British Muslims Warned Not to Engage in Fighting in Syria, Iraq
“Here in the UK we are Sunnis and Shias, brothers in Islam –and brothers in Britain too. The conflict in Syria and Iraq can never change that no matter how bitter the fighting”
More than 100 British clerics from around the country signed an open letter, urging young Muslims not to travel to Syria and Iraq for supporting militancy.
In an open letter published on Imams Online website, more than 100 clerics of various denominations of Shiite and Sunni Muslims have cautioned the British Muslims not to “fall prey to any form of sectarian divisions or social discord” in Syria and Iraq and refrain from traveling to those countries to fight along with armed militants.
The letter urged “British Muslim communities to continue the generous and tireless effort to support all of those affected by the crisis in Syria and unfolding events in Iraq, but to do so from the UK in a safe and responsible way.”
“Here in the UK we are Sunnis and Shias, brothers in Islam –and brothers in Britain too. The conflict in Syria and Iraq can never change that no matter how bitter the fighting,” it added.
There are now growing concerns in Britain that the young British citizens going to Syria to help Takfiri groups in the fight against government forces will eventually return home more radicalized and could carry out terrorist attacks in the country.
“The number of foreign fighters in that area, the number of foreign fighters including those from the UK who could try to return to the UK is a real threat to our country,” he said.
According to the government, around 500 British extremists had joined fighting in the Middle East but now at least half have returned home.
Britain’s counter terrorism officials confirmed on June 20 that at least 250 British extremists who have fought in war-torn Syria are feared to be back on the streets in the European country, posing a massive threat to its security.