Reintegrating those who have been radicalised – and executing jihadists | Letters

The problem of those returning to Europe from the war in Iraq and Syria is a significant one (Experts warn of threat posed by female jihadis, 24 July). Some 6,000 men and women left the EU to travel to the conflict zone – and about 1,500 children with one or more parent eligible for an EU passport have been taken there or were born there.

Some of those who travelled to support Da’esh died in the fighting as the so-called caliphate fell; some moved elsewhere; some went to ground; some had already returned, disenchanted with the reality they had found. Some may still seek to return to Europe. Returning ex-combatants should face justice. There is also a challenge of how to deal with non-combatants, women and children, many of whom should be treated as victims – but who also potentially pose a danger to the society to which they are returning.

Our work in this area is focused on the Radicalisation Awareness Network, set up by the European commission in 2011 to connect and support those working in our communities to prevent radicalisation.

The RAN has created guidelines for dealing with returning foreign terrorist fighters and their families, developing expertise on child returnees through education and risk assessment and defining awareness training for those in direct contact with the children, such as teachers and social workers.

We are organising workshops for policymakers on how to deal with children raised in a radicalised environment, and the RAN Youth, Family and Communities meeting in June looked into the post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by many women and children returnees.

Ultimately, working together with the EU’s member states, we need to ensure a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of violent extremism, while providing those who have been through horrific experiences at the hands of Da’esh the support they need to reintegrate into European society.
Julian King
Commissioner for the security union, European commission

Why is there such surprise that the UK is no longer concerned to protect the death penalty assurance (Report, 24 July)? Only last December Gavin Williamson, then the newly appointed defence secretary, said British jihadists should be hunted down and killed in the Middle East rather than allowed to return to the UK. The tone of this government was set then; why should Sajid Javid – a newly appointed home secretary – not follow the party line?
Maureen Panton
Malvern, Worcestershire

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