Grant Woodward: Let’s welcome the reluctant jihadists with open arms

The Islamic State has brought unimaginable terror to the Middle East with its barbaric acts.
The Islamic State has brought unimaginable terror to the Middle East with its barbaric acts.
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YOU’LL like this one.

More than a dozen British-born jihadists who signed up to fight for the so-called Islamic State are desperately trying to get back to the UK.

But this lot don’t want to come back to spread hatred or encourage other impressionable youngsters from cities like ours to follow in their footsteps.

No, they’re desperate to get a plane home because they’ve decided that actually, they don’t much care for the sort of stuff IS is getting up to.

According to reports, they’re a bit shocked – sickened even – by the level of violence their so-called brothers in arms are dishing out across the Middle East.

It begs the obvious question – what on earth did they expect?

Did they think they were going out to Syria to get a job firing out a few press releases in the IS typing pool?

Did they reckon they’d be appearing in a couple of videos looking mean in their natty black uniforms and clutching AK47s, then catch the next flight home?

If so, you can only imagine their astonishment when they realised that their heroes are actually, you know, cutting people’s heads off and slaughtering young girls for the heinous crime of going to school.

Maybe they thought those gut-wrenching videos showing Western hostages being butchered were put together using some nifty special effects and liberal squirts of ketchup.

Perhaps they got to Syria expecting to find the likes of murdered British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines locked up in a cosy cell complaining that the food wasn’t quite up to scratch.

Presumably next door would be the 21 Coptic Christians who, lo and behold, weren’t simultaneously slaughtered on that beach in Libya after all.

It’s frightening to think that young men – and women – could be quite so naive.

But they must be, or surely they wouldn’t have gone there in the first place.

My hunch is that they’ve spent so much time playing Call of Duty in their bedrooms that they expected this blood-soaked jihad would be little more than an extension of their video games.

Only it isn’t. Islamic State’s game is terror. And the best way to spread that is through indiscriminate killing.

That means public crucifixions, ritual beheadings and setting fire to prisoners in cages.

All are part and parcel of a campaign that could have come straight out of the Middle Ages – which, funnily enough, is exactly where they’d like to send the world back to.

The trouble is that now these British jihadists have decided they want out, they’re finding it’s not quite that easy.

Reports say they’re currently being held in Syrian jails by the very men they went out there to fight alongside.

Given that Islamic State leaders expect unbending loyalty to the cause, there’s every chance that they could now face execution.

Some will say it serves them right. Personally, I hope they do end up managing to get out and make their way back to Britain.

Because let’s face it, the only way we’re going to stop the poisonous propaganda being pumped out by ISIS is to show that they’re not the good guys after all.

The folly of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have handed these barbarians the perfect recruitment campaign on a plate.

It means those who come home having been there and seen for themselves just what Islamic State are capable of are worth their weight in gold.

Get them touring the mosques, the community centres and the schools, hammering home the grim, awful reality of the carnage being wrought in the name of Islam.

It might just be enough to open the eyes of any would-be British jihadist to the reality of the cause they’re being asked to kill – and be killed – for.