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The Greatest Possible Problem for Europe

by Douglas Murray

There are now at least twice as many young British Muslims who have gone to Syria to fight alongside ISIS and other such groups than there are fighting for Queen and country here in the British armed forces.

The Israel-haters are no real problem for Israel, but they are the greatest possible problem for Europe.

Iran: Executions and an Amputation

by Shabnam Assadollahi

The number of executions in Iran in 2014, up to June 5, now totals 325; the Iranian government has admitted to only 122. These numbers do not include the Iranian regime's "silent executions" -- depriving prisoners who were tortured of medical care, and then claiming they died in prison of "natural causes."

Egyptians Hoping Israel Will Destroy Hamas

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Over the past week there are voices coming out of Egypt and some Arab countries -- voices that publicly support the Israeli military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

They see the atrocities and massacres committed by Islamists on a daily basis in Iraq and Syria and are beginning to ask themselves if these serve the interests of the Arabs and Muslims.

"Thank you Netanyahu and may God give us more [people] like you to destroy Hamas!" — Azza Sami of the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram.

Isolated and under attack, Hamas now realizes that it has lost the sympathy of many Egyptians and Arabs.

Palestinians: The Arabs Betrayed Us - Again

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Since 1948, the Arab countries and government have been paying mostly lip service to the Palestinians.

"They have money and oil, but don't care about the Palestinians, even though we are Arabs and Muslims like them. What a Saudi or Qatari sheikh spends in one night in London, Paris or Las Vegas could solve the problem of tens of thousands of Palestinians." — Palestinian human rights activist.

"Some Arabs were hoping that Israel would rid them of Hamas." — Ashraf Salameh, Gaza City.

"Some of the Arab regimes are interested in getting rid of the resistance in order to remove the burden of the Palestinian cause, which threatens the stability of their regimes." — Mustafa al-Sawwaf, Palestinian political analyst.

"Most Arabs are busy these days with bloody battles waged by their leaders, who are struggling to survive. These battles are raging in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and the Palestinian Authority." — Mohammed al-Musafer, columnist.

"The Arab leaders don't know what they want from the Gaza Strip. They don't even know what they want from Israel." — Yusef Rizka, Hamas official.

Obama Administration Suppresses Talk of Muslim Persecutions

by Raymond Ibrahim

Why is the U.S. downplaying or denying attacks against Christians?

"What about the churches which were desecrated? Is this not blasphemy? Where is justice?" — Fr. James Channan OP, Director of The Peace Center, Lahore, Pakistan.

Members of the Islamic group al-Shabaab publicly beheaded the mother of two girls, ages 8 and 15, and her cousin after discovering they were Christians. The girls "were witnesses to the slaughter." — Somalia.

"Christian teaching is extremely harmful to the mental health of the people." — Kazakhstan.

Five years' imprisonment and up to $20,000 in fines for educators if they…speak to a Muslim child of religions other than Islam. — Brunei

Latest Analysis & Commentary

Has Hamas ended the prospects for a two state solution?

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  July 22, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Ben Gurion International Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

Hamas's decision to fire rockets in the direction of Ben Gurion Airport may well have ended any real prospect of a two-state solution. Whether the regulators and airlines that have stopped flights to and from Israel are right or wrong, this stoppage cannot possibly be tolerated by a democratic country that relies so heavily on tourism and international travel. It is of course a war crime to target an international civilian airport, as Hamas has clearly done. Israel has every right to keep that airport open, employing all reasonable military means at its disposal. Since Hamas fires its rockets from densely populated civilian areas, there will be more Palestinian civilian deaths.

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The Terrorists' Reality Show
Who Has the "More Romantic Story"?

by Pierre Rehov  •  July 22, 2014 at 5:00 am

For terrorists, the death of innocent children is irrelevant. In a society that promotes martyrdom as the ultimate sign of success, the death of innocent children can sometimes even be seen as a public relations blessing.

In every action, intent is paramount. There should never be a moral equivalence painted between the deliberate killing of civilians, and a retaliation that tragically leads to casualties among civilians.

There is, however, one small difference: in the Middle East, reporters are threatened, except in Israel. Their choice becomes a simple one: promote the Palestinian point of view or stop working in the West Bank. Keep the eye of the camera dirty or lose your job. This show should not go on.

Pictures and footage from other conflicts, mostly from Iraq and Syria, are being used in the media to depict Israeli "atrocities" in Gaza.

"This whole conflict," the foreign journalist said over coffee, "is a prime time show; the Palestinians provide us with the more romantic story."

Terrorism is a show; it needs a producer and a distributor. Without a certain complicity from the international media, terrorism would not be so effective and might even disappear altogether.

While Hamas is raining rockets and missiles on the Israeli civilian population, and in return, is suffering a high level of destruction and hundreds of casualties as a result of collateral damage, one might ask: "What is the purpose?" The same question is also true of suicide terrorism. The genuine aim seems to be to gather sympathy while terrorizing the enemy, with an audience on an unlimited number of channels.

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Palestinians: The Arabs Betrayed Us - Again

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  July 21, 2014 at 5:00 am

Since 1948, the Arab countries and government have been paying mostly lip service to the Palestinians.

"They have money and oil, but don't care about the Palestinians, even though we are Arabs and Muslims like them. What a Saudi or Qatari sheikh spends in one night in London, Paris or Las Vegas could solve the problem of tens of thousands of Palestinians." — Palestinian human rights activist.

"Some Arabs were hoping that Israel would rid them of Hamas." — Ashraf Salameh, Gaza City.

"Some of the Arab regimes are interested in getting rid of the resistance in order to remove the burden of the Palestinian cause, which threatens the stability of their regimes." — Mustafa al-Sawwaf, Palestinian political analyst.

"Most Arabs are busy these days with bloody battles waged by their leaders, who are struggling to survive. These battles are raging in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and the Palestinian Authority." — Mohammed al-Musafer, columnist.

"The Arab leaders don't know what they want from the Gaza Strip. They don't even know what they want from Israel." — Yusef Rizka, Hamas official.

Sheikh Ekremah Sabri, the former mufti of Jerusalem and a leading preacher of Al-Aqsa Mosque, claims that the three wars waged by Israel against Hamas have been "coordinated" with the Arab countries.

Every now and then, the Palestinians are reminded of the fact that most Arabs don't care about them and their problems.

Arab "indifference" and "silence" toward the current war between Israel and Hamas has once again reminded Palestinians of the "betrayal" by their Arab brethren.

It is not that Palestinians were expecting the Arab countries to send their armies to fight Israel and prevent an IDF ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.

Moreover, Palestinians say they were not even expecting the Arab governments to send money and medicine to thousands of families inside the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinians in general and Hamas in particular feel that the Arab world simply does not care about them and does not even want to hear from them.

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EU Leaders Deeply Divided Over Russia

by Soeren Kern  •  July 21, 2014 at 4:30 am

European elites, who take pride in viewing the EU as a "postmodern" superpower, have long argued that military hard-power is illegitimate in the 21st century. Unfortunately for Europe, Russia (along with China and Iran) has not embraced the EU's fantastical soft-power worldview, in which "climate change" is now said to pose the greatest threat to European security.

For its part, the European Commission, the EU's administrative branch, which never misses an opportunity to boycott institutions in Israel, has issued only a standard statement on the shooting down of MH17 in Ukraine, which reads: "The European Union will continue to follow this issue very closely."

The EU has made only half-hearted attempts to develop alternatives to its dependency on Russian oil and gas.

A battery of the Russian-made Buk (SA-11) anti-aircraft missile system, which is the type of system used to shoot down flight MH17.

European divisions over relations with Russia are being laid bare by the shooting down of a passenger plane over Ukraine.

The missile attack on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 claimed the lives of 298 passengers, including 230 Europeans, making it the single most deadly act of terror in modern European history.

But despite a growing body of evidence that MH17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile that was launched from an area that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists inside of Ukraine, the European Union's 28 member states have still been unable to agree on even a basic unified response to the attack.

Western European countries, including Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands—all of which enjoy strong trade relations with Russia—have long been reluctant to antagonize Moscow, based largely on economic and energy supply considerations.

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The Doctrine of Proportionality

by Shoshana Bryen  •  July 20, 2014 at 5:00 am

Proportionality in international law is not about equality of death or civilian suffering, or even about [equality of] firepower. Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against suffering that the action might cause to enemy civilians in the vicinity.

"Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable does not constitute a war crime.... even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur. A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality)." — Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court.

"The greater the military advantage anticipated, the larger the amount of collateral damage -- often civilian casualties -- which will be "justified" and "necessary." — Dr. Françoise Hampton, University of Essex, UK.

One journalist labeled Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system "unsportsmanlike" because it protects Israel's civilian population too well. (Image source: IDF)

As the Israeli ground incursion into Gaza continues, increased attention will be focused on the notion of "proportionality" in both the number of casualties on both sides and the sophistication of the weapons each side brings to bear. Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg characterized Israel's operations against Hamas in language that came close to an accusation of war crimes. "I really do think now the Israeli response appears to be deliberately disproportionate. It is amounting now to a disproportionate form of collective punishment." Even President Obama, who has been a firm advocate of Israel's self-defense in this instance, told reporters that he "encouraged" Prime Minister Netanyahu to "minimize civilian deaths."

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Sunni Muslims Must Reject ISIS "Caliphate"

by Irfan Al-Alawi  •  July 20, 2014 at 4:00 am

"Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi" is Abu Du'a, a follower of the late Osama Bin Laden. By adding the name "Al-Qurayshi" in his current alias, he is also seeking to affirm descent from Muhammad.

The allegation of theological sovereignty over all Sunnis extends to Indonesia and Morocco. The idea that the borders between Syria and Iraq will be dissolved by the new "caliphate" defies all Islamic theology and history. As the Qur'an states, "Allah "made the nations and tribes different." (49:13) Syria and Iraq have been distinct for millennia.

The "Islamic State" seeks to obliterate these diverse identities by expelling or killing all Shias and Sunni Sufis. And it does not invoke the Ottoman caliphate in its propaganda, demonstrating decisively the fake nature of the "Islamic State."

A caliphate is obsolete and the "Islamic State" is totalitarian. All Sunnis need to repudiate them soundly, even by force of arms.

Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi speaks at a Mosul mosque on July 4, 2014.

At the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan this year, coinciding with the end of the Western month of June, a new caliphate, or Islamic religious and political order, was proclaimed on the borderland of Iraq and Syria. As described by international media, the news was included in a "declaration of war" released as an online audio statement by Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani, a representative of the purported "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" or ISIS (also known as ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, based on differing English translations of "Sham," the Arabic name for Greater Syria, which long included all the lands on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean). ISIS is now to be deemed simply "the Islamic State."

Within days, the man who calls himself Abu Bakr Al-Husayni Al-Qurayshi Al-Baghdadi issued a declaration as head of the purported "Islamic State," titled pompously, "A Message to the Mujahidin and the Muslim Ummah."

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Gatestone Weekly Roundup

by Nina Rosenwald  •  July 20, 2014 at 3:00 am

"What if Hamas had military superiority?" — Colonel Lawrence A. Franklin (Ret.)

The conflict between Hamas and Israel has, as Colonel Lawrence A. Franklin documents, the different military tactics used by Hamas and Israel: "Would Hamas have dropped millions of leaflets to warn civilian residents before staging bombing runs? Would Hamas have tailored its air targeting to avoid, as much as possible, innocents from becoming casualties?"

Gatestone contributors also tried to draw attention to the Obama Administration's failure to address the threat of missiles in the hands of Iran, among other rogue regimes and terrorist organizations. "Missiles are indeed becoming the weapon of choice of both terror groups and rogue states," writes Peter Huessy. Should America care? (Yes!)

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The Greatest Possible Problem for Europe

by Douglas Murray  •  July 19, 2014 at 5:00 am

There are now at least twice as many young British Muslims who have gone to Syria to fight alongside ISIS and other such groups than there are fighting for Queen and country here in the British armed forces.

The Israel-haters are no real problem for Israel, but they are the greatest possible problem for Europe.

A protest in London against Israeli military actions in Gaza, in 2009. (Image source: STML/Flickr)

The barricades are up again outside the Israeli Embassy in London, as they are across many capitals of Europe. Given that even more rockets than "normal" have been raining down on Israel in recent days, any sane country would need further barricades outside the Israeli embassy in order to contain yet another demonstration of support for Israel. But no, another day in London and another Palestinian-ist and Socialist Worker party protest is going on against the Israeli state.

The protestors are not, of course, demonstrating because they especially care about the lives of the people of Gaza. If they cared about the lives of Palestinians -- or the people of the region in general -- they would have spent night after night outside the Syrian, Iraqi, Jordanian, Turkish, Egyptian and Saudi Arabian embassies, among others. They would be sore from sleeping outside Belgravia townhouses. But they are not. They are fresh and raring for the fight.

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Missile "Diplomacy"
U.S. Not Connecting the Dots

by Peter Huessy  •  July 18, 2014 at 5:00 am

There is presently concern that programs to prevent short- and medium-range ballistic missiles from reaching Europe will be delayed under pressure to make concessions to both Russia and Iran, to secure a deal on Iran's nuclear program,

Once deployed, an adversary's long-range missiles could be used for coercion, terror or blackmail. It would seem more prudent to anticipate such threats before they become a reality.

An Iranian "Khalij Fars" mobile ballistic missile on parade in Iran. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

Countries stretching from North Korea through South Asia and into the Middle East are apparently trying to bolster their military capability by building long range rockets capable of coercing, terrorizing or blackmailing their neighbors.[1]

In the past month, for example, we have seen Hamas try a new kind of diplomacy, while launching over 1000 rockets at Israel.

In Iraq, the terrorist army ISIS, now controlling large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, paraded a Syrian Scud missile through the streets of Al-Raqqah, in an attempt to demonstrate its power.

In Ukraine, rebels used Russian missiles to shoot down a Ukraine troop transport, killing thirty soldiers.

In Syria, rockets launched by Damascus have forced Turkey, a NATO member, to deploy missile defenses to protect its civilian population.

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"Jihad City": The Hague

by Timon Dias  •  July 18, 2014 at 4:30 am

With Western countries as enemies, why would jihadists need friends?

In Western Europe, cultural relativism is still the norm. There is no such thing as better or worse, there is only different. One should not consider one value superior to another value, no matter what these values actually are. And it had better be different the way one thinks it should be: not "politically incorrect."

Former Netherlands Chief of Defense Peter van Uhm says that he respects jihadist fighters in Syria because they are fighting for an ideal. That this ideal refutes every Western ideal that he himself holds dear, apparently does not affect his apparent respect for jihadists.

Dutch national law, however, has now been subordinated to European Union law.

Yilmaz, a well-known Dutch-Turkish jihadist fighting in Syria, will on his return home to the Netherlands be entitled to a host of special welfare benefits unavailable to other, normal citizens.

The former Netherlands Chief of Defense, Peter van Uhm -- whose son was killed by an IED in Afghanistan the day after Van Uhm was appointed Chief -- recently caused a controversy during a radio show about native fallen sons. He stated that Dutch youths who have chosen to fight in Syria should be respected for their idealism and their willingness to defend the women and children of Syria against Assad.

He later also stated that people judge these youths too easily: "The question whether their environment and our society have made sufficient efforts in keeping these people on the right track, is too rarely asked. You have to understand these young people, otherwise you cannot hope to help them." Van Uhm later added that he "Could not approve of their [jihadists'] modus operandi."

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What if Hamas Had Military Superiority?

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  July 18, 2014 at 4:15 am

The media also does not mention that Hamas leaders have set up their military headquarters beneath hospitals and established arms storerooms in mosques.

A children's health clinic in Ashkelon, Israel, that was hit this week by a rocket launched from Gaza. (Image source: IDF)

Would Hamas have tailored its air targeting to avoid as much as possible innocents from becoming casualties? Would Hamas have dropped millions of leaflets to warn civilian residents before staging bombing runs? Or made tens of thousands of phone calls telling non-combatants to flee the areas which are to be attacked, or discriminated between combatants and non-combatants in a ground war, or abided by the Geneva Conventions' rules for the treatment of prisoners of war?

Would the group have arrested the Hamas operatives who murderer Israeli civilians, or investigated "mistakes" that resulted in civilian casualties?

The American media, by drawing almost exclusive attention to the wide difference in casualties between Gaza and Israel -- a disparity that did not ensue from Hamas's lack of trying -- do a disservice to humane people on the front line of a global war between Islamic extremists and liberal-democratic civilization.

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Why Hamas Said No to Egypt's Sisi

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  July 17, 2014 at 5:00 am

Hamas is probably interested in a cease fire, but not one that would bolster the standing of Sisi. Hamas is now aiming to replace Egypt with Qatar and Turkey. It now remains to be seen whether Qatar and Turkey will be able to save Hamas.

Palestinian Authority Health Minister Jawad Awwad is attacked by a mob upon exiting his official vehicle on a visit to Gaza.

Hamas's rejection of Egypt's proposal for a cease-fire with Israel did not come as a surprise to many Palestinians.

On Wednesday, Hamas announced that it had officially informed the Egyptians of its opposition to the cease-fire proposal, which had been issued by the Egyptian authorities 48 hours earlier.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that Hamas was opposed to any cease-fire that "does not meet, from the outset, the conditions of the resistance groups."

One of the reasons that Hamas rejected the proposal, Abu Zuhri said, was because the Egyptians did not consult with the Islamist movement before announcing it.

Hamas's conditions included the reopening of all border crossings and the lifting of the blockade that was imposed on the Gaza Strip seven years ago.

But Hamas's rejection of the Egyptian cease-fire plan should be seen in the context of its strained relations with the regime of President Abdel Fattah Sisi.

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How Congress Can Help Israel Against Hamas

by Malcolm Lowe  •  July 16, 2014 at 5:00 am

What the Congressional resolutions overlook is that Hamas has officially renounced its responsibility for governing Gaza, while the Palestinian unity government has already begun the process of taking over the administration of Gaza. Consequently, the Palestinian Authority – not Hamas – should be the primary addressee of Congressional resolutions. Congress has the power to impose that demand upon the PA as a condition of further financial support for the PA.

The Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, evidently has on his payroll tens of thousands of idle Gazans who are available to root out and destroy those rockets and tunnels.

Malcolm Lowe poses the question of who should, and will, be responsible for clearing Gaza of thousands of rockets. (Image source: IDF)

Last Friday, July 11, the US House of Representatives unanimously passed Resolution 657 in support of Israel's right to defend itself against the rockets fired from the Gaza strip. A similar resolution has also been submitted to the US Senate. This reaffirmation of American support will be deeply appreciated in Israel. To make that support effective, however, a little more will be needed.

The House version "(1) reaffirms its support for Israel's right to defend its citizens and ensure the survival of the State of Israel; (2) condemns the unprovoked rocket fire at Israel; and (3) calls on Hamas to immediately cease all rocket and other attacks against Israel." The Senate version repeats those three demands in almost identical wording and adds a fourth: "Calls on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the unity governing arrangement with Hamas and condemn the attacks on Israel."

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The Vatican in Danger

by Bassam Tawil  •  July 16, 2014 at 4:00 am

All the claims that the Jews are planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque are false. For years it has been protected and guarded by Israel. If they wanted to, the Jews could let Hamas's missiles land in Jerusalem, possibly destroying the mosques on the Temple Mount, or they could destroy the mosques themselves and claim that Hamas's rockets had done it.

Not the Jews but Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, in their efforts to destroy the holy city, prove that Jerusalem and its mosques are of no importance to them.

The terrorists who have no qualms about attacking Jerusalem with its Al-Aqsa mosque will have no qualms, when the time comes, about attacking Rome and Vatican City.

At left, a fire in Ashdod caused by a rocket launched from Gaza (Image source: IDF). At right, Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem (Image source: Wikimedia Commons).

In the current exchange of fire between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Israel, Hamas's barrages of rockets have not been limited to exclusively Jewish population centers, but have included the holy city of Jerusalem.

For years the leaders of Hamas and the Islamic Movement in Israel have been repeating the claim, ad nauseam, that Israel plans to destroy the Al-Aqsa and establish their Third Temple on the ruins.

After east Jerusalem was wrested from the Jordanians in 1967, Israel declared that united Jerusalem was its capital, despite the objections of the Arabs and Palestinians. Under Israeli rule, all faiths were allowed freedom of worship, which had not been possible for centuries under Byzantine, Arab, Turkish and British rule.

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British Jihadists, Sharia Finance and "There is No Life Without Jihad"
One Month of Islam in Britain: June 2014

by Soeren Kern  •  July 15, 2014 at 5:00 am

"The guards don't run the prison, Islam does." — Tommy Robinson, upon his release from prison.

"The state is finding it harder to do its most basic duty, which is to protect the public." — UK Home Secretary Theresa May.

The court heard how he doused his wife with gasoline and set her on fire. His defense attorney told the jurors, "He wasn't being listened to, he wasn't being obeyed."

Tablighi Jamaat -- a fundamentalist Islamic sect opposed to Western values such as democracy and equal rights, but committed to "perpetual jihad" to spread Islam around the world -- is fighting a no-holds-barred battle to build a massive mosque complex in West Ham, a neighborhood in the East London Borough of Newham.

Critics say that attracting investments from Muslim investors is spurring the gradual establishment of a parallel global financial system based on Sharia law.

An image from the video "Right to choose: Spotting the signs of forced marriage - Nayana", produced by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Islam and Islam-related issues were omnipresent in Britain during the month of June 2014. They can be categorized into three broad themes: 1) The British government's growing concern over Islamic extremism and the domestic security implications of British jihadists in Syria; 2) The continuing spread of Islamic Sharia law in all aspects of British daily life; and 3) Ongoing questions of Muslim integration into British society.

1. Islamic Extremism and Syria-Related Threats

The dramatic rise of the Sunni militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS] in June added a new sense of urgency to the ongoing debate over how to prevent British jihadists from carrying out terrorist attacks in the UK upon their return from fighting in Syria.

British Prime Minister David Cameron warned on June 17 that British citizens and other Europeans fighting alongside Islamist insurgents in Iraq and Syria posed the biggest threat to Britain's national security.

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