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Islamic Radicals in the UK

07/07/2005 | by Shahar, Yael  

Security experts have contended for many years that the UK is a safe haven for radical Islamic terror networks, which exploit British freedoms to further their goals. Among the factors contributing to the ease with which these groups operate is the UK’s liberal immigration policy, the many flaws in the border control system, and freedom from the obligation to carry identity cards. Britain has in the past meticulously upheld the rights of the individual, including the right of radical individuals to orchestrate the eradication of the rights of their opponents. Such individuals are protected from prosecution in their countries of origin by British legislation that inhibits the extradition of suspects. At the same time, prosecution in the UK, with its large and influential Muslim community, is fraught with risks of internal strife, or accusation of racism.

As a rule, Western security services have been inadequately equipped to expose and thwart Islamist terrorist activity. This often stems from a lack of familiarity with the ideology and thought processes of the Islamist groups, and their means for translating their beliefs into actions. Intelligence gathering is difficult where such groups are concerned, as they tend to operate in small cells whose members are well known to one another.

It has never been much of a secret that an extensive radical Islamic infrastructure was operating on a large scale in the UK; Islamic charity funds, bank accounts, Islamic web sites, and newspapers in Arabic all serve as legitimate and legal platforms for illegal activities and incitement.

Of the 21 organizations outlawed in Britain since February 2002, 16 are Muslim. In the past, these groups have used London as a headquarters for recruitment and fund-raising only, and for all their fiery rhetoric against the West, they have been scrupulous in not actually targeting British interests on British soil. However, as Britain has come to be seen as the primary ally of the United States in its war on terrorism, radicals have been increasingly open in their intention to attack local targets

 

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