A prominent U.K. politician advocated for the killing of British nationals who have joined the Islamic State, arguing they pose such a danger it may be the only option.

Rory Stewart, a minister in the Foreign Office and former Member of Parliament, shared his views on the threat faced by the U.K. and Europe as the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate comes apart in Iraq and Syria.

“They believe in an extremely hateful doctrine which involves killing themselves, killing others and trying to use violence and brutality to create an eighth century, or seventh century, state.”

“I’m afraid we have to be serious about the fact these people are a serious danger to us, and unfortunately the only way of dealing with them will be, in almost every case, to kill them.”

Tens of thousands of foreigners from around the world, to include at least 850 British citizens, have traveled to fight for the Islamic State since 2014. According to MI5, the U.K.’s domestic intelligence agency, over half of those have already returned home to Britain.

Stewart implied killing radicalized Britons would be necessary because Islamic State fighters have “essentially moved away from any kind of allegiance” to the U.K., but that there were “very difficult moral issues” at play.

After liberating the territory IS had seized, a landmass stretching across Syria and Iraq approximately the size of France which lured around 40,000 foreign fighters and controlled over 10 million people, the next most important objective is handling radicalized fighters exiting the battlefield, according to Stewart.

Presumably in response to a backlash over what are certainly more aggressive statements from a government representative, Stewart took to Twitter early this morning to say “Clearly combatants [should] be treated in accordance with law. My point was simply that ISIS is a death-cult which usually fights to the death.”

Stewart has extensive experience in the Middle East and Asia as a diplomat and writer. He has written multiple books and articles on his international experiences, to include “The Places in Between,” chronicling his 2002 solo-walk across war-torn Afghanistan as part of a larger, 6,000-mile long trek through Iran, Pakistan, India, and Nepal.

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