How radical Islam is spreading in Britain?


One of the key concerns of the British media, counter-militancy experts and intelligence agencies is the silent spread of radical Islam, which would ultimately pose grave threat to country’s national security. United Kingdom is amongst few other Western nations that allows mega-terror outfit Hamas to continue activities by using their land, while United Kingdom also has been letting pro-Caliphate organization Hizb Ut Tahrir (HuT) freely operate freely in that country. All of us know, British government and intelligence branches take extremist and jihadist threats to the country very seriously. The Security Service MI5, Britain’s national domestic intelligence agency, rates the threat from international terrorism as “severe” and the probability of an attack as “highly likely”. According to MK5, the British government believes that Islamic militancy and Islamic State (ISIS) in particular, present the largest security threat to the United Kingdom.

According to British newspaper The Guardian, the United Kingdom is concerned about homegrown radicalization and possible terrorist attacks committed by British nationals on British soil. This was underscored by then-Prime Minister David Cameron at a September 2014 U.N. Security Council meeting. While condemning the atrocities perpetrated by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Cameron noted that many of those who had been sucked into the conflict in Syria and Iraq were U.K. nationals. Cameron also reiterated that the threat to the United Kingdom from extremists, in particular al-Shabab, Boko Haram, and al-Qaeda, would endure for many years. As a result, the year 2014 proved to be unprecedented in terms of efforts to counteract extremist-related activity. According to Britain’s top counterterrorism official, “[t]he volume, range and pace of counter-terrorism activity has undergone a step-change”.

According to MI5 and UK Home Office, prior to 2000, the primary terrorist threats to the United Kingdom and its interests were Irish republican and loyalist such as the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). But today, ISIS is specifically identified as the most significant extremist threat to the United Kingdom and its interests at home and abroad. In June 2015, an ISIS sympathizer murdered 30 British tourists in an ISIS-inspired attack in Sousse, Tunisia. In December the same year—reportedly in direct response to the U.K. decision to extend airstrikes against ISIS in Syria—a man carried out a stabbing attack against three passengers at an East London underground station. As a result of the November 2015 Paris and March 2016 Brussels terrorist attacks, the United Kingdom expanded Project Griffin in April 2016. The program is designed to train workers in crowded city centers on how to deal with terrorist attacks. The program will increase the number of workers who are trained in terror response ten-fold from 100,000 to 1 million in over the course of 12 months.

Radicalization is a key issue

According to MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, the Security Service (MI5), defines radicalization as “[t]he process by which people come to support terrorism and violent extremism and, in some cases, then join terrorist groups.” The United Kingdom currently faces a particularly acute challenge in this respect. As of October 2016, approximately 850 British citizens have gone to fight for jihadist organizations in Iraq and Syria. In January 2016, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond disclosed that “600 British citizens had been intercepted while trying to reach Syria” since 2012, attributing the interceptions to closer cooperation with Turkish authorities. Even by the most conservative estimated figures, Britons comprise one of the largest foreign elements within ISIS ranks. As a result, about 50 people are referred to de-radicalization programs every week in the country.

MI5 is especially concerned with the trend of U.K. nationals traveling to undergo radicalization in three key territories: Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) for terrorism training; Yemen to join al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP); and Somalia to fight with al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamist terrorist group. On the latter, the former head of MI5, Jonathan Evans, has stated, “It is only a matter of time before we see terrorism on our streets inspired by those who are today fighting alongside al-Shabab”.

British newspaper The Guardian said, head of British intelligence agency MI6 Alex Younger said in December 2016 that ISIS is “plotting ways to project violence against the UK and our allies without ever having to leave Syria.” In October 2016, London’s Metropolitan police revealed that U.K. security and counterterrorism services had foiled at least 10 terrorist plots since fall 2014. In the same period, there were 294 convictions for terrorist-related offences. In November 2014, then-U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May disclosed that 40 terror plots against the country had been thwarted since the 7/7 London bombings of 2005, including “a Mumbai style gun attack, the murder of members of the armed forces, an attempt to bring down a plane and the assassination of an ambassador”.

Notorious Hizb Ut Tahrir in Britain

Hizb Ut Tahrir (HuT), meaning “Party of Liberation,” is an international Islamist movement seeking to unite Muslims under one Islamic caliphate. HuT considers itself a non-violent political party dedicated to peacefully converting Muslim nations to Islamist political systems. HT praises the concept of jihad but insists that it does not use “material power to defend itself or as a weapon….”

HuT’s British chapter (HuT Britain) is considered the nerve center of the global movement. HuT’s operations in the United Kingdom are led by HT Britain’s chief executive, Dr. Abdul Wahid. HT’s spokesperson, Taji Mustafa, engages the media on behalf of the movement, and has spoken at HuT conferences in other countries like Australia. Because HuT is allowed to operate freely in Britain, HuT Britain recruits members by hosting public conferences and panels, and by engaging with the British media on a regular basis. HuT Britain also maintains a website, where its positions on foreign and domestic policy are made available through articles and video.

On both Twitter and Facebook, HuT Britain has amassed more than 11,000 followers. Local HuT Britain chapters organize their own fundraising to support outreach efforts, such as printing and handing out leaflets in public spaces. HuT Britain has also benefited from government funding, including grants to run early education programs. The British government ended this funding program after media reports confirmed that HuT members were using the funding to indoctrinate students with controversial HT ideology, including the belief that tolerance and integration are un-Islamic.

Individuals known to have been in contact with HuT Britain have gone on to join more violent Islamist groups. For example, notorious ISIS executioner Mohammed Emwazi (a.k.a. Jihadi John) was in contact with the group while studying at British universities before he joined ISIS. In March 2019, Oxford University suspended student and HT member Danial Farooq after he attempted to recruit others while claiming “jihad has been made one of the most important duties” and he does not “see it as aggressive”.

Former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron called for banning HuT in 2009 and 2011, respectively. However, David Anderson, then the U.K. government’s independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, submitted a report to Parliament in 2011 recommending against banning HuT as it had not advocated violence. The British Home Office has also ruled that HuT does not advocate violence and that Britain cannot ban the group for having unpopular ideas. The Home Office did concede, however, that HuT is anti-Semitic, homophobic, and anti-Western.

Epicenter of radicalization in Britain

In January 2007, a documentary titled ‘Undercover Mosque’, which presented video footage gathered from one-year of secret investigation into mosques throughout Britain drew criticism from the British Muslims. This documentary had exposed the activities inside mosques, by filming sermons of the imams (Muslim clergymen). Below are few of the quotes from that documentary:

Imam Dr. Ijaz Mian on the subject of non-Muslim laws said, “You cannot accept the rule of the kafir [infidel]. We have to rule ourselves and we have to rule the others”, meaning, he was talking about establishing Islamic Sharia or Caliphate in Britain. This directly went against the British law though, no action had been taken against Dr. Ijaz Mian.

Imam Abu Usamah speaking on the deficiency of women’s minds: “Allah has created the woman, even if she gets a PhD, deficient. Her intellect is incomplete, deficient. She may be suffering from hormones that will make her emotional. It takes two witnesses of a woman to equal the one witness of the man”.

He also said, “Praises the killer of a British soldier serving in Afghanistan, stating “The hero of Islam is the one who separated his head from his shoulders”.

Imam Abdullah el-Faisal: “You have to bomb the Indian businesses, and as for the Jews you kill them physically”.

He also said, “Advocates violent Jihad against the non-Muslims and predicting that an army of Muslims will arise against the non-Muslims in England”.

Imam Dr Bilal Philips called for the overthrow of the British government and democracy saying, “[T]hey will fight in the cause of Allah. I encourage all of you to be from amongst them, to begin to cultivate ourselves for the time that is fast approaching where the tables are going to turn and the Muslims are going to be in the position of being uppermost in strength, and when that happens, people won’t get killed – unjustly”.

Commenting on forcing girls and women in putting on hijab, Imam Al Jibali said, “By the age of ten, it becomes an obligation on us to force her to wear hijab, and if she doesn’t wear hijab, we hit her”.

Imam Abu Usamah, commenting on homosexuality said, homosexuals should be killed by throwing them off a cliff, stating “throw [the homosexual] off the mountain”.

A State within a State

Imam Uzaj Mian suggested the Muslim to live like a state within a state saying, “You are in a situation in which you have to live like a state within a state, until you take over”.

Most surprisingly, there had not been any action against any of these imams. Instead, few of them including the Muslim Council of Britain criticized it as “heavily hyped,” while its Secretary-General, Muhammad Abdul Bari, described it as employing the “dishonest tactic of selectively quoting from some recorded speeches for the purpose of misrepresentation”. The Islamic Cultural Center of London, the UK Islamic Mission, and the Markazi Jamiat Ahle-hadith organizations, all of whom are featured in the documentary, have issued separate responses.

The BBC’s Panorama program, aired on 21 August 2005, had previously studied similar issues at various mosques in the UK. The Muslim Council of Britain denounced the Panorama program as “deeply unfair”. The BBC rejected allegations of institutional or program bias.

The investigation

West Midlands Police launched an investigation, immediately after the program was transmitted, into whether criminal offences had been committed by those teaching or preaching at the mosques and other establishments. They presented their evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service who advised that “a realistic prospect of a conviction was unlikely”.

However Bethan David of the CPS agreed with West Midlands Police Assistant Chief Constable Anil Patani (security and cohesion) that a damaging and distorting impression had been given of the speakers by the program. On 7 August 2007 the CPS issued a statement:

“West Midlands Police have completed their investigation into the Channel 4 Dispatches program ‘Undercover Mosque’ broadcast in January 2007. The police investigation initially looked at whether there had been any criminal offences committed by those featured in the program and following careful consideration by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), West Midlands Police have been advised that there is insufficient evidence to bring charges against those individuals featured within the program.

“West Midlands Police acknowledge the concerns that some parts of the program may have been considered offensive, however when analyzed in their full context there was not enough evidence to bring criminal charges against any individual. ACC Anil Patani for West Midlands Police said: “As a result of our initial findings, the investigation was then extended to include issues relating to the editing and portrayal of the documentary. The priority for West Midlands Police has been to investigate the documentary and its making with as much rigor as the extremism the program sought to portray”.

“The police investigation concentrated on three speakers and their comments in the program. CPS reviewing lawyer Bethan David considered 56 hours of media footage of which only a small part was used in the program. She said: “The splicing together of extracts from longer speeches appears to have completely distorted what the speakers were saying. “The CPS has demonstrated that it will not hesitate to prosecute those responsible for criminal incitement. But in this case we have been dealing with a heavily edited television program, apparently taking out of context aspects of speeches, which, in their totality, could never provide a realistic prospect of any convictions”. “The CPS was also asked by the police to consider whether a prosecution under the Public Order Act 1986 should be brought against Channel 4 for broadcasting a program including material likely to stir up racial hatred. Miss David advised West Midlands Police that on the evidence available, there was insufficient evidence that racial hatred had been stirred up as a direct consequence of the program. It would also be necessary to identify a key individual responsible for doing this together with an intent to stir up racial hatred, which was not possible. “West Midlands Police has taken account of this advice and explored options available to them and has now referred the matter to the broadcasting regulators Ofcom as a formal complaint. West Midlands Police has also informed Channel 4 of this course of action”.

West Midlands Police then complained to Ofcom that the program had been subject to such an intensity of editing that those who had been featured in the program had been misrepresented (creating an unfair, unjust and inaccurate perception of both some speakers and sections of the Muslim community within the West Midlands); the footage had been edited in a way that resulted in material being broadcast in a form so altered from the form originally delivered that it was “sufficient to undermine community cohesion”; and the program was “likely to undermine feelings of public reassurance and safety of those communities in the West Midlands for which the Chief Constable has a responsibility”.

The resulting complaints to Ofcom were rejected by Ofcom on 19 November 2007. “Undercover Mosque was a legitimate investigation, uncovering matters of important public interest… On the evidence (including un-transmitted footage and scripts), Ofcom found that the broadcaster had accurately represented the material it had gathered and dealt with the subject matter responsibly and in context”. Ofcom also did not uphold complaints from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia & the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, from the Islamic Cultural Centre, and from the London Central Mosque.

In a move supported by Channel Four, the makers of the documentary then launched a libel action against the CPS and West Midlands Police. In a statement released for Kevin Sutcliffe and program makers Hardcash Productions said:

“The statements made by both the West Midlands Police and the CPS were completely unfounded and seriously damaging to our reputation. We feel the only way to set the record straight once and for all is to pursue this matter through a libel action.”

On 15 May 2008 when the matter came to the High Court, West Midlands Police and the Crown Prosecution Service apologized to the makers of the documentary for accusing them of distortion and agreed to a payment of £100,000. The statement, released to the media by West Midlands Police, after the High Court hearing, said they now accepted there had been no evidence that Channel 4 or the documentary makers had “misled the audience or that the program was likely to encourage or incite criminal activity”.

It added that the Ofcom report showed the documentary had “accurately represented the material it had gathered and dealt with the subject matter responsibly and in context”. The police statement concluded: “We accept, without reservation, the conclusions of Ofcom and apologize to the program makers for the damage and distress caused by our original press release.” The same statement was later posted on the Crown Prosecution Service website.

Kevin Sutcliffe, deputy head of current affairs at Channel 4, said the apology was a vindication of the program team in exposing extreme views. “Channel 4 was fully aware of the sensitivities surrounding the subject matter but recognized the program’s findings were clearly a matter of important public interest. “The authorities should be doing all they can to encourage investigations like this, not attempting to publicly rubbish them for reasons they have never properly explained,” he said. Channel 4 boss Julian Bellamy said they had had no choice but to pursue action when the police and CPS refused to withdraw their remarks.

The National Secular Society subsequently called for a Public Enquiry into the role of the West Midlands Police and the CPS in referring the matter to Ofcom in the first place. Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the National Secular Society, said: “While the Police and CPS have now apologized, they have yet to explain why this apology was not issued in response to the widespread public outcry during 2007 about their targeting of Channel 4 or even to the total rejection by OFCOM of Police/CPS complaints on 19 November 2007. It had to be forced on them by the courts. The intransigence of the Police and CPS has seriously undermined public confidence in both institutions.”

Despite the court verdicts in favor of the makers of the investigative documentary film, Muslim leaders and organizations in United Kingdom and the West termed it as “another example of anti-Muslim hostility”.

What does that mean? Does it mean, radical Islam, religious hatred and jihadism is not only spreading wings in the United Kingdom, Muslims are becoming increasingly desperate in upholding their jihadist mindset and even making frantic bids of silencing the majority of the Britons – more precisely – the non-Muslims?

What is happening in the British schools?

An alleged Islamist plot, dubbed “Trojan Horse”, seeking to bring hardline practices into Birmingham’s schools, had stoked fears that Islamic fundamentalists in Britain were cultivating a new generation of radicals. The then British Prime Minister, David Cameron, responded by calling on schools to promote purportedly “British values”: freedom, tolerance, personal and social responsibility, and the rule of law.

Muslims have been arriving on Britain’s shores for decades. When British rule ended, Muslims began to migrate en masse to the UK. After many decades when the Muslim population in Britain grew substantially, mosques turned into the epicenter of spreading religious hatred, anti-Semitism and the notorious notion of jihad – more precisely, killing of Jews and Christians and turning Britain into another “Islamic nation”.

In the mosques in Britain, children, under the pretense of learning Koran are practically being indoctrinated with radical mindset and jihadist mentality. From the kinder age these children learn to hate non-Muslims and even prepare for sacrificing lives in jihad for the sake of getting heaven, 72 virgins and unlimited amusements and luxuries in the “life after death”.

Why Britain is harboring mega-terror outfit Hamas?

For more than a decade, Britain (especially London) has been a focus for Hamas’ political, propaganda and even jihadist activities in Europe. Hamas kingpins see their existence in Britain’s “successful”. In fact, in the recent years, mega-terror outfit Hamas, with Muslim Brotherhood support has managed to spread anti-Semitism, radical Islam and jihad and the country already has been turned into a center for extensive anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity.

As Britain has freedom of political action and freedom of speech, which enable Hamas to promote its anti-Israeli activity with impunity and to exploit Britain’s democratic policies in order to spread vicious incitement against Israel and the Jews. They do so despite the fact that the European Union has designated Hamas as a terrorist organization without differentiating between Hamas’ political and military-terrorist wings. Hamas and its Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades are included in EU list, which deals with terrorist groups and entities. Therefore, Hamas’ activity in Britain should have been banned, but the British legal system is very tolerant, and radical Islamic groups operating on its soil, including Hamas, exploit it.

Initially composed of a core of Hamas operatives who found refuge in Britain in the 1990s, it is aided by radical Islamic elements (most conspicuously by the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’ parent organization), along with radical leftist organizations hostile to Israel and the West. They make it possible for Hamas and its ideology to infiltrate British politics, media and universities. Hamas has supporters in the British political system affiliated with the radical left.

In the extensive anti-Israeli activity undertaken by Hamas in Britain, the movement is careful to hide its identity to keep from running afoul of the British legal system and authorities. For that reason its activists and supporters (including those who were formerly Hamas operatives) are careful not to identify themselves formally as Hamas activists, preferring to appear as supporters of the Palestinian cause, identifying it with Hamas’ ideology and policies.

Dirty money & ISIS in Britain

For years, Britain has been openly accepting dirty money from around the world, which has resulted in London becoming the capital of dirty money. A criminal, terrorist, jihadist or member of notorious terror outfit can easily enter Britain by obtaining Tier-1 visa simply by investing two million pounds. British authorities would never ask anything about the source of the money or how it had entered the country. All they want is investors from anywhere in the world, preferably with tons of cash.

Large number of dubious individuals have already entered the United Kingdom with dirty money and few of them are even continuing jihadist activities sitting right in the city of London.

Md. Shahid Uddin Khan and Farjana Anjum had entered United Kingdom in 2009 along with her family by investing two million pounds in exchange of immigrant status under Visa Tier 1, vide VAF Number 511702. This family not only had invested two million pounds for the Visa Tier-1 but also has invested huge amount of money in various businesses in Britain. But, most important fact is – the entire amount was smuggled into the United Kingdom through illegal channel. In other words, this family has laundered millions of dollars and invested the amount in Britain. They also have smuggled-out millions of dollars from Bangladesh and invested in dubious business interests in the United Kingdom. One of their business associates in UAE is the infamous D-Company, a trans-national racket of illegal arms, narcotics and counterfeit currency dealers, operated by notorious criminal and terror-kingpin Dawood Ibrahim. Dawood fled India many decades back and according to media reports, he has been under the shelter of Pakistani spy agency Inter Service Intelligence (ISI).

Dawood Ibrahim controls much of the illegal channels of money transfer around the world. He has strong bases in India, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Britain, European Union nations, Australia, Canada, the United States, and the African continent.

The United States Department of the Treasury designated Dawood Ibrahim as a terrorist as part of its international sanctions program, effectively forbidding US financial entities from working with him and seizing assets believed to be under his control. The Department of Treasury keeps a fact sheet on Dawood which contains reports of his syndicate having smuggling routes from South Asia, the Middle East and Africa shared with and used by terrorist organization Al Qaeda. The fact sheet also said that Dawood’s syndicate is involved in large-scale shipment of narcotics in the United Kingdom and Western Europe. He also is believed to have had contacts with Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. In the late 1990s, Dawood Ibrahim travelled to Afghanistan under the Taliban’s protection.

The crime syndicate of Dawood Ibrahim has consistently aimed to destabilize the Indian governments through riots, terrorism and civil disobedience. Since 2009, at the suggestions of Pakistan’s spy agency, Dawood’s rackets are actively working against the Bangladesh government.

Dawood Ibrahim though is using Dubai as one of the key-bases of his illegal activities, according to Indian intelligence agencies, he is currently residing in Pakistan, wherefrom he heads the Indian organized crime syndicate named D-Company which he founded in Mumbai in the 1970s. Dawood is wanted on the charges of murder, extortion, targeted killing, arms and drug trafficking, terrorism and various forms of criminal cases. He was designated as a global terrorist in 2003 by India and the United States with a reward of US$ 25 million for his capture. In 2011, Dawood Ibrahim was named number three on the world’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

On January 17, 2019, Dhaka [Bangladesh] residence of Md. Shahid Uddin Khan was raided by the members of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of Bangladesh Police.

CTTC, based on secret information, raided House No. 184, Road No. 2, Baridhara DOHS in Dhaka, Bangladesh on January 17, 2019. This house is owned by Md. Shahid Uddin Khan and was allegedly used as a warehouse for arms, explosives and propaganda materials of Islamic State (ISIS). During the raid, large volume of weapons, detonator, counterfeit Bangladesh currency notes and jihadist materials of ISIS were recovered by the CTTC unit.

Following this recovery, three separate cases against ISIS-funder Md. Shahid Uddin Khan, his wife Farjana Anjum, daughters and other accomplices were lodged. The cases are: Cantonment PS, Case no 10, Section-6(2)/7/11/12 of Anti-Terrorism Act 2009 (amendment 2013); Cantonment PS, Case no 11, Section-25-A, Special Power Act 1974; and Cantonment PS, Case no 12, Section-19-A of Arms Act 1878.

Sitting in London, Md. Shahid Uddin Khan and members of his family are continuing jihadist activities and even attracting fellow Britons towards Islamic State.

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Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
An internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, writer, research-scholar, counterterrorism specialist and editor of Blitz. He regularly writes for local and international newspapers on diversified topics, including international relations, politics, diplomacy, security and counterterrorism. Follow him on 'X' @Salah_Shoaib

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