JNN 03 Sept 2014 New York : Several hundred U.S. citizens had contact with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the chairman of the powerful U.S. House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers said on Sunday.
Republican lawmaker Rogers, a former FBI agent, told “Fox News Sunday” that he was concerned about efforts to keep track of Americans who had links to the ISIL group.
“It’s in the hundreds that have at least one time traveled, participated and trained with them, some have drifted back, some have gone to Europe.” Rogers said.
The U.S. State Department has previously estimated that more than 100 U.S. citizens had traveled to Syria to join radical groups such as ISIL.
“I’m very concerned because we don’t know every single person who has an American passport that has gone and trained and learned how to fight,” Rogers said.
He also raised concerns about the estimated 500 British citizens and “several hundred” Canadians believed to have traveled to Syria, noting that passport holders from those countries could both enter the United States without a visa.
U.S. officials last week confirmed that an American national fighting for ISIL was killed earlier this month in Syria.
Separately on Sunday, another U.S. lawmaker said a strategy to fight terrorists in Syria could become clearer next week.
“We don’t have the information which hopefully we’ll have in the next week or so what the plans are going to be,” Dutch Ruppersberger — the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee — told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“A lot of it is classified. You don’t tell an enemy you’re coming in to attack them. That’s the number one issue. You don’t respond to the media. You respond to the endgame,” added Ruppersberger.
British Imams Condemns & issue Fatwa against Islamic State Terrorists Recruitment :
Several UK Muslim clerics have condemned the Islamic State Terrorists group in Syria and Iraq (former ISIS) saying that British jihadis are “betraying their own societies” by getting involved in the Middle East conflicts.
The fatwa, an edict that concerns Islamic life, called the Islamic State (IS) “heretical” and “an oppressive and tyrannical group”, in the strongest denunciation against the extremists yet. The edict was issued by Sheik Usama Hasan, a former imam from east London, and got support from six senior Islamic scholars.
The fatwa states that although Muslims have a “moral obligation” to help the Iraqi and Syrian people, they must do so “without betraying their own societies”. So, it is “religiously prohibited to support or join”the IS, the document cited by The Sunday Times reads.
The imams order all Muslims to oppose ISIL’s “poisonous ideology”, especially when it is promoted within Britain.
The fatwa, the first of its kind issued by British Muslim scholars, follows the elevation of Britain’s terror threat from substantial to severe, meaning an attack is “highly likely”.
The fatwa has been issued after criticism that British Muslims have not done enough to condemn aspiring youths who have travelled to fight for ISIL, or those supporting its ideology in the UK, the report said.
UK jihadists may be banned from coming home
UK Prime Minster David Cameron is considering introducing a temporary ban on allowing UK born jihadists back into the country who have been to Iraq and Syria. Cameron will set out the plans in parliament on Monday, British media report.
UK nationals would be allowed to keep their nationality but would be barred from reentering the UK for a period of time. The Prime Minister is also expected to announce plans to make it easier for the authorities to seize the passports of suspected terrorists to stop them travelling abroad in the first place.
“The government is considering a range of measures to keep the country safe in the face of an increased threat level from Islamist extremism. The areas include making it harder for potential foreign fighters to travel abroad by making it easier to remove their passports through additional temporary seizure powers at the border,” a government source told the BBC.
“We are also looking at stopping British citizens from re-entering the country if they are suspected of terrorist activity abroad,” the source added.
But Sir Menzies Campbell, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, the junior party in the current coalition government, said that the proposals by the Prime Minister might be illegal under international law and any ban introduced by the government would have to be tested in the courts.
“I think it’s rather difficult and it might well constitute illegality. To render citizens stateless is regarded as illegal in international law. To render them stateless temporarily, which seems to me the purpose of what’s being proposed, can also I think be described as illegal,” he said.
While former Royal Marine and intelligence officer Paddy Ashdown who was also leader of the Liberal Democrats told the Observer that the reaction of Conservative ministers to the terrorist threat was“kneejerk”.
He told the Observer that the biggest threat to the world was “a widening religious war, which threatens not just to engulf the Middle East and change its borders, but to spread across the entire global Islamic community”.