UK officials still investigating ‘wider conspiracy’ behind Manchester attack

LONG WAR JOURNAL, BY THOMAS JOSCELYN | May 28, 2017

Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials are still investigating the possible “wider conspiracy” behind the May 22 Manchester Arena bombing, according to a statement released by the Manchester Police. Twelve men have been arrested in connection with the investigation and remain in custody. It is not known if charges will be brought against any or all of them. Two people, including one woman, were detained earlier, but released without charge.

Authorities have released images (seen above) captured by CCTV of Salman Abedi, the 22-year-old who detonated the bomb. The images are part of an effort to obtain more evidence regarding Abedi’s movements between May 18, when he returned to the UK from his travels abroad, until his night of terror days later. Forensic experts identified Abedi as the perpetrator within two hours of the attack. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the act.

The Manchester police released an infographic, seen on the right, summarizing key events to date.

Officials have discovered a flat where Abedi, and possibly his co-conspirators, may have assembled the bomb.

“The investigation is making good progress and we know one of the last places Abedi went was a city centre flat and from there he left to make his way to the Manchester Arena,” Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins and Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the Senior National Coordinator for UK Counter Terrorism Policing, said in a statement released online. “The flat is highly relevant as a location which we believe may be the final assembly place for the device.”

“In the past five days we have gathered significant information about Abedi, his associates, his finances, the places he had been, how the device was built and the wider conspiracy,” Hopkins and Basu said yesterday.

Authorities have not publicly confirmed that Abedi had co-conspirators, although that is the clear implication of their statements. “This is still a live investigation which is not slowing down,” Hopkins and Basu added. “Our priorities are to understand the run up to this terrible event and to understand if more people were involved in planning this attack.”

During an interview on BBC News with Andrew Marr, British interior minister Amber Rudd was asked about members of the “large group” surrounding around Abedi who have been arrested, and whether “some” members are sill at-large.

“Potentially, I mean it’s an ongoing operation” that is still at “full tilt,” Rudd responded.

Marr asked Rudd about possible security lapses in the lead up to Abedi’s bombing, including tips that authorities reportedly received, and failed to act on, beforehand. Rudd wouldn’t comment on the specifics, but defended the UK government’s counterterrorism record in general. She said that 18 plots have been foiled since 2013 and highlighted the “scale of the problem” Britain faces, especially from the Islamic State, which is trying to “weaponize young people in our society.”

Marr also inquired how many “serious potential jihadis” there were “across the country.” Citing figures provided by MI5, Rudd responded that the security services are “looking at 500 different plots” with 3,000 possible terrorists on the “top list” and 20,000 “underneath that.”

“But that’s all different layers, different tiers, and it might be just a question mark about one of them” that leads to inclusion on the “top list,” she explained. In other words, British authorities do not think that all of the people on MI5’s lists are necessarily terrorists in waiting. But officials are having a difficult time determining which individuals will follow Abedi’s path.

The British government has previously warned that the Islamic State threat is “unprecedented.” [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Why the UK launched its first targeted drone strike ever.]

The Manchester investigation is massive effort, requiring significant resources all by itself. Approximately 1,000 members of the British security services and law enforcement have been involved.

Outside of the UK, officials are looking into Hashim and Ramadan Abedi (Salman’s brother and father, respectively), both of whom were detained in Libya last week. Libya’s Special Deterrence Force, Rada, alleges that Hashim Abedi has admitted foreknowledge of the plot and that he and his brother were both members of the Islamic State. The senior Abedi’s ties to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a designated terror group linked to al Qaeda, are also being explored. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report: Analysis: UK investigating possible ‘network’ behind Manchester attack.]

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD’s Long War Journal.

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Manchester Arena bombed at conclusion of Ariana Grande concert

Long War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn, May 23, 2017:

An explosion rocked the Manchester Arena in England at the conclusion of an Ariana Grande concert last night. At least 22 people were killed and 59 others wounded by the blast.

The Islamic State has issued a statement claiming responsibility for the bombing. The message doesn’t provide any details about the bomber.

“With Allah’s grace and support, a soldier of the Khilafah managed to place explosive devices in the midst of the gatherings of the Crusaders in the British city of Manchester, in revenge for Allah’s religion, in an endeavor to terrorize the mushrikin [polytheists], and in response to their transgressions against the lands of the Muslims,” the statement reads.

The Islamic State’s claim continues: “The explosive devices were detonated in the shameless concert arena, resulting in 30 Crusaders being killed and 70 others being wounded. And what comes next will be more severe on the worshipers of the Cross and their allies, by Allah’s permission. And all praise is due to Allah, Lord of the creation.”

The statement doesn’t indicate that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber and implies that multiple improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were used. Also, the Islamic State claims that 30 people were killed, which is more than independent reports say.

It is suspected that a suicide bomber was responsible and it appears that only one bomb was detonated. It is possible that the terrorist responsible accidentally killed himself in the explosion. But the precise details still need to be confirmed.

Manchester police think that a lone individual detonated the IED, but they are investigating the possibility that other people were involved.

“We have been treating this as a terrorist incident and we believe, at this stage, the attack last night was conducted by one man,” Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said in a statement released online. “The priority is to establish whether he was acting along or as part of a network.”

“The attacker, I can confirm, died at the arena,” Hopkins added. “We believe the attacker was carrying an improvise explosive device which he detonated causing this atrocity.”

During a press conference this morning, British Prime Minister Theresa May said that authorities have identified the perpetrator, but his name cannot be publicly confirmed at this time. British officials are attempting to identify any possible accomplices.

Initial reports indicate that the bomb may have been packed with shrapnel, such as nails, nuts or bolts. The first issue of AQAP’s English-language Inspire magazine, which was released in 2010, provided step-by-step instructions on how to build such a device. The article, “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom,” instructed followers to “use iron pipes, pressure cookers, fire extinguishers, or empty propane canisters.”

“You need to also include shrapnel,” AQAP explained. “The best shrapnel are the spherical shaped ones.” But AQAP advised that jihadists “may use nails” if “steel pellets are not available.”

Similar explosive devices were used by two brothers in the Apr. 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, which were celebrated in another edition of AQAP’s Inspire.

Improvised explosive devices were also used during the Sept. 2016 attacks in New York and New Jersey. The man accused of committing those bombings, Ahmad Khan Rahami, left behind a notebook in which he cited both Al Qaeda and Islamic State figures.

Although AQAP first sought to inspire would-be jihadists to carry out “lone mujahid” attacks in the West, the Islamic State has had more success in inspiring and guiding such plots since 2014. Islamic State members, such as Reyaad Khan, have used online applications to guide their followers in the UK and elsewhere.

Khan provided his would-be accomplices with “construction plans” for IEDs and also helped them identify “targets,” according to an investigation by the UK Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee. Khan was killed in Britain’s first targeted drone strike ever in Raqqa, Syria on Aug. 21, 2015. British officials justified the bombing by citing intelligence indicating that Khan and his co-conspirators generated threats on an “unprecedented scale.” [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Why the UK launched its first targeted drone strike ever.]

Most of the attacks connected to Islamic State in Europe have used vehicles, knives or other means, as opposed to IEDs. For example, a jihadist who struck near the UK Parliament in March drove his vehicle into a crowd, then jumped out and used a blade to assault other people.

A jihadist did use backpack bomb in a July 2016 attack in Ansbach, Germany. That bombing was also claimed by the Islamic State.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD’s Long War Journal.

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Also see:

Ignoring Former Muslims To Our Detriment

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, April 30, 2017:

Many men and women have left Islam and courageously speak truthfully about what Islam teaches and the threat it poses to the civilized world.

These are people grew up being taught about the obligation to wage jihad, that taking Jews and Christians for friends is unlawful because it is prohibited by Allah in the Koran, that non-Muslims are the “worst of all creatures” (Koran 98:6), and that the purpose of Islam is to impose sharia (Islamic Law) on the entire world.

We in the non-Muslim world can learn a lot from these people.  Are we hearing them?

As a Special Agent in the FBI (1996-2008), UTT Founder/President John Guandolo worked with muslim assets/informants who did dangerous and difficult work on behalf of our nation and the FBI.  While they did not adhere to sharia, they identified themselves as “muslims.”

Through this work, Mr. Guandolo came to know about an Imam from Uganda who converted to Christianity. The Imam wrote his story in March of 2007, and it included details of growing up in Islam, training to become an Imam, and what Islam teaches.  John Guandolo had this story translated into English and then disseminated it inside the FBI as well as to Christian organizations to support their work in Islamic nations.

A brief summary of the story is below which gives readers an insight into the true intentions of Islam.  It reveals Islam is a totalitarian system which enslaves people who are a part of it.

“My name is Mayanja Yiusf.  I was born into a Muslim family in Uganda…When I came of age, I enrolled for studies in Islam and Arabic which took six years:  three years of Islam and three years of Arabic.  I trained in Uganda and Sudan and I became a prominent Imam and spoke at many mosques in and outside Kampala.  I was a leader of a Muslim Association called Al-Dawahti…I was on the council of Tabliqs and my paternal uncle is the leader of that sect in Uganda.

“I was born and raised a Muslim, but now I have left that life behind…In light of the crisis in the world today, and because of the ongoing strategies to attack Christians at every level, may this also be a warning to all peoples everywhere, that Islam is obtaining dominance and is arming itself for continued war on all things not of Islam.  There is little time left to reach the many innocent Muslims who wish they could escape from the violent slavery of Islam.

“I tell you my story while I am still alive.  You see, as a Muslim who has left the faith, my days may be numbered.  I have lived under the threat of death since I left my father’s household, only until now, they have not succeeded.

“Lest you think that the religion of Islam is promoting the love of God and fellow man, here are just a few of the works that Islam engages in today:

“It is not just the “radical fundamentalists” or jihadis who participate in the terror of today.  Do you not know that it is against the Koran to refuse help to those who are in Jihad?

“There is a strategy called the “New Mosque Movement” which seeks to begin building mosques and schools and clinics all over the world.  Just look around and you can see, in Africa, South America, England, and France, and even in America.  The mosques are the centers of political thought as well as religious practice, but then again, those two are inseparable in Islam.

“Muslim fathers will gladly kill their sons and daughters if they disobey or leave the religion.

“Muslim groups are sending Muslims to Christian places for information.  They spy everywhere, especially where there is freedom of movement…They start non-profits and organizations everywhere, many with the purpose to intimidate Western societies.  In the US, CAIR and organizations like them are funded to push the free countries to accept them and their religion and practices.  They threaten to sue and intimidate if they don’t get their way.

“Wherever they begin to operate in villages, towns, etc they threaten others, especially moderate Muslims, and even other Imams who are not as aggressive as the jihadists…Peace in Islam means that the countries are operating under the rule of Islam, Sharia Law, and with religious leaders in charge.  That is their peace.

“There are no innocent civilians for the jihadist.  All may be killed because they are merely part of the evil societies to be cleansed.

“I am proud to be a Christian now because the Almighty God of the Christians fights for himself.  he doesn’t request or persuade anybody to fight, but instead reconciles people to Himself.  He says that vengeance should be left to him alone.  I hope the reader is able to distinguish between the God of Christians, Jehovah, and Allah…You are hereby invited to think about this:  the Islamic faith does not encourage any believer to reason out who Allah is.  The day you will reason about what you were taught in Islam, will be the day you are released from bondage and you will see the light of Christ.”

UTT believes there is a lot to learn from individuals who leave Islam and speak truthfully about the threat it poses to those inside and outside Islam who do not adhere to the sharia and all of its obligations.

To defeat an enemy we must clearly identify the threat.  The threat the civilized world faces today is not from “violent extremists” or “radical Islam” or any other euphemism we put on the face of it.  The threat, as 100% of the enemy clearly states, comes from Islam which commands its adherents to impose sharia on the earth through all means necessary.

Speaking truth is never wrong.  For the sake of those enslaved by Islam, it is the loving thing to do.

How Hamas is winning hearts and minds in Europe

Via conferences and through hierarchies linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, Gaza-based terror group is building global infrastructure to challenge PLO’s standing as Palestinians’ sole legitimate representative

The Times of Israel, by March 14, 2017:

At the end of February, in Istanbul, the Palestinians Abroad Conference convened with the purported goal of promoting global support for the Palestinians. Its actual purpose was to bolster the status of Hamas in the international arena.

Many of the organizers of the conference, which was attended by thousands of Arabs and Palestinians from all over the world, are of Palestinian origin. But to those who closely followed what happened in Istanbul, it became clear that many of the organizers and attendees had something else in common: they are known to have been members — for decades — of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated networks all over Europe.

This was not the first conference of its kind. Many like it have taken place in recent years. Many of the same faces are present — including current and past members of the Muslim Brotherhood, at a more or less official level, and current and past members of Hamas.

Their shared goal is to promote international legitimacy for Hamas — in Europe, Africa, the Middle East (of course) and even in Latin America — in a bid to challenge the PLO’s international standing as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

Hamas, in this way, is slowly but surely establishing a global infrastructure of supporters who are providing not only encouragement and legitimacy, but also quite a bit of financial assistance.

Tracing the outlines of this infrastructure lends some surprising insights. For example, Britain turns out to be hosting more of this semi-official activity by Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood than any other country in Europe.

Then-Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (L) and freed Palestinian prisoner Yahya Sinwar, a founder of the terror group’s military wing, wave as supporters celebrate the release of hundreds of inmates in a swap for captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza on October 21, 2011. (AFP/Said Khatib)

One almost quintessential example of such activity under innocent-seeming cover is the Global Anti-Aggression Campaign.

“This group was established in 2003 in Saudi Arabia,” said Dr. Ehud Rosen, an expert on political Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood who assisted Steven Merley, another expert, in writing a comprehensive study on the topic. Merley started a website, Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch, which reports on Muslim Brotherhood activity all over the world.

“It was initiated by two former members of al-Qaeda, both from Saudi Arabia, who tried to brand the new organization as ‘non-violent,’” Rosen said. “The organization was rebooted in Qatar in 2005 [following the Saudi government’s objections to hosting it on Saudi soil]. Its founding group from 2005 includes high-ranking Hamas officials, including political leader Khaled Mashaal, alongside representatives of other groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood’s global organization, Salafists and Salafi jihadists.

“The group has held many conferences and issued fatwas against the West, such as against France after it began military action in Mali.”

The Campaign began focusing on Gaza in 2009, during and after Operation Cast Lead, an Israeli military campaign aimed at stopping rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. At a conference held in February 2009, the group decided to turn Gaza into a new front for jihad under the auspices of the “Istanbul Declaration.” The declaration, signed by 90 Muslim clerics from all over the world, including members of Hamas, stated that the Palestinian Authority was not the representative of the Palestinian people, while the “elected government of Hamas,” was in fact the legitimate representative.

The statement attacked the Saudi-sponsored Arab Peace Initiative — a proposal that offers normalization of ties between Arab countries and Israel in exchange for Israel pulling out of territories claimed by Palestinians — calling it nothing less than “a proven betrayal of the Islamic Nation and the Palestinian cause, and a blatant betrayal of the Palestinian people.”

“This [Global Anti-Aggression Campaign] group, like some other Muslim groups throughout Europe, does not call itself the ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ or a supporter of Hamas. These are networks of groups scattered over nearly the entire world. For their part, Muslim Brotherhood leaders claim their movement is active in 80 countries, but since September 11, 2001, and even before, the groups that are identified with [the Brotherhood] have denied any connection,” Rosen said.

“Take another example: FIOE, the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe,” he said. “Thirty-seven different groups in different countries on the continent operate under that organization, and over the years have created an image for themselves as ‘the legitimate representatives’ — the Islamic mainstream. The group is known as IGD in Germany and UOIF in France. The same thing is going on in Scandinavia and almost everywhere.”

These networks operate according to the long-established model of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. In each country there is a network of civil society organizations — in other words, dawa, a word in Arabic meaning proselytizing or preaching of Islam. These organizations are run by well-known figures who head madrasas, or Muslim schools; mosques; charitable organizations that raise money not only for Muslims in Europe but also for Hamas; and even student associations in every well-known university in Europe. Recently, Muslim “human rights” groups have been established that work to strengthen support for the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

Essam Mustafa (Youtube screenshot)

Many prominent figures in these groups, again, operate on British soil. Here are some examples.

Anas Altikriti, a native of Iraq, is the son of a high-ranking Muslim Brotherhood official. His father fled Saddam Hussein’s regime to Britain. He himself was born in Iraq, but has lived in London since he was two years old. He visited the White House two years ago and met with president Barack Obama. Though he supports its policies, he says he is not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Muhammad Sawalha, of Palestinian origin, is very well known to the Israeli security establishment as one of the founders of Hamas’s military wing in the West Bank. He also lives in London.

Zaher Birawi, a former Hamas operative in the Gaza Strip, was one of the spokesmen of the Mavi Marmara flotilla and has been involved in other flotillas.

Essam Yusuf Mustafa is a former member of Hamas’s political wing, at least according to the US Treasury Department. Mustafa, one of the organizers of the latest conference in Istanbul, is on the board of trustees of another organization, Interpal, which was declared a terrorism-supporting organization by the United States as far back as 2003. Both Birawi and Mustafa live in Britain.

Members of the Palestinian Hamas security forces stage mock raid on IDF post during a graduation ceremony in Gaza City on January 22, 2017. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)

Mustafa was a leader of a group called the Charity Coalition (also known as the Union of Good), which raised money for Hamas in the early 2000s and gained the spiritual support of Yusuf al-Qardawi, the leading Sunni cleric and Muslim Brotherhood member. The Turkish IHH group, which was one of the organizers of the Marmara flotilla, was also part of the Charity Coalition.

There are others, in and out of Britain: Ismail Patel, head of the Friends of Al-Aqsa group; Daud Abdullah, originally from Grenada, a former member of the Muslim Council of Britain, who helps operate a news site which takes a pro-Hamas and pro-Muslim Brotherhood stance; Azzam Tamimi, a Palestinian who is the CEO of the Alhiwar television station, which operates from London and is considered explicitly pro-Hamas (Zaher Birawi hosts a show on the station); Egyptian-born Ibrahim el-Zayat, currently living in Germany, who is considered a key figure in the financial dealings of these networks; and Ibrahim Munir Mustafa, also Egyptian by birth, who chairs the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood movement and lives in London.

Rosen, who has been tracking these names for quite some time, said there is a distinction between members of the official Muslim Brotherhood, such as those who operate in Egypt, and the networks that are thought to be identified with them.

“These are in effect groups that sprang up from former members of the Muslim Brotherhood who fled Egypt in the 1960s and settled in Europe. These groups were founded without any direct orders [from the Brotherhood], without a centralized command structure or a prominent commander,” he explained.

“But there are definite networks here, with major nexuses, such as London or Germany. They cooperate with the official Muslim Brotherhood and with Hamas.

“Hamas’s place in the enormous organization known as the global Muslim Brotherhood is growing right now,” he said. “Hamas is the movement’s own flesh and blood, and it wants to take control of the PLO. This is why its global activity has taken on a new importance. The Palestinian organization is trying to re-invent itself, with a new platform and a supposedly more moderate direction, but they are still the same organization.

“The whole BDS issue benefits from this Islamist infrastructure and receives assistance from organizations that are identified with Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Rosen. “And there is persistent talk of Khaled Mashaal, the leader of Hamas’s political wing, replacing Ibrahim Munir as the chair of the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood movement.”

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Report: Homegrown Terrorism is Top Threat to UK

Gatestone Institute, by Soeren Kern, March 7, 2017:

  • “The threat to the UK remains from homegrown terrorism, and is heavily youth- and male-oriented with British nationals prevalent among offenders.” — Islamist Terrorism: Analysis of Offenses and Attacks in the UK (1998–2015).
  • “The increased prevalence of smaller cells and individualistic offending, suggests a rise in terrorism cases that feature shorter lead times to offending and fewer opportunities for identification.” — Islamist Terrorism: Analysis of Offenses and Attacks in the UK (1998–2015).
  • “While analysis of pre-offense behaviors shows that there is no one profile for engagement with Islamism-inspired terrorism, some trends can be identified. Offenders commonly consumed extremist and/or instructional material prior to, or as part of, their offending. Much of the pro-jihadist material accessed promotes ‘them and us’ thinking, dehumanization of the enemy, and attitudes that justify offending.” — Islamist Terrorism: Analysis of Offenses and Attacks in the UK (1998–2015).
  • “Analysis of common sites of inspiration and facilitation appears to corroborate current counter-radicalization policy priorities such as restricting terrorist and violent extremist material on the internet, supporting at-risk sectors and empowering families to safeguard against extremism.” — Islamist Terrorism: Analysis of Offenses and Attacks in the UK (1998–2015).

Homegrown terrorism inspired by the Islamic State poses the dominant threat to the national security of the United Kingdom, according to a comprehensive new report on violent Islamism in Britain.

The 1,000-page report — “Islamist Terrorism: Analysis of Offenses and Attacks in the UK (1998–2015)” — was published on March 5 by the Henry Jackson Society, a foreign policy think tank based in London.

The report, authored by terrorism researcher Hanna Stuart, identifies, profiles and analyzes all 269 Islamism-inspired terrorism convictions and suicide attacks in the United Kingdom between 1998 and 2015.

The report also compares data between 1998 and 2010, a period when al-Qaeda reached its zenith, and 2011 and 2015, the period following the death of Osama bin Laden in May 2011, the uprisings known as the Arab Spring, and the rise of the Islamic State in 2014.

The report shows that young British males were the most prevalent offenders, but that involvement by British females nearly tripled in recent years.

The report found little to no correlation between involvement in Islamic terrorism and educational achievement and employment status. In addition, most of the offenders were based in London and Birmingham, and a majority were living at their family homes with parents, siblings, spouses and/or children. “These findings challenge common stereotypes of terrorists as well-educated and middle-class or as isolated loners,” according to the report.

While most offenders were raised as Muslim, one in six was a convert. Three-quarters of offenders were previously known to the authorities; one-quarter had a previous criminal conviction. One in five offenders received terrorist training abroad or engaged in combat prior to arrest.

The report cites the internet as a major source for the inspiration of offenders. At the same time, most offenders belonged to wider networks, formed in person and online, with friends and families. Only one in ten offenses was carried out by someone who acted entirely alone and had no extremist connections.

“The increased prevalence of smaller cells and individualistic offending, suggests a rise in terrorism cases that feature shorter lead times to offending and fewer opportunities for identification,” the report warns.

The report’s main findings include:

  • The overwhelming majority (93%) of Islamism-related offenses (IROs) were committed by males. Females accounted for 4% of IROs between 1998 and 2010 and 11% of IROs between 2011 and 2015 — an increase of 175%.
  • IROs were carried out by individuals between the ages of 14 and 52 years. Forty-six percent of 2011–2015 offenses were committed by individuals aged under 25, a small increase from 42% for 1998–2010 offenses. The most common age ranges overall, and across both time periods, were 21–24 and 25–29.
  • Seventy-two percent of IROs were committed by British nationals or individuals holding dual British nationality. There was almost no difference between the earlier and later time periods (72% and 71% respectively).
  • More than half (52%) of IROs were committed by individuals of South Asian ancestry, i.e., British-Pakistanis (25%) and British-Bangladeshis (8%). Other offenders had family ties to countries in Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean.
  • Forty-seven percent of IROs were committed by individuals who were born in the UK. More than a third (38%) of those born outside of the UK or of unspecified birthplace were raised (at some point before the age of 18) in the UK. As a result, 67% of IROs were committed by individuals who were either born or raised in the UK.
  • London was the place of residence of 43% of IROs, followed by West Midlands, with 18%. Of the latter, 80% (14% overall) were in Birmingham. The third most common region was North West England, with 10% of IROs. Together these three regions contained the residences in almost three-quarters (72%) of cases. No other region contained 10% of residences.
  • Across both time periods, East London was home to half (50%) of London-based offenders, while the three most common boroughs — Tower Hamlets, Newham and Waltham Forest — contained the offenders’ residence in 38% of all Londoner IROs (and 16% overall).
  • Just over a quarter (26%) of individuals who committed IROs had some form of higher education. More than a third (36%) had studied for or achieved secondary level, further education or vocational qualifications, while in 38% of cases, attainment is unspecified.
  • Thirty-five percent of IROs were committed by individuals in employment; a further 12% were full-time students. Therefore, almost half (47%) of IROs were committed by those in either employment or education.
  • Thirty-eight percent of IROs were committed by individuals who were unemployed. Of these, almost one-quarter (24%, 9% overall) were in or had recently been released from detention or had recently left full-time education or returned from months-long foreign travel.
  • Sixteen percent of IROs were committed by individuals known to have converted to Islam. This is more than four times higher than the estimated proportion of converts among the Muslim population at the national level.
  • More than half (55%) of IROs were committed by individuals either living with family, such as with a partner and/or children (28%), or living at their family home, such as with parents and siblings (27%).
  • One in five IROs (21%) was committed by an individual whose living arrangements and family circumstances were additionally linked to terrorism or a terrorism investigation. In 55% of these cases, individuals were convicted alongside relatives and/or a partner or they were part of the same cell.
  • Female offenders were more than twice as likely as male offenders to be living with a partner, relative or individual who is also involved in terrorism (50% and 19% respectively).
  • Seventy-six percent of IROs were committed by individuals who were previously known to the authorities; 38% were committed by individuals with previous criminal convictions. More than a third (36%, 9% overall) of previous convictions were for extremism- or terrorism-related activities; almost half (46%, 12% overall) of individuals with prior convictions had previously received a prison sentence.
  • A total of 386 charges were successfully prosecuted in 264 convictions between 1998 and 2015. The most common offenses were preparation for acts of terrorism (27%) and possession/collection of information useful for terrorism (14%), followed by fundraising offenses (8%), dissemination of terrorist publications and conspiracy to murder (both 6%) as well as conspiracy to cause explosions and assisting offenders (both 5%).
  • More than two-thirds (69%) of IROs were secured under terrorism legislation; just over half (54%) of defendants pled guilty. 2011–2015 defendants pled guilty (64%) more often than 1998–2010 defendants (47%).
  • The most common sentence was between one year and four years (35%), followed by sentences of between four years and ten years (27%), between ten years and 20 years (15%), and life sentences (13%).
  • Of the 33 individuals with a life sentence, 30 attempted or planned to kill others, either in indiscriminate bomb attacks or targeted knife attacks, and received minimum terms ranging from 14 years to life.
  • Individuals who committed, attempted or were planning attacks were responsible for 37% of IROs. Among these offenses, bombing was the most commonly featured type of attack (74%). Proportionally, offenses involving beheadings or stabbings increased eleven-fold across the two time periods, from 4% between 1998 and 2010, to 44% between 2011 and 2015.
  • Individuals involved in facilitating acts of terrorism, either by fundraising or recruiting or by providing material goods or documentation, or ideologues who encouraged terrorist acts through incitement or by disseminating terrorist publications, were responsible for one-third (33%) of IROs.
  • Individuals who demonstrated an interest in terrorism, but whose plans were not advanced enough to pose an imminent threat were responsible for 18% of IROs.
  • Individuals whose offenses related to travel (attempted or planned) for terrorist purposes, namely to receive terrorist training or to engage in fighting overseas, were responsible for 12% of IROs. Travel-related IROs increased four-fold across the two time periods (from 5% to 21%).
  • Civilian targets were a feature in one-third (33%) of offenses. Infrastructure sectors and institutions, mostly transportation, were a feature in just under one-third (32%) of offenses.
  • Urban soft targets (areas into which large numbers of citizens regularly gather for usual activities or special events) were among the intended targets for attack in 31% of offenses. Military targets both overseas (including British or coalition forces) and at home (military bases and processions as well as soldiers) were a feature in almost a quarter (24%) of offenses.
  • A total of 117 IROs were committed by individuals directly linked to one or more proscribed terrorist organizations. Of these, 56% were directly linked to the UK-based group al-Muhajiroun (25% overall), 24% were linked to al-Qaeda (10% overall) and 11% were linked to Islamic State (5% overall).
  • One fifth (22%) of IROs were committed by individuals who were known or suspected to have attended training camps for terrorist purposes; the majority (78%) were not. Of those with training, most (78%) had trained at camps abroad, 19% had trained at UK-based camps, and in two cases (3%) the location was unspecified.

The report concludes:

“The threat to the UK remains from homegrown terrorism, and is heavily youth- and male-oriented with British nationals prevalent among offenders….

“While analysis of pre-offense behaviors shows that there is no one profile for engagement with Islamism-inspired terrorism, some trends can be identified. Offenders commonly consumed extremist and/or instructional material prior to, or as part of, their offending. Much of the pro-jihadist material accessed promotes ‘them and us’ thinking, dehumanization of the enemy, and attitudes that justify offending….

“Analysis of common sites of inspiration and facilitation appears to corroborate current counter-radicalization policy priorities such as restricting terrorist and violent extremist material on the internet, supporting at-risk sectors and empowering families to safeguard against extremism.”

On May 22, 2013, British soldier Lee Rigby (right, holding his son) was murdered outside London’s Woolwich Barracks by Islamists Michael Adebolajo (left) and Michael Adebowale, who are converts to Islam. Speaking into a camera just after the murder, Adebolajo said: “we swear by the almighty Allah, that we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone… You people will never be safe.”

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. Follow him onFacebook and on Twitter.

5 Years Behind Bars for Infamous UK Hate Preacher Who Pledged ISIS Support

London-born cleric Anjem Choudary riles supporters in 2011. (Gareth Fuller/PA Wire via AP Images)

London-born cleric Anjem Choudary riles supporters in 2011. (Gareth Fuller/PA Wire via AP Images)

PJ MEDIA, BY BRIDGET JOHNSON, SEPTEMBER 6, 2016:

A British court has sentenced radical cleric Anjem Choudary, former spokesman for the pro-Sharia Islam4UK movement, to five years behind bars for encouraging support for ISIS — prompting cheers of “Allahu Akbar” from supporters.

London-born Choudary, 49, and Islamic preacher Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, 33 and also a London native, were convicted at the end of July.

According to a release from Scotland Yard, the two “invited support for a proscribed terrorist organisation, namely ISIL, also known as ISIS or the Islamic State, contrary to section 12 of the Terrorism Act 2000” between June 29, 2014, and March 6, 2015.

Both received sentences of five years and six months in prison, with 15-year notification orders.

During the four-week trial, evidence “established that Choudary broadcast speeches online providing his rationale to recognise Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the leader of the Islamic State,” Scotland Yard said. They said investigators combed through 20 years of material.

“Rahman uploaded a speech that claimed learned scholars would offer allegiance to Baghdadi and that they would support him so long as he complied with the Sharia Law, and another speech where he discussed Hijrah in which he encouraged people to take up jihad and migrate. Finally the court heard that Choudary and Rahman pledged their allegiance to ISIS using Mohammed Fachry, a convicted terrorist, to publish the oath that had been signed off by Choudary, on an Indonesian website.”

Choudary and Rahman were first arrested in September 2014. Also arrested then was Siddhartha Dhar, who jumped bail, fled to the Islamic State and is believed to be the group’s new “Jihadi John.”

Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, said Choudary and Rahman “have stayed just within the law for many years and there has been frustration for both law enforcement agencies and communities as they spread hate.”

“We have watched Choudary developing a media career as spokesman for the extremists, saying the most distasteful of comments, but without crossing the criminal threshold,” Haydon said. “Their recent speeches and the oath of allegiance were a turning point for the police – at last we had the evidence that they had stepped over the line and we could prove they were actively encouraging support of ISIS.”

“This has been a significant prosecution in our fight against terrorism and we will now be working with communities to ensure that they are not replaced by others spreading hate. Communities defeat terrorism, which is why we must maintain the strong relationship between the public and police.”

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UK Equalities Chief Who Popularised The Term ‘Islamophobia’ Admits: ‘I Thought Muslims Would Blend into Britain… I Should Have Known Better’

Bradford, United Kingdom – Getty

Bradford, United Kingdom – Getty

Breitbart, by Raheem Kassam, April 10, 2016:

The former head of Britain’s Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), Trevor Phillips, has admitted he “got almost everything wrong” on Muslim immigration in a damning new report on integration, segregation, and how the followers of Islam are creating “nations within nations” in the West.

Phillips, a former elected member of the Labour Party who served as the Chairman of the EHRC from 2003-2012 will present “What British Muslims Really Think” on Channel 4 on Wednesday. An ICM poll released to the Times ahead of the broadcast reveals: 

  • One in five Muslims in Britain never enter a non-Muslim house;
  • 39 per cent of Muslims, male and female, say a woman should always obey her husband;
  • 31 per cent of British Muslims support the right of a man to have more than one wife;
  • 52 per cent of Muslims did not believe that homosexuality should be legal;
  • 23 per cent of Muslims support the introduction of Sharia law rather than the laws laid down by parliament.

Writing in the Times on the issue, Phillips admits: “Liberal opinion in Britain has, for more than two decades, maintained that most Muslims are just like everyone else… Britain desperately wants to think of its Muslims as versions of the Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, or the cheeky-chappie athlete Mo Farah. But thanks to the most detailed and comprehensive survey of British Muslim opinion yet conducted, we now know that just isn’t how it is.”

Phillips commissioned “the Runnymede report” into Britain and Islamophobia in 1997 which, according to both Phillips himself and academics across the country, popularised the phrase which has now become synonymous with any criticism – legitimate or not – of Islam or Muslims.

Durham University’s Anthropology Journal noted in 2007: “It has been a decade since the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia was established, a Commission that through its 1997 report, “Islamophobia: a challenge for us all” (“the Runnymede report”) not only raised an awareness of the growing reality of anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic hostility in Britain, but also marked the onset of what might be described as ‘the first decade of Islamophobia’. In doing so, the Runnymede report propelled the word ‘Islamophobia’ into the everyday common parlance and discourses of both the public and political spaces.”

Phillips says his new data shows “a chasm” opening between Muslims and non-Muslims on fundamental issues such as marriage, relations between men and women, schooling, freedom of expression and even the validity of violence in defence of religion. He notes – echoing an article on Breitbart London just two weeks ago which reveals a growing disparity between older and younger Muslims in Britain – that “the gaps between Muslim and non-Muslim youngsters are nearly as large as those between their elders”.

And while he is cautious to note that many Muslims in Britain are grateful to be here, and do identify with role models such as Hussain and Farah, there is a widening gap in society with many Muslims segregating themselves.

“It’s not as though we couldn’t have seen this coming. But we’ve repeatedly failed to spot the warning signs,” he admits.

“Twenty years ago… I published the report titled Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All, we thought that the real risk of the arrival of new communities was discrimination against Muslims. Our 1996 survey of recent incidents showed that there was plenty of it around. But we got almost everything else wrong.”

His comments will come as a blow to those who continue to attack elements in British society who are concerned about Muslim immigration and integration, and in fact may even go some way to shoring up comments made by U.S. Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz seeking to slow down or pause the rate of Muslim immigration into the West.

“We estimated that the Muslim population of the UK would be approaching 2 [million] by 2020. We underestimated by nearly a million. We predicted that the most lethal threat to Muslims would come from racial attacks and social exclusion. We completely failed to foresee the urban conflicts of 2001 that ravaged our northern cities. And of course we didn’t dream of 9/11 and the atrocities in Madrid, Paris, Istanbul, Brussels and London.”

“For a long time, I too thought that Europe’s Muslims would become like previous waves of migrants, gradually abandoning their ancestral ways, wearing their religious and cultural baggage lightly, and gradually blending into Britain’s diverse identity landscape. I should have known better.”

And Mr. Phillips even acknowledges that the mass sexual grooming and rape scandals that are plaguing heavily Muslim populated towns across Britain are because of Muslim – not ‘Asian’ – men. He writes: “The contempt for white girls among some Muslim men has been highlighted by the recent scandals in Rotherham, Oxford, Rochdale and other towns. But this merely reflects a deeply ingrained sexism that runs through Britain’s Muslim communities” – in a nod to those who have long protested this to be the case in the face of political, media, and even police cover ups.

Even left wing columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown told him: “[W]e [liberal Muslims] are a dying breed — in 10 years there will be very few of us left unless something really important is done.”

Phillips comments: “Some of my journalist friends imagine that, with time, the Muslims will grow out of it. They won’t.”

And indeed he lays the blame at the feet of the liberal, metropolitan elite, media classes: “Oddly, the biggest obstacles we now face in addressing the growth of this nation-within-a-nation are not created by British Muslims themselves. Many of our (distinctly un-diverse) elite political and media classes simply refuse to acknowledge the truth. Any undesirable behaviours are attributed to poverty and alienation. Backing for violent extremism must be the fault of the Americans. Oppression of women is a cultural trait that will fade with time, nothing to do with the true face of Islam.”

“Even when confronted with the growing pile of evidence to the contrary, and the angst of the liberal minority of British Muslims, clever, important people still cling to the patronising certainty that British Muslims will, over time, come to see that “our” ways are better.”

In terms of solutions, Mr. Phillips opines on “halting the growth of sharia courts and placing them under regulation” ensuring that school governance never falls into the hands of a single-minority group, “ensuring mosques that receive a steady flow of funds from foreign governments such as Saudi Arabia, however disguised, are forced to reduce their dependency on Wahhabi patronage” and an end to the “silence-for-votes understanding between local politicians and Muslim leaders — the sort of Pontius Pilate deal that had such catastrophic outcomes in Rotherham and Rochdale”.

Mr. Phillips’s comments echo those of the Czech president, and research from across Europe that revealed attitudes amongst Muslims on the continent have hardened. The younger the Muslim, the more likely they are to hold hard-line views, one recent study found.

What British Muslims Really Think is on Channel 4 at 10pm on Wednesday

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