Parents of foreign “terrorist” fighters in Syria – will they report their young?

Imran Awan, Surinder Guru

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)


The mounting tide of foreign fighters leaving Britain for the Middle East to fight,
sacrifice or find new lives has blighted European governments and led to the
further tightening up of counter-terrorism measures. Since the first British
arrest of a Syrian returnee (Choudhury) in 2014, the latest figures of foreign
fighter returnees have surged to approximately 800. A number of strategies
aimed at thwarting these trends have surfaced including a call upon Muslim
parents to scrutinise their children’s attitudes and behaviour and to be
watchful of their radicalization. Based on a study in the West Midlands (in the
UK), the paper provides a snapshot of how Muslim parents have received calls
upon them to report their actual or potentially radicalized children to the
police. We argue that current practices are likely to be ineffective unless more
democratic spaces are provided for free political expression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-42
Number of pages19
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number1
Early online date8 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2017


  • counter-terrorism
  • foreign fighters
  • Muslim communities
  • Syria
  • policing
  • radicalisation


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