Europe may be getting more ISIS brides thanks to new ruling from EU human rights court

A woman leaves a Shiite shrine in a predominantly Hazara neighborhood while two men stand guard in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. A strange, new relationship is developing in Afghanistan following the takeover by the Taliban three months ago. The Taliban, Sunni hard-liners who for decades targeted the Hazaras as heretics, are now their only protection against a more brutal enemy: the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Bram Janssen)
By Olivier Bault
8 Min Read

European nations are being pushed closer to being forced to repatriate Islamic State brides along with their foreign-born children following a new ruling from the European Court of Human Rights on Wednesday,

According to the human rights court, which features numerous judges known for their links to NGOs backed by billionaire oligarch George Soros, the prohibition of the expulsion of nationals provided for in Article 3 of Protocol No. 4 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms should now apply to a country’s nationals who are detained abroad. This ruling also applies to certain circumstances where European-born Jihadist wives and their foreign-born children have found themselves in Kurdish camps in Syria.

The court has over the years grown into a juggernaut effectively blocking governments seeking to halt or limit immigration levels, often even after these governments were elected with a democratic mandate to tackle the issue. The United Kingdom, for instance, recently saw its plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda blocked by the ECHR, much to the chagrin of the Conservative government. In another ruling, the court directed Poland to stop removing illegal immigrants that crossed into its territory from Berlarus.

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The court’s latest ruling regarding ISIS families is only the most recent example of the ECHR judges endlessly striving to extend the scope of the Convention and their own jurisdiction, with this particular ruling not only affecting Europe on the issue of migration but also the continent’s internal security.

The court’s press release reads:

“The absolute prohibition on the expulsion of nationals and the corresponding absolute right of entry had stemmed from an intention to prohibit exile once and for all, as it was seen to be incompatible with modern democratic principles. Since then, international mobility had become more commonplace in an increasingly interconnected world, seeing many nationals settling or traveling abroad. (…) If Article 3 § 2 of Protocol No. 4 were to apply only to nationals who arrived at the national border or who had no travel documents it would be deprived of effectiveness in the context of the contemporary phenomena mentioned above.”

Although acknowledging that “according to its case-law, the Convention did not guarantee a right to diplomatic protection by a Contracting State for the benefit of any person within its jurisdiction,” the Europe’s human rights court has found it is entitled to interfere in favor of the Jihadists’ wives who had decided to leave France or another European country to join the so-called Islamic State back in the mid-2010s and in favor of their children born in Syria.

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It is worth mentioning that the ECHR did not state in its judgment that a country has to repatriate its nationals, but only that such decision falls within the scope of Protocol No. 4 to the Human Rights Convention and that, therefore, a signatory country has “to surround the decision-making process concerning the requests for repatriation, by appropriate safeguards against arbitrariness.”

To that end, “the Court took the view that the rejection of a request for repatriation had to give rise to an appropriate individual examination, by an independent body, separate from the executive authorities of the State, but not necessarily by a judicial authority.”

The French government was thus ordered by the ECHR judges to create such an “independent body,” one which will not be accountable to voters, and then to review the requests made by the parents of two dead Jihadists’ wives being held with their three children born in Syria in a Kurdish-run detention camp.

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This decision is likely to put pressure on European countries to speed up the repatriation of their nationals still held in Syria. This is why seven of those countries were supporting France’s arguments in this case. Some other countries, like Germany and Belgium, are already engaged in large-scale repatriations anyway.

In July, France itself announced the repatriation from northeastern Syria of 16 ISIS brides and their 35 children. These numbers came in addition to the 126 children that had already been repatriated since 2016. According to NGOs, there are now some 80 dead Jihadists’ wives and some 200 minors with French citizenship in Kurdish-run camps in northeastern Syria.  Some of the so-called ISIS brides that have been allowed to return to France are actually known Jihadists themselves, such as Émilie König, who was among those allowed back last July.

France provided the biggest contingent of Western fighters to ISIS in Syria in the mid-2010s, having at some point some 1,700 nationals fighting for the Islamic State, out of some 5,000 in total coming from Western Europe.

Although the number of attempted attacks has been on the decline in France in 2021 and 2022, the terrorist threat remains high according to the DGSI, France’s counter-intelligence service. Apart from the threat posed by the repatriation of female jihadists and ISIS brides together with their children, the DGSI pointed in a June report to the issue of Islamist terrorist detainees, both in detention and upon their release, as a major security issue for the country.

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The report clearly said that “with more than 450 individuals currently incarcerated for terrorist acts and more than 270 individuals released between 2019 and 2021, the potential threat posed by detainees and former detainees is at the heart of the DGSI’s concerns.”

A 2016 report on French Islam by the left-leaning, pro-migrant Institut Montaigne showed that new generations of Muslims born in France are much more radical than their parents. Overall, according to that survey, 28 percent of Muslims over 15 years of age living in France “have adopted a system of values clearly opposed to those of the French state.” However, that proportion reaches almost 50% percent among 15- to 24-year-olds. According to a poll published at the beginning of July, two days after the return of the 16 Jihadists’ wives and their 35 children, 59 percent of French voters are against allowing for the return of French Jihadists’ children detained in Syria, and only 41 percent are in favor of such a move.

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