In the municipality of Örebro, Sweden, some politicians want to give psychiatric help to people who left Sweden to fight for IS; they wish to help them cope with their "traumatic experiences" during the trip away. These politicians also wish to give the IS warriors a job to help them integrate better and perhaps prevent them from going back to fight for IS again. This feels very unreal to me.
Have IS warriors gone through something traumatic so they deserve help and a job? We're talking about people who have joined a totalitarian and extremist cause. They have shot people, supported and contributed to violence and death, and may even have severed innocents' heads with rusty knives. Rasmus Persson, one of the politicians, called them 'boys' when he spoke of how they may need help with their "traumatic experiences", like they are innocents who have been done a great harm. But they are terrorists, not tourists.
I can understand why they should receive psychiatric help. Clearly, they are either sick in the head or have been indoctrinated by a horrible ideology—or both. The question is if they are too far gone, though. Can they be helped? Can this brainwashing that caused them to kill innocents for a myth truly be broken? I think it's doubtful, though extremists have turned moderate before. One example is Maajid Nawaz, who is proof that the pen and words are, indeed, mightier than the sword and bombs. Islamism was conquered by a book, and some rational thought.
What I find appalling is the phrasing that we should help IS terrorists go through their "traumatic experiences". They are not victims, after all, but criminals; it is they who cause traumatic experiences. They shouldn't receive help to cope with their "traumatic experiences", per se; they should be rehabilitated like any criminal, preferably within the confines of a prison.
It would be even better if they weren't allowed to return, at all. The resources that would be wasted on these barbaric murderers could be used to help the people who flee from the terrible world created by ISIS and similar. Instead of taking back and helping the scum that left to lend a hand to tyranny, we could help more refugees, innocent people who have been forced to leave their homes.
If one leaves to join IS, one is little more than a terrorist. One helps promote and enforce an extreme ideology, with propaganda and violence. These should be considered crimes against humanity and shouldn't be tolerated or even rewarded. Should these people get to go kill innocent people and then come back and resume their lives, as if their hands are clean of blood?
I'd rather help all the innocent refugees in the world. If any Muslim wants to come to Sweden, they should. If anyone then leaves to join ISIS, whether they are of Middle Eastern or European descent, they should be stripped of all rights and not be allowed to return. Should we really help IS warriors who return? No, because they shouldn't be allowed to return.
Here's the original article (in Swedish).
Update, February 18, 2015
I had a short conversation yesterday, on my Facebook page. It was with a person named Anthony, who argued that those who didn't commit any war crimes after having joined ISIS could potentially come back and be integrated into society. He said we live in a society of law, justice, and forgiveness and that those who return could help prevent further radicalization.
He brought up some true and good points. Forgiveness is, of course, important and the criminal justice system is about rehabilitation, not punishment. I was arguing against what the Swedish politicians in Örebro were pushing for, though; if a person has murdered innocents, they should not just get a slap on the wrist and even be privileged, like being given a job.
How do we even tell apart the ones who regretted joining ISIS and the ones who are lying? How do we tell if they have any blood on their hands? Those who return, if they can be broken free from the shackles of indoctrination, could be of great help in preventing further radicalization; this is enough of a reason to consider taking them back. But these are dangerous individuals who might hurt others in the future, perhaps not here, but elsewhere. And if resources are limited, I'd rather focus on refugees than people who may very well have committed unspeakable acts of evil.
Anthony commented that he wouldn't want any ISIS members to be free immediately and that any member should be in jail at least a year (depending on what they did). He suggested that during this time, a profile could be made to see if their allegiance is still with ISIS or not. The problem I see is the cost, but he suggested that the aid budget is spent poorly and could be used to a greater effect.
This may very well be true, though I doubt there will be any major reorganization of how the budget for aid is used. Even if the budget were spent more wisely, it might still be more just to spend it on new refugees, not ISIS members. If we can, we should help all human beings who need it, which might include a few of those who left to join IS. There's more than enough people in the world in need of assistance, though.
If we manage to bring back some of the people who were radicalized, they might be able to prevent further radicalization. This would be great, of course. But for every person who can't be saved from the shackles of indoctrination, we could have helped one of the people said person terrorized by joining ISIS.