While the United Kingdom has arrested dozens of British citizens for terrorism offenses linked to Syria, a city in Denmark has come up with a different approach: Rehab.
Freelance journalist Simon Hooper reported for Al Jazeera on a program in the Danish city of Aarhus set up by welfare services and police. When Hooper spoke with HuffPost Live's Marc Lamont Hill on Tuesday, he explained how the city is hoping to treat and reintegrate the volunteer fighters back into society.
"It's a scheme devised for Danish Muslims who, for whatever reason, decided to go to Syria and have now returned home," Hooper said. "It offers an alternative ... approach to what we've seen some countries [do] -- such as the U.K., where people returning from Syria tend to be facing immediate arrest and threat of prosecution of terrorism."
Hooper said the program is "embracing" former fighters by offering three kinds of support: psychological, physical and general support, like career or educational guidance. According to Hooper, the program has also reached out to "leaders of a controversial local mosque" to deter more volunteers from going to Syria.
Prof. Peter Neumann told the Associated Press earlier this week that more than 12,000 foreign fighters from 74 countries are believed to have gone to fight in Syria's war. About 20 to 25 percent of those come from western countries, sparking fears that radicalized fighters may return to their home countries.
Hooper explained that the Danish program is focusing on those individuals that that may have gone to Syria without completely realizing what they were getting into.
This scheme recognizes that many more of those who have gone to Syria may be disillusioned or traumatized by what they've experienced and are seeking a way out. They may have imagined that they were going to join an honorable struggle against a tyrannical regime and instead found themselves fighting on the rebel factions or being witnesses to atrocities.
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