Should British Islamic State Fighters Be Killed?

The UK Government Minister of State for International Development, Rory Stewart has said that the only way to deal with British IS fighters is to kill them.

In his assessment that British IS fighters have moved away from any kind of allegiance towards the British Government, he states they believe in IS’ extremely hateful doctrine and in using violence to create an eighth century state they consequently pose a serious danger. As they have executed people, held women and children hostage, tortured and murdered people to impose their will, Rory Stewart concludes that in almost every case British IS fighters should be killed.

I can understand where Rory Stewart is coming from and I am certainly no apologist for IS or any form of Radical Islamist groups. They are an evil that needs to be eradicated as groups like IS have committed genocide in addition to all the other forms of excessive violent criminal activity. However, I see it as preferable for any British IS fighter who wants to return to the UK to be allowed to do so, but in doing so they should be arrested on their arrival to the UK and let due process of a criminal arrest/trial take its course. There may be the odd person who travelled to Syria to join IS through naively believing IS’ propaganda who may have been trapped in the region, who on their return, following arrest, where it is established they pose no immediate risk be rehabilitated. For those dedicated to IS’ cause who remain in the Syria/Iraq region to fight, then they should expect the consequences and be prepared to be killed, including as a result of targeted UK or US drone attacks.

It is understandable politicians like Rory Stewart have come out and expressed their frustration with foreign fighters who join the likes of IS, but as a government minister it is disappointing such views are expressed publically. That said, due process via criminal trials are the way forward as the likes of trial by jury is what differentiates liberal democratic values from totalitarian extremism like that espoused by IS.

I will be discussing these issues with Huw Edwards on BBC News Channel’s , News at Five (17.00 BST)