Joining ISIS has left them bored, disillusioned and afraid, French jihadists write in letters to home
Letters home from French jihadists to their parents have revealed the misery, boredom and fear suffered by Islamist recruits as the glamour fades from their big adventure.
In a series of letters seen by Le Figaro newspaper, some of the 376 French currently fighting in Syria have begged for advice on how to return. Others have complained that, rather than participating in a noble battle, they have been acting as jihadist drudges.
"I've basically done nothing except hand out clothes and food," wrote one, who wanted to return from Aleppo, Syria.
"I also help clean weapons and transport dead bodies from the front. Winters arrived here. It's begun to get really hard."
Another writes: "I'm fed up. They make me do the dishes."
One complained he wanted to go home because he was missing the comforts of life in France. "I'm fed up. My iPod doesn't work any more here. I have to come back."
Yet another wrote fearfully, "They want to send me to the front, but I don't know how to fight."
Some were concerned, more prosaically, about the nationality of children born in Syria to jihadist wives and therefore not recognized by the French state.
Le Figaro reported Islamist commanders had noticed some of the French were beginning to want to leave. One Frenchman was rumoured to have been beheaded when he explained to his commander he wanted to follow his friend who had already left.
"Everyone knows that, the longer these people stay there, the worse it will be because having watched or committed atrocities, they become ticking time bombs," said one lawyer, quoted in the newspaper.
"But, when it comes to having a discussion about whether France is ready to accept repentants, no politician is willing to take the risk. Imagine if one of these ex-jihadists is involved subsequently in an attack?"
I'm fed up. My iPod doesn't work any more here
A group of lawyers in France is acting on behalf of the families of the jihadists to try to persuade the state to allow them to return. They told the newspaper they were trying to make contact with anti-terrorist police, the directors of internal security and the office of the interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve.
The lawyers said nothing was agreed in advance on behalf of the jihadists and the advice was always: "Present yourself at the French consulate in Istanbul or Erbil [in Iraq]. And then we will see."
Of the approximately 100 jihadists who have returned to France, 76 are in prison. The report said Britain was known as the global leader in reforming jihadists, so much so that some within the French system were asking to be seconded to MI5, whose agents are "famed for their art of debriefing".
One expert told the newspaper, "Within the secret services, it's said that British jihadists are more interesting because they have a higher intellectual level than their French colleagues, who are more often donkeys."
The story of the French jihadists parallels that of an Indian man who spent six months fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), before becoming disillusioned with his job cleaning toilets and returning home.
Majeed, 23, was one of four young Muslim men from Kalyan, a city east of Mumbai, known to have journeyed to the Middle East to join the extremists.
"There was neither a holy war nor any of the preachings in the holy book were followed," Majeed is quoted as saying during his interrogation.
ISIS "fighters raped many women there," he reportedly said.
Via - news.nationalpost.com