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The Collapse of the Caliphate

Combative, provocative and engaging debate chaired by Michael Buerk. With Anne McElvoy, Claire Fox, Giles Fraser and Mona Siddiqui.

“The Caliphate is ready to fall”, tweeted President Trump. The so-called Islamic State’s territory is all but recaptured. If only that were the end of the matter. We can take away their land, but not their warped and dangerous ideas. And there’s the small matter of what to do with the 800 European-born ISIS fighters who have been captured in Syria. The US president has threated to release them if Britain and other European countries don’t take them back. If the British jihadis are traitors to their country, as many see them, have they forfeited their right to citizenship? Or by following due process would we as a country make an important point about the superiority of our values compared to ISIS? What about our moral duty towards those who went to Syria but didn’t even fight? What about our duty to their innocent children? For some, Shamima Begum, schoolgirl runaway and now mother, is a victim of extremist brainwashing. For others she was knowingly complicit in irredeemably evil acts of violence. Punishments aside, where does an individual’s moral agency come into this debate? It could be argued that the whole of Western society must take some of the blame for the demons that have been unleashed by what many believe are mistaken foreign policy interventions and the marginalisation of minorities. Or do we need to stop viewing serious organised criminals as the vulnerable victims of indoctrination and start being much more ruthless with those who reject our hard-won British values?

Producer: Dan Tierney

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43 minutes

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