Perspective“Preventing and countering violent extremism” can work

Published 17 June 2019

“Welcome back to your motherland!” was heard recently in Kazakhstan, which has repatriatedsome 500 men, women and children who had been living in the so-called Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Kazakhstan isn’t alone. Countries across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Central and Southeast Asia, and beyond, are grapplingwith whether to accept the thousandsof people who left home to join the Islamic State. Stevan Weine and Eric Rosand write in Just Security that Kazakhstan, however, is one of only a handful of countriesthat have accepted their citizens being held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeast Syria or by the Iraqi government. In fact, most have so far refused to repatriate their citizens (including children born in the conflict zone). The reasonsinclude security concerns and pushback from nervous publics who don’t want them back in their communities.