William Eichler 30 October 2017

Suspected jihadis offered houses in counter-extremism programme

British jihadis suspected of fighting in Syria could be offered support with finding jobs, counselling and housing as part of the Government’s counter-extremism approach.

According to unpublished Home Office documents, up to 20,000 possible adherents to radical Islamism previously investigated by MI5 will be targeted with incentives in order to discourage them from joining terrorist organisations in what is dubbed Operation Constrain.

The documents, which were seen by The Mail on Sunday, also suggested potential jihadis would see their applications for council housing fast tracked.

An estimated 850 British Muslims have gone to Syria to fight with extremist groups, such as ISIS. Over 400 have returned.

A number of deradicalisation experts have suggested the most effective way of tackling radical versions of political Islam is to undercut their message with incentives rather than threats.

For example, Hayat, a German deradicalisation programme, works to bring extremists together with their families to ‘prevent, decelerate and invert the radicalization process.’

‘The Government is committed to doing everything possible to protect our communities from the threat of terrorism,’ said a Home Office spokesperson.

‘To respond to this threat, it is vital that we use all the means at our collective disposal to divert people away from terrorist-related activity and we are exploring the best ways of doing this with our partners.

‘We are also reviewing our counter terrorism strategy to make sure we respond to the evolving threat in the most effective way we can, both now and in the future.’

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