A group of about 30 British Islamic State militants have reached out to a university in London saying they want to return home to England but are scared of facing legal consequences if they do.
Group members wrote to King’s College that they were “disillusioned” with the jihadist group they had joined and that they did not want to fight any longer, according to Metro.
“It’s not what we came for, but if we go back (to Britain) we will go to jail,” said one member of the group. “Right now, we are being forced to fight – what option do we have?”
Some of the British group members said that they had gone off to protest and bring down Syrian President Bashar Assad. However, they feel that they have been forced to fight for other causes and against other rebels they did not want to take on.
Peter Neumann, a professor at King’s College who communicated with the jihadists, said that he thinks that the contact made by the group is indicative of a larger problem with England’s current legal processes for dealing with former jihadists.
Neumann, who works at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, said he thinks that about a fifth of British jihadists may want to return home and stop fighting, but there is no mechanism for them to make their ways back without facing decades behind bars.