- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A British Member of Parliament told Newsweek on Wednesday that there are more than twice as many British Muslims fighting for the Islamic State group than in the nation’s military.

“If you look across the whole of the country, and the various communities involved, 500 going over each year would be a conservative estimate,” Khalid Mahmood, the MP for Perry Barr in Birmingham, told the magazine. Mr. Mahmood believes that there are at least 1,500 British Muslims now fighting in the Middle East on behalf of the terrorist organization. The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense tallies the number of Muslims in the British armed forces at 600, Newsweek reported.


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“We’ve not concentrated on the prevention work, we haven’t invested enough in de-radicalization. It’s tragic, somebody’s got to wake up to it,” Mr. Mahmood told the magazine.

A spokesperson for the U.K.’s Home Office (a government department responsible for immigration and counter-terrorism) told Newsweek for its article that that “the police and security services are actively working to detect and disrupt terrorist threats. People seeking to travel to engage in terrorist activity in Syria or Iraq should be in no doubt we will take the strongest possible action to protect our national security, including prosecuting those who break the law.”

On Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said that the member of the Islamic State group who beheaded American journalist James Foley may be British, the Associated Press reported. The executioner spoke with a British accent and in fluent English.