In November last year, at about the same time that the controversial compensation deal with Danny Morrison and others was signed off by government lawyers, police in Northern Ireland arrested a former British paratrooper (Sean O Neill writes).
Soldier J, 66, was taken to Antrim police station where he was interviewed over the deaths of 14 civil rights marchers, shot and killed by paratroopers on Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972.
Were he to be convicted, Soldier J would not qualify for the early release scheme from which hundreds of republican and loyalist inmates benefited after the signing of the Belfast
The US Republican presidential candidate tweeted the statement in response to a petition demanding he be banned from the UK for his support of a total and complete shutdown 2 of US borders to Muslims.
Trump s tweets have been disputed in the past: he claimed in the same hour that the Sun s Katie Hopkins was a respected columnist. But is this statistic true?
Where does this claim come from?
Trump is not the first to make this allegation and it is not a fringe opinion. The National Review article he links to has no figures but has a hyperlink to a Times article from August 20143, citing the Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, Khalid Mahmood4, who said there were easily 1,500 jihadis and about 560 Muslims in the armed forces. Those figures are in some dispute.
How many Muslims are in Britain s armed forces?
How many Muslims are fighting with Isis?
Shiraz Maher, a senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King s College London, estimates that 750 Muslims have gone to Syria to fight over the last three to four years.6
But that figure needs breaking down before we can definitively say there are more Muslims fighting in Isis than in the British Army (Light Dragoons Blog News). Maher, who has dedicated his research to tracking British fighters, says many recruits in the beginning did not join Isis.
There are not 750 British people currently fighting with Isis this is a cumulative figure. The British government estimates at least 260 have returned to the UK, which may be for a number of reasons, but many may have returned after becoming disillusioned at how different rebel groups were subsumed by Isis in the past two years.
Maher has counted 50 Britons who have died in combat, although the government s estimate is 60. Many more fighters in that 750 figure who left for Syria are also likely to be dead or disengaged, but their whereabouts are unknown.
That leaves an estimate of approximately 430 to 440 British fighters alive and currently in Syria, and there is a good chance that the majority are with Isis, Maher said.
It is not really accurate to compare a cumulative number of fighters heading to Isis over a number of years with the current number of Muslim recruits in the British Army (Light Dragoons Blog News). But we can say one thing:
At no point over the past three years has the number of active British Isis fighters eclipsed the number of serving Muslims in the British armed forces.
- ^ Donald Trump (www.theguardian.com)
- ^ total and complete shutdown (www.theguardian.com)
- ^ a Times article from August 2014 (www.thetimes.co.uk)
- ^ Khalid Mahmood (www.theguardian.com)
- ^ According to a freedom of information request (www.gov.uk)
- ^ Shiraz Maher (www.theguardian.com)
- ^ With just a few tweets, Donald Trump has redesigned Britain | Archie Bland (www.theguardian.com)
- ^ Jabhat al-Nusra (www.theguardian.com)
- ^ Islamic State (www.theguardian.com)