More than 3,000 people in Suffolk sign petition to ban ISIS members returning to UK
PUBLISHED: 10:45 17 February 2019 | UPDATED: 12:32 18 February 2019
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Thousands of Suffolk residents have signed a petition to ban ISIS members from returning to England following the plea from Shamima Begum, who wants to return after fleeing to Syria.
The petition has received more than 350,000 signatures, which means it has reached the 100,000 mark required to be considered for a debate in parliament.
A high number of people in Suffolk have signed the appeal ahead of the deadline on May 6 – with the highest number of signatures coming from west Suffolk, where more than 630 signatures have been received.
Waveney residents have also signed the appeal more than 600 times and more than 500 have currently been received in Bury St Edmunds. Meanwhile all three constituencies of South Suffolk, Suffolk Coastal and Central Suffolk and North Ipswich have received between 400 to 500 signatures.
The petition was created by Stephen Kent and states: “By banning all returning ISIS members and by removing their citizenship and passports it would help keep the UK safe from terrorists and their actions.
“It would also save hundreds of thousands of pounds and time of the police and security services. It would also send a message to others that membership of terrorist organisation will not be tolerated.”
The number of signatures has risen dramatically since the east London “jihadi bride” Shamima Begum told The Times that she wanted to return to England to have her third child, after losing two infant children in Syria.
Shamima Begum’s location has been unknown for the past four years since she joined the Islamic State group in Syria at just 15 years old. This week she told The Times that “the caliphate is over”.
“I know what everyone at home thinks of me as I have read all that was written about me online. But I just want to come home to have my child. That’s all I want right now. I’ll do anything required just to be able to come home and live quietly with my child.”
Her family have since announced that Shahima has given birth to a baby boy in Syria.
A date for the debate to be taken to parliament is set to be announced in the next few days.
Back in November, the government responded to the petition stating that: “British citizenship can be removed if it does not render the individual stateless. Any risk posed by those who return from Syria will be managed and they may be investigated for criminal offences.
“The government’s priority is to do everything we can to help keep our country safe, including managing the risk posed by those who have gone to fight in Syria and Iraq and may be linked to terrorist organisations.
“UK nationals have the right to return to the country, but anyone who does return from taking part in the conflict in Syria or Iraq will be investigated by the police and prosecuted where there is evidence that they have committed criminal offences.”