Opinion: UK Cabinet Needs to Stop Making Britain Haven for Extremists

Published July 24th, 2018 - 11:38 GMT
British Muslims waving flag in campaign one month before the May 2015 General Elections (AFP)
British Muslims waving flag in campaign one month before the May 2015 General Elections (AFP)

By Imam Tawhidi and Dhafir Shammery

In recent years, the United Kingdom has fallen victim to Islamic extremism, which in turn has led to terrorist attacks across the nation. The government on the other hand tries its best to maintain healthy relations with the greater Muslim community, and unfortunately, it has learned the hard way that enjoying healthy relations with Muslim clerics does not necessarily mean that you can prevent an Islamic extremist from committing a terrorist attack.

The British government continues to fund Muslim Communities through community grants in order to enhance education and to support activities such as sport and art, hoping that this will direct the activities of Muslims in a better direction. Yet, the never-ending chain of Islamic terrorism in the UK has proven that the government’s plans to end domestic terror have failed miserably.

British Muslims (AFP/File Photo/Leon Neal)

According to reports conducted by the UK Government, the majority of terrorist attacks on British soil during the 21st Century were either linked to or carried out by extremist Islamic Fundamentalists. Within the last two decades alone, Britain has witnessed over 100 terrorist-related deaths, with the vast majority being a direct result of Islamic Jihad.

Moreover, Jihadists and Islamic extremists have taken pride in their terrorist activities and claim responsibility whenever they occur. Therefore, why is it that Islamic Extremists have infested London, and how did we end up with such a situation? Has the west become weak, or have terrorists become stronger?

Returning Jihadis after a mission (AFP/FILE)

Extremists operating freely

Islamic governments along with Muslim-majority nations have raced to place a complete ban on extremist and other Islamist organisations. Saudi Arabia for example, has designated the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizb Al Tahrir and Hezbollah as extremist and terrorist organisations. However, the UK government has granted them the freedom of political activity and proselytization under its democratic laws, even though none of the groups believe in democracy, and instead have issued charters which demand Sharia law and a global Islamist Caliphate.  

The Saudi Press Agency states that The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain have declared a war on extremist groups within their countries, by “drying up their sources of funding, combating their extremist ideology, along with the tools of its dissemination and promotion. They have joined forces to work together to eradicate it, and immunize societies against it. However, the United Kingdom is yet to take such a stance against ALL Islamic Extremist groups.

Even though each of the aforementioned Muslim governments have been accused of promoting extremist ideologies in the past, none of the promotion happened within their own countries. Muslim majority nations comprehend the risk of allowing extremist ideologies to infest its societies, beginning with schools, universities and eventually finding its way into vulnerable families.

While we are busy debating the seriousness of this threat, extremist organisations are developing and working on an hourly basis. A clear threat to Britain’s national security is Hizb-ut-Tahrir of Britain, an extremist Islamist organisation that is calling for the establishment of a global Islamic Caliphate. HT is unbelievably active in recruiting and radicalizing Muslim youth.

Among the individuals radicalised by HT Britain are Omar Khan Sharif and Asif Hanif, whom were responsible for the Mike’s Place Suicide Attack in 2003. While then-leader of the opposition David Cameron urged for the extremist group to be banned in 2007, Jeremy Corbyn argued that “it would "end up entrapping the innocent and preventing legitimate debate."; failing to explain why Islamic governments have raced to ban the extremist organisation from their countries, if that was truly the case.

Former British Prime Minister called for banning extremist groups (AFP/FILE)

Welcoming ISIS Jihadists Back Home

Now that the “Caliphate” they dreamed of establishing has collapsed, thousands of ISIS Jihadists are returning home. A study by the Soufan Center and the Global Strategy Network has tracked 5,600 fighters who have returned to their home countries.

In an interview with Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan testified that over 200 ISIS fighters have returned to London alone, and that he does not know where they are or what they are doing. Yet no Islamic Regime has welcomed any ISIS Jihadists back home. These facts are not only extremely alarming, but also reveal the direction in which the West is heading in.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (AFP/FILE)

Returned ISIS Jihadists are celebrated as heroes by local fundamentalists and extremists. They are not condemned nor denounced by everyone within their Muslim community, and always find an opportunity to preach their Jihadi ideology and training throughout London.

This very month, a returned Jihadist and ‘Taliban Bomb maker’, Khalid Ali, was captured before he conducted a terrorist attack in London’s Westminister. In his own words, he wanted to “deliver a message to British leaders” that “I would consider myself as a mujahid [Islamic warrior],”. He continued by assuring the world that “Jihad is what we do … and I am here to let you know the reason why I have come with the message, for you to make the right decisions, if not … we have a lot of time. UK is next on the list.”

Notice how terrorists such as Khalid always use plurals, “we” instead of ‘I’. That is because there are hundreds of extremists like him in London, and their development is aided by certain factors, mainly the Jihadi atmosphere which surrounds them; influenced by weekly hate-filled Friday sermons and a similar daily dose on social media.

Islamic terrorism is merely a tactic to implement and give life to the extremist ideologies terrorists adhere to. They believe that Islam must be placed at the centre of an individual’s identity, as either the overriding or the only source of that identity. Their view divides this world into two distinct spheres: ‘Muslims’ and ‘the rest’.

End of Terrorism

There are many State and non-State actors influencing Islamic extremism, such as Iran and the international media, that are playing a vital role in feeding terrorism to achieve political goals. Wahhabism and Salafism Madrasas throughout the United Kingdom still teach the ideology of “Takfir” and “Infidelity”, through teachers and scholars who have been trained, educated and financed by Iran and Saudi Arabia. A country such as Britain used to be an idol country for the majority of countries around the globe, however today, it is struggling in its battle against the spread of Islamic extremism, due to its incomplete understanding of the matter.

Terrorism will not end by long range missiles nor by occupying rogue states, as such tactics will increase hatred towards the West and will increase sympathy towards extremists among the general population. Terrorism will end when the West adopts severe measures to change their educational systems to nurture a peaceful generation, and to prevent “fatwas” of “Takfir” and “infidelity”. Islamic terrorism has to be defeated in an ideological battle, rather than by force. Simply because what we define as ‘terrorism’, is considered a ‘noble duty’ by the extremists.  


The views expressed in this piece reflect on those of the authors and not of Al Bawaba.

Imam Tawhidi is an Australian Muslim Scholar, Thinker, and one of the main leading voices of Islamic reform who has dedicated his life to ideologically tackling the spread of Islamic Extremism. He is the President of the Islamic Association of South Australia, and is heavily involved in interfaith diplomacy.

Dhafir Shammery is an Intelligence and Counter Terrorism Analyst and Consultant. He is also a Human Investigation Management Trainer with over 20 years’ experience in security solutions, predictable analysis and contracts management. He holds a Master's degree in Policing, Intelligence and Counterterrorism.


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