“Among the most eye-opening points in this report is the fact that while most of us understand that our failure to provide safe passage to refugees endangers refugee lives, we might not understand that it also creates a threat to our own national security.”
The disruptive political rough-and-tumble of the past summer pales in comparison to the tumult faced by those who sought and seek to live amongst us and our values of democracy and western pluralism.
The conclusions of Quilliam’s near 9 month study into the refugee crisis are deeply troubling and to be frank, a little baffling. The migrant crisis has gone beyond the virtue signalling of society, or indeed the antipathy, and mutated into a far more complex and multifaceted threat.
To make it clear, Quilliam has gleaned crucial data, evidence and stories that paint a deeply troubling picture that suggest that refugees are much more vulnerable to imposed radicalisation than we ever expected. The size of the world’s forcibly displaced population has doubled in less than 20 years. What we are seeing is victims as security threats.
Our failure to manage or even interrupt the situation in four key areas of the middle east, or nexuses as we call them, has allowed organisations like Al Shabaab, IS, and Al Qaeda to fill the void. They have done this by paying for loyalty offering cash, food and even medical support. They work with smugglers to facilitate the journey to asylum.
Children are particularly vulnerable as this report has shown and it is our duty to engage in the situation for them – they pose the greatest long term risk too, having limited access to education, emotional stability and a support network. These factors are well established red flags when it comes to future radicalisation. Indeed, our duty to act is codified in our bill of universal human rights and is, in security terms, advantageous to us.
In our report, we have found that IS and al-Shabaab have adopted an educational approach to radicalisation regarding children. This is a great threat to western values but also to the long term security of Europe. Some of our findings are deeply troubling in this regard but we also established that the UK has to pull its own weight. We found that, from 1st October 2015 to 30th September 2016, the UK received 41,280 applications for asylum. 67% were refused while in Germany only 20% of applications were refused over the same period.
More than 340 unaccompanied asylum seeking children went missing between just January and September of 2015. Many will have left their poor accommodation for fear of being sent back to their home country, Afghanistan for instance. Our recommendation for a method of cost benefit analysis will show that we can no longer afford not to redress the issues of unaccompanied minors.
We believe that the creation of a Safeguarding and Resilience Against Extremism framework should be mandatory for major organisations such as the Home Office, the National Crime Agency, the DCLG, all local authorities and across the EU nations. Importantly there must be coordination between all of these organisations in order for it to work properly.
Simply put, we can afford to demonstrate the merits and benefits of life in the west as soon as a refugee arrives – it is to do nothing that we cannot afford. We have to instil in arrivals into Europe a sense of appreciation for our western values. In order to do so we must take the moral high road and become more welcoming in our policy and in our press in order to keep us safe from the future threats of disenfranchised nationless population.
In a political environment of the 2017 western world we expect that we will only find it harder and harder to implicate newer, more innovative and more humane platforms with which we can look after youth fleeing extremism, but Quilliam also recommends support and encouragement at home where everyday people, councils and charities should help carry the load. It has happened in the past and it can happen again, if for anything then for our future security.