Look elsewhere for the enemy within

The devastation wreaked last week in Mumbai, India’s economic capital, has already been presented as India’s 9/11. Terrorism is far from uncommon in India; this event was given prominence because, for the first time, a significant minority of the victims was western. While Pakistan and Islamist terrorist networks allegedly harboured there were the focus of initial suspicion, it was not long before the media started to point a finger at Islamists with British roots; a link strongly denied by the British Foreign Office. The claims echoed the popular fears that escalated when it was discovered that the perpetrators of 7/7 were “homegrown” – a discovery which seemed to shock the country, proud of its multicultural heritage, to the core, particularly as those responsible seemed to be well-integrated and well-educated British Muslims.

Britain and other western countries undeniably contain within their boundaries minorities engaged in terrorist activity. However, the extent of this has been unjustifiably exaggerated as the press runs scare stories about British Muslims’ involvement in “madrasas” in Pakistan, (considered to be training camps for terrorists), or imams from overseas supposedly importing radicalism and infecting a suggestible cohort of disaffected youth in British mosques. The involvement of highly-educated Muslims in terrorist attacks has led to a perception of British Muslims, especially those at college or recently graduated, as an increasing threat to national security and social democracy, with the cases such as the Yorkshire-based Muslims involved in 7/7 and the Muslim doctors’ involvement in the attack on Glasgow airport, presented as evidence.

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Youth can become addicted to extremism

Islamic extremism should be regarded as a potential addiction for vulnerable young people in the same way as alcohol, drugs or gambling, according to Scotland’s counter-terrorism co-ordinator. Allan Burnett wants to introduce rehabilitative measures similar to addiction support to prevent youngsters from becoming radicalised by fundamentalists, instead of sending them to prison. Speaking on the eve of the first anniversary of the Glasgow airport attack, Mr Burnett told The Herald that he wants to develop restorative justice and early intervention initiatives for young people as part of the strategy to stop future attacks. The Assistant Chief Constable of Fife is clear that there will be no leniency for those committing acts of serious violence. However, for young people susceptible to being led astray by extremist propaganda, he believes the emphasis should be on prevention. For that to work, he wants to build the trust of parents and the wider community so that if they come forward with concerns, their children will not be automatically penalised. “One of the things we are trying to do is early intervention, which we would use in other areas of behaviour to put a stop to it,” he said. “Just like any other perversion, the primary people who will stop (radicalisation) are parents. It happens with people concerned about their kids drinking, taking drugs or gambling. It happens right across the board and we shouldn’t be surprised that sometimes parents don’t have the knowledge or the skill to intervene in a positive way.

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‘Young can become addicted to extremism’

Islamic extremism should be regarded as a potential addiction for vulnerable young people in the same way as alcohol, drugs or gambling, according to Scotland’s counter-terrorism co-ordinator. Allan Burnett wants to introduce rehabilitative measures similar to addiction support to prevent youngsters from becoming radicalised by fundamentalists, instead of sending them to prison. Speaking on the eve of the first anniversary of the Glasgow airport attack, Mr Burnett told The Herald that he wants to develop restorative justice and early intervention initiatives for young people as part of the strategy to stop future attacks. The Assistant Chief Constable of Fife is clear that there will be no leniency for those committing acts of serious violence. However, for young people susceptible to being led astray by extremist propaganda, he believes the emphasis should be on prevention. For that to work, he wants to build the trust of parents and the wider community so that if they come forward with concerns, their children will not be automatically penalised. “One of the things we are trying to do is early intervention, which we would use in other areas of behaviour to put a stop to it,” he said. “Just like any other perversion, the primary people who will stop (radicalisation) are parents. It happens with people concerned about their kids drinking, taking drugs or gambling. It happens right across the board and we shouldn’t be surprised that sometimes parents don’t have the knowledge or the skill to intervene in a positive way.http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=C78AD71C990B2A5B793AE89F&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News

Glasgow Airport bomb attack: doctor jailed

The brother of a terrorist who died in an airport suicide attack has been jailed for 18 months for withholding information about the plot. Sabeel Ahmed, an NHS doctor, was sent a chilling email about the mission two days before his older brother Kafeel rammed a jeep into the air terminal in Glasgow. In it he wrote: “This is the project that I was working on for some time now. Everything else was a lie. It’s about time that we give up our lives and our families for the sake of Islam to please Allah.” Sabeel pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to withholding information about terrorism, which carries a maximum sentence of five years. But the tariff was reduced because he did not read the email until the evening after the attack had taken place. Because he has already served half his sentence on remand and has agreed to leave the country, the 26-year-old has been released into the custody of the immigration service to be deported back to India. Mr Justice Calvert-Smith said it was clear from the email his brother sent that he expected to die in the attack, and that his body would be left unrecognisable. He told Sabeel: “I accept that so far as you personally were concerned there is no sign of your being an extremist or party to extremist views.”

Race crime up after terror attack

Racist crime in the west of Scotland had increased after the suspected terror attack on Glasgow Airport, BBC Scotland has learned. Strathclyde Police have released figures on racist crime and a senior officer confirmed that there had been a noticeable rise. Community and political leaders were quick to call for calm in the aftermath of the attack. The force said the rise may have been down to a greater willingness for minorities to report incidents. Between 1 and 27 July, there were 258 reported racial attacks, 31 of which were airport-related, according to Strathclyde Police.

Failed bomb attacks ‘hurt Islam’

The failed bomb attacks on London and Glasgow have damaged public perceptions of Islam, a survey has suggested. An opinion poll shows that 71% of people questioned thought the abortive attacks gave Islam a bad name. The research was carried out for the religious research organisation Theos and saw 1,000 people questioned. Iraqi doctor Bilal Abdullah, 27, has been charged in connection with the car bomb attempts in London and the attack on Glasgow airport.

Travel bans considered to stop Britons from training for terrorism overseas

Criminals in Britain could be barred from traveling to countries suspected of harboring terrorist camps after it emerged that the leader of a 2005 bombing plot against London’s transit system had been allowed to go to Pakistan despite facing minor charges in Britain. Failed bomber Muktar Said Ibrahim was an Eritrean refugee offered a British passport in 2004, a fact that has fueled fresh debate in Britain over border controls and immigration. Ibrahim, 29, was among four men sentenced Wednesday to life in prison in the attempted bombings, which came two weeks after July 7, 2005, suicide attacks that killed 52 commuters on three London subway cars and a bus. Though Ibrahim had prior convictions for assault and at the time of a 2004 trip to Pakistan was charged in a disturbance while he was distributing extremist leaflets, authorities granted him British citizenship and allowed him to travel freely. The conclusion of the trial in the failed bombing came weeks after more failed attacks involving immigrants the attempted car bombings June 29-30 in London’s entertainment district and at Glasgow’s airport.