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UK government plans jihadi rehabilitation scheme

PTI | Last Updated: Sunday, July 13, 2014 - 18:00

London: The UK government is considering adopting a German scheme that encourages jihadists to return home from Syria and Iraq and sign up for de-radicalisation classes, a media report said on Sunday.

Daniel Koehler, head of research at Hayat, a German humanitarian project told The Sunday Times that he had been in discussions with the Home Office and counter terrorism groups under the UK government regarding the programme.
"I am working to introduce the programme in the UK and right now we are hoping for a pilot project in London. From all the countries that have been in negotiations to introduce this, the UK is the closest to implementing it," Koehler said.

The pilot programme expected to be launched in London by September will be modelled on Hayat, a scheme that offers those who return from Iraq and Syria the chance to reintegrate into society and could reduce the chance of prosecution.

"Up to 300 British jihadists who have travelled to Syria to fight are thought to have now returned to the UK, presenting a growing challenge to the police and security services," Koehler said about the importance of the scheme.
Koehler`s organisation will work with the Active Change Foundation (ACF), a group that runs anti-extremist programmes backed by the UK government. The group is understood to have applied for funding from the Home Office.

The Home Office declined to comment, when contacted, the paper said.

Since its establishment in 2011 at Berlin, Hayat has stopped about 20 aspiring jihadists travelling to fight in Syria and with the help of their families convinced five people to return.

Hundreds of British Muslims have joined groups fighting President Bashar al-Assad`s regime in Syria over the past three years, many travelling there by road from Turkey.

The British police has been urging the citizens for assisting the administration in preventing the youth of the country from undertaking the dangerous journey largely seen as leading to radicalisation of British citizens.

First Published: Sunday, July 13, 2014 - 18:00
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