The British government is considering adopting a German scheme that encourages jihadists to return home from Syria and Iraq and sign up to de-radicalisation classes, The Times reported.A pilot programme, expected to be launched in London by September, will be modelled on Hayat, a scheme that offers those who return from Iraq and Syria the chance to reintegrate into society and could reduce the chance of prosecution.
Daniel Koehler, the head of research at Hayat, said he had been in discussions with the Home Office and counterterrorism groups. “I am working to introduce the programme in the UK and right now we are hoping for a pilot project in London,” he said. “There’s a lot of interest. From all the countries that have been in negotiations to introduce this, the UK is the closest to implementing it.”
Up to 300 British jihadists who have travelled to Syria to fight are thought to have now returned to the UK, presenting a growing challenge to the police and security services.
Koehler’s organisation will work with the Active Change Foundation (ACF), a group that runs anti-extremist programmes backed by the government. The ACF is understood to have applied for Home Office funding. The Home Office declined to comment.
Since being established in Berlin in 2011, Hayat has stopped about 20 aspiring jihadists travelling to fight in Syria and, with the help of their families, convinced five people to return.