Air strikes in Syria ‘could lead to radicalisation’

A picture issued by the French Ministry of Defense on 23 November 2015 shows a French military jet part of the Mission Arromanches 2 in Iraq against the Islamic State group taking off from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, deployed in the Mediterranean Sea, 23 November 2015.
A picture issued by the French Ministry of Defense on 23 November 2015 shows a French military jet part of the Mission Arromanches 2 in Iraq against the Islamic State group taking off from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, deployed in the Mediterranean Sea, 23 November 2015.
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  • Think-tank director concerned about the effect of air strikes on Syria
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THE head of a counter-extremism think-tank has said air strikes in Syria would provide ‘recruiting sergeants’ with material for radicalisation.

Asked by Home Affairs select committee chairman Keith Vaz MP if air strikes on Syria would have an effect on radicalisation, Haras Rafiq said it would be indirect.

Mr Rafiq, managing director of Quilliam, said it was ‘very, very rare’ for people to travel thousands of miles and commit terrorist acts because of foreign policy.

But he said: ‘I think there will be recruiting sergeants available and narratives available for charismatic recruiters who will hone in on the whole crusader narrative.’

He added: ‘I think there will be more manipulation.

‘I expect others to use it but it won’t necessarily be the reason why people go an join groups like Isil.’

The committee is taking evidence for its inquiry into countering extremism.