amin.

To continue reading, click here.

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