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US journalist beheading video puts spotlight on British jihadists

Published on Aug 21, 2014 9:14 AM
 
The masked Islamic State militant seen beheading US journalist James Foley in a video. His distinct English accent has forced Britain once again to confront the question of how it became an exporter of jihadist fighters. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - The distinct English accent of the militant seen beheading US journalist James Foley in a grisly online video has forced Britain once again to confront the question of how it became an exporter of jihadist fighters.

The video, published on Tuesday, has also left Britain nervously wondering how many potential jihadists are walking its streets and whether the return of fighters from Iraq and Syria will bring the violence home.

Experts say young British men are often driven into the arms of jihadist groups such as the Islamic State (IS) by adolescent feelings of alienation, often resulting from their backgrounds as second or third generation of immigrant families, as well as poor economic prospects which they contrast with the perceived glory of bloody martyrdom.

"As a generation this is a group that is not going to be as successful as their parents," Erin Marie Saltman, a senior researcher at counter-extremism think tank Quilliam, told AFP.

 
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