Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Gordon Clubb argues removing citizenship from British Jihadists is ill-advised

01 September 2014 |

In light of James Foley's killing, and the claim his killer may be from the UK, Gordon Clubb discusses the issue of British Citizenship.

Clubb's article 'Removing citizenship will only encourage UK jihadists', begins by highlighting the fact that "Politicians are clamouring to take citizenship away from Britons who take up arms for militant Islamist groups". A strategy Clubb says is "ill-advised" and "could do more harm than good."

He outlines that current legislation permits the British government to "rescind citizenship from people who have dual nationality or if they are a naturalised Briton." It is now believed that a number of Islamic State fighters were born in the UK, which has resulted in Boris Johnson and David Davis leading calls to "strip British jihadists of their citizenship even if they were born in the UK and hold no alternative citizenship." As yet, it remains unclear whether this would have positive or negative effects on counter-terrorism efforts. Clubb states that this is "an issue that is rarely discussed, except in terms of its implications for human rights." Clubb claims that even if we ignore the issue of human rights, "taking such drastic steps would simply be a bad counter-terrorism strategy."

He continues on to say "citizenship in a counter-terrorism context can function as a form of control." The removal of citizenship in this case may be counter productive to counter-terrorism efforts. For instance if a miltant was involved in extremist activity, the ability of the security services to monitor the individual for intelligence purposes would be strengthned if that person had citizenship.

Clubb continues on to discuss the risk of offending or re-offending when citizenship is removed, saying that incarceration is a far more effective tool.

Read the full article online.

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