U.K. Should Do More to Block Islamic State Funding, Report Says

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-11/u-k-should-do-more-to-block-islamic-state-funding-report-says

 

The U.K. needs to do more to block funding sources for Islamic State, Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Sub-committee said in a report on Tuesday.

A coalition including the U.K. and U.S. has been targeting IS cash reserves, as well as conducting airstrikes against oil infrastructure controlled by the group, which faces “an increasingly desperate struggle to raise money,” the committee said. Even so, Britain’s contribution is “under-powered compared to our potential,” it said.

 

The U.K. has seen fresh wrangling over its role in creating the current instability in Iraq, that allowed Islamic State to prosper, following the publication of the Chilcot report last week. The inquiry, which took seven years to complete, concluded that Britain’s involvement in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was a failure and was carried out before peaceful options had been exhausted.

 

“The U.K. government is in a position to help Iraq develop effective abilities of its own to counter ISIL finances,” committee chair and MP John Baron said in the report, using an alternative name for Islamic State. “Much depends on blocking access to local and international money-making activities,” he said.

 

British jihadist in Syria: ‘I’m fighting Islamic State and Assad’

Sitting in Syria, and speaking via the internet, “Abu Dujana” told me: “I’m not a big fan of the suicide attack or exploding oneself.” But after giving it careful consideration, the British Muslim convert said he was prepared to be martyred, to kill himself for his cause.

He is perhaps in his mid-20s, has been fighting in Syria with the Islamic Front for the past three years, and comes from “somewhere’ in England. He came, he says, with the intention of giving humanitarian help, but soon picked up a gun. His identity is hidden, the biographical details are scarce, because he realises that by killing in Syria, he risks arrest at home. Yet, still, he could be the British government’s ally on the battlefield against the so-called Islamic State group.

Prime Minister David Cameron believes there are 70,000 “moderate” rebels fighting in Syria – a figure that many believe is an overestimate – ready to face IS, also known as Isis, Isil or Daesh. Abu Dujana is one of those moderate rebels. He meets Britain’s “moderate” criteria on two points: first, that he’s prepared renounce terrorism, and second, that he will accept a post-conflict Syria that includes all faiths and religions.

David Cameron admits it is too much to ask for “ideal partners” in the fight in Syria, and has asked: “Do we wait for perfection?” Abu Dujana sees fighting in Syria as his religious duty – jihad – but says he’s no different from other British citizens who have gone to fight IS and that he should be treated the same.

More than 700 Britons have gone to Syria to fight, mostly with IS, but no-one knows how many have taken up arms with other groups.

Shaker Aamer says Islamic extremists living in UK should ‘get the hell out’

The last detainee at Guantanamo Bay from the UK, who was released after 14 years in detention, has said that Islamic extremists living in the country should “get the hell out”. Shaker Aamer, 48, was held at the US military facility in Cuba on suspicion of terrorist activities but was never charged or tried. He was finally let go in October.

“How can you give yourself the right to be living here in this country, and living with the people and acting like you are a normal person, and then you just walk in the street and try to kill people?” Aamer asked in an interview with The Daily Mail.

“Even if there is a war you cannot kill just anybody, you cannot kill kids, you cannot kill chaplains, you cannot just go in the street and get a knife and start stabbing people. If you are that angry about this country, you can get the hell out,” Aamer, a father of four, said.

Aamer was never charged with any crime nor given a trial, despite being detained for 14 years.

Muslim Council of Britain takes out advert condemning terrorists

The Muslim Council of Britain has taken out an advert in a national newspaper to condemn the Paris attacks – and reaffirm that terrorists do not represent in Islam. The council, which represents more than 500 mosques and community groups across the nation, used a full-page ad in the Telegraph on Thursday to denounce so-called Islamic State and the “barbaric” attacks in the French capital which killed 129 people.

The group also sought to reiterate its commitment to “the values of pluralism and tolerance” and insist that the terrorists must not succeed in turning communities against each other.

The advert, which is headlined Terror in Paris and accompanied by an image of the Eiffel Tower, spells out that acts of terrorism and murder are not “sanctioned” by Islam.

It also sought to highlight the actions of a Muslim security guard who reportedly risked his life to stop a suicide bomber from entering the Stade de France.

It reads: “With one voice, British Muslims condemn the Paris attacks unreservedly.

“We offer our condolences to the victims and their families.

“The barbaric acts of Daesh (or ISIS, as they are sometimes known) have no sanction in the religion of Islam, which forbids terrorism and the targeting of terrorists.”

“Muslims have held vigils and donated blood for the victims. It is not the terrorists who represent our faith but brave individuals like Stade de France security guard Zouheir, who risked his life to stop the attackers.

“We re-affirm our commitment to the values of pluralism and tolerance as the best defence against those who seek to create division and fear.

“The aim of attacks like those inflicted on Paris and other cities across the world is to turn communities against each other.

“As Muslims, Britons and Europeans, we must stand together to make sure they do not succeed.”

The advert was published amid fears of a potential rise in Islamophobic hate crimes following the attacks. Police in Scotland said there had been a spike since Friday. The organisation has already publicly condemned the attacks and helped to organise the vigil for the victims which was held in Trafalgar Square on Saturday and attended by thousands.

VICTORIA WHITE: Britain didn’t mistake Ireland for the IRA. Don’t confuse Islam with IS

Where would we be now if British prime ministers had conflated Irishness with terrorism, asks Victoria White. I might be just a south-county Dublin housewife, but I know more about stopping terrorism than Francois Hollande. I know you can’t defeat terrorists with military might. No matter what war drums you beat, no matter what arms you deploy, you can’t beat terrorists if there is an underlying injustice, some popular support and murderous fanaticism.

I grew up watching The Troubles from over the fence of the border, and reading a history of constant agitation against the world’s most powerful empire. Great Britain could not defeat piddling little Ireland, because of the underlying injustice, some popular support and terrorists with murderous intent. Whenever Britain attempted to crack the nut of Irish nationalism with a hammer, it missed and whacked itself in the leg. Think of the ‘terrible beauty’. Think of Bloody Sunday. Every time the empire put itself on a war-footing with Ireland, nationalism gained in strength. Look at the response to IRA atrocities — such as the Birmingham pub bombings, which killed 21 people — and compare them with France’s response to ISIS.

Imagine if the UK had gone in and bombed IRA bases, about which they must have had good intelligence. Imagine if some of those were in the Republic. Imagine, in other words, if open war-fare had been official between our two countries. Where would we be now? How many more innocent people would have been killed, simply because they were out enjoying life? Where would we be now if British prime ministers had conflated Irishness with terrorism, as David Cameron is conflating Islam with terrorism?

He says you can’t deny “any connection between Islam and the terrorists”, but you don’t need to state the connection, because it isn’t relevant. Terrorism is not an extremist version of Islam, any more than the IRA is an extreme version of being Irish.

Our terrorism was treated differently to ISIS less because it was on a much smaller scale and more because we are next-door neighbours. We know each other. We can look each other in the eyes. That makes dehumanising harder on both sides. If the UK had entered into open warfare with the IRA, she would have had to murder her own people, and people who look and sound just like her own people. But Syria is far away. The people speak a different language and they mostly have a different religion. The deaths of Syrians don’t seem like the deaths of real people.

That’s why Hollande can seek to win popular approval in France by launching murderous air strikes against Syria, which seem about as well-planned as a hurt child’s kick in the schoolyard. That’s why David Cameron can pose as a strong man in the British parliament, saying he will “personally build the case for RAF strikes against Syria.”

The ‘defeat’ of Al Quaeda in Iraq spawned ISIS in Syria, helped by the experience of prisoners from the American Bucca Prison in Iraq: “Bucca was a factory”, an ISIS fighter told The Guardian. “It made us all. It built our ideology.” That is no surprise to anyone who remembers the name ‘Long Kesh’.

How could the Americans have been so stupid as to think their illegal invasion of Iraq could bring stability — even their brand of stability — to the region? There was hardly an Irish person who believed that.

I want to hear the Irish voice appealing to the world powers to step back from war and concentrate on finding this political solution. I want to hear Foreign Affairs Minister, Charlie Flanagan, stating unambiguously that no Irish airport will be used by any foreign power launching futile military strikes in Syria, which will only succeed in forcing thousands more Syrians to knock desperately on our doors. This is a horribly historic moment and Ireland can’t stay silent but must speak up, loudly, bravely, forcibly, constructively, for peace.

Far-right falling for ISIS narrative? Paris attacks being used to target Islam, refugees

Far right groups across Europe are seizing upon the Paris attacks to condemn Islam and vilify refugees. Opponents are concerned the language being used reinforces Islamic State’s own narrative of an epic clash of civilizations.

From Britain First and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) to France’s National Front and Germany’s Pegida, right-wing groups across Europe have used last Friday’s terror attacks to aid their anti-Islam, anti-immigration agendas.

In doing so, several groups have characterized recent events as an ongoing conflict between the West and Islam. Analysts argue this is exactly what Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) wants.

According to retired Foreign Office diplomat Oliver Miles, the terror group aims to incite a Western response they can later define as a ‘crusade.’

“If they can provoke the west into what they will call a crusade they can count on growing support from marginalized Muslims both in the Middle East and in countries such as Britain and France,” he wrote in the Guardian last year.

Since the group began making headlines in 2014, pundits have clashed over the extent to which Islam as a religion can be held responsible for the violence of a fanatical minority.

The Daily Mail

The Daily Mail British tabloid printed a cartoon on Tuesday which many have compared to Nazi propaganda due to its suggestion that refugees entering Europe from the war-torn Middle East are rat-like. The illustration depicts Muslim men and women crossing the border into Europe, some of them carrying guns, with rats scurrying along the ground at their feet. Nazi literature often drew on similar imagery. As Hitler’s minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, wrote in 1940: “Just like rats, the Jews 2,000 years ago moved from the Middle East to Egypt, at that time a flourishing land … In large hordes they migrated from there to the ‘Promised Land,’ flooded the entire Mediterranean region, broke into Spain, France, and Southern Germany.

UKIP

UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage has led the charge of Britain’s right-wing political establishment by accusing some British Muslims of being “conflicted in their loyalties” between the UK and elements within their religion. Speaking to UKIP supporters on Monday, Farage blamed the failure of multiculturalism for the Paris attacks, arguing that mass immigration has created divisions within the UK, France and “much of the rest of Europe.”

Britain First

Other groups have been less nuanced in their attack on Muslims. Far-right group Britain First has ramped up its Islamophobia in the wake of the Paris attacks. At least two Facebook posts published since Friday’s atrocities in Paris question the idea that Islam is a “religion of peace” by drawing comparisons with other ‘genuinely peaceful’ religions like Christianity and Judaism.

Founded by disillusioned members of the British National Party (BNP) in 2011, Britain First is notable for its slick social media campaigns, often using internet memes to spread disingenuous and hateful messages.

Girl becomes first Briton convicted of trying to join fight against Islamic State in Syria

A British teenager who made a graveside pledge to devote herself to the PKK cause has been convicted of intending to join the proscribed Kurdish terrorist organisation to fight Islamic State.

Silhan Özçelik, 18, from north London, ran away from home, took a train to Brussels, and left behind letters and a video for her distraught family telling them she wanted to be a guerrilla fighter and was joining the Kurdistan Workers’ party’s women’s militia. She is the first British citizen to be convicted for trying to join the campaign against Isis jihadis in Syria.

Özçelik, who was 17 when she went to Belgium in October 2014, had been “smitten” by the PKK since she was 13 after watching a film, Comrade Beritan, about a PKK female guerrilla who threw herself off a cliff rather than face capture and died in 1992. She had also visited the Turkish grave of Leyla Saylemez, whose nom de guerre was Comrade Ronahi and one of three female PKK activists shot dead at a community centre in Paris in January 2013. In the 25-minute video Özçelik left behind explaining her decision to her family, she said she had taken soil from Ronahi’s grave and made a promise, which she was now going to fulfil.

The jury at the Old Bailey dismissed Özçelik’s claim that she had invented the PKK story because she was running away to meet a 28-year-old man in Belgium with whom she hoped to kindle a romantic relationship, and wanted to spare her family shame in the strict, traditional Kurdish community. Dan Pawson-Pounds, prosecuting, said the video and letters, in which she passionately described her love for the PKK, her wish to become a militant and “bride to the mountains”, and her desire for her family to be proud of her, “couldn’t be clearer or more consistent” with her long-held ambition to be a fighter and guerrilla.

There was no evidence Özçelik had joined the PKK, made contact with PKK members or travelled to Turkey or Syria before she returned to Britain from Cologne in Germany in January 2015 and was arrested at Stansted airport.

The jury of nine women and three men took five hours to reach a unanimous verdict. Sentencing her to 21 months in a young offender institution, the judge, John Bevan, described her as “a stupid, feckless and deeply dishonest young woman”. He said her sentence was much reduced “because of the highly unusual factors of this case”. She would have to live with the “long lasting consequences of a conviction for terrorism”, he added. As he passed sentence, sobs could be heard from the public gallery where members of her family had sat throughout the trial.

After the trial Commander Richard Walton, head of the Met’s counter-terrorism command (SO15), said: “We continue to remain concerned about the number of young women and girls being drawn into all forms of terrorism.

ISIS Is ‘Failing’ And Becoming ‘Increasingly Desperate’, According To British Imams In Haqiqah Magazine

ISIS is becoming “increasingly desperate” and is failing in its mission to create a Khilafah for Muslims, as thousands of Syrians shun the terrorist group to seek refuge in ‘the West’, leading British Imams have said. The group, also known as ISIL and IS, is “losing” as Muslim civilians flee in their thousands and defectors abandon the terrorist orgainsation.

Contributions from British Imams in Thursday’s edition of Haqiqah magazine will explore why Muslims are fleeing Syria, rather than join the “welcoming arms” of ISIS. The magazine’s editorial highlights that both Muslim and non-Muslim ‘Westerners’ have raised millions of pounds for medical supplies, food, accommodation and clothing for those displaced from Syria.

Haqiqah states: “Now ISIS in their desperation are telling Syrians that they are committing a ‘major sin’ in Islam if they seek protection in the West. According to Daesh [ISIS], this makes thousands of Muslim refugees who are fleeing unspeakable oppression from Daesh, other groups and Assad ‘apostates’.”

Shaukat Warraich, editor-in-chief of Haqiqah, said: “Daesh is failing on multiple fronts, it is becoming increasingly desperate. The mass exodus of refugees has exposed their false claim of having established a ‘Caliphate’ for Muslims in the region.”

Angered by images of refugees fleeing the horrors of the terrorist group, Imams in Britain have written in the digital edition to emphasis their rejection of ISIS. Mr Warraich, added: “A global message needs to go out from every corner of the world rejecting Daesh.”

Shaykha Safia Shahid, contributing author of Haqiqah, said: “Through Haqiqah, British Imams and scholars, will make clear that Islam does not permit the killing of thousands of people, sexual abuse, and the destruction of mosques, churches and other religious monuments. Today, Imams from across Britain have come together to send a clear message. Daesh has no claim and legitimacy to the beautiful and compassionate teachings of Islam; we can see its web of lies unraveling.”

David Cameron tells teenage jihadists they are ‘cannon fodder’

Muslims who travel to the Middle East for the “glamour” of jihad will become nothing more than “cannon fodder” for terrorists, David Cameron warns.

 

The “sick and brutal reality” is that young men will be used as suicide bombers, while women who join the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant will face horrific abuse, the Prime Minister will say.

In a major speech, heralding a five-year plan to tackle extremism, Mr Cameron will say British values are “our strongest weapon” in the battle against the twisted narrative of extremists. It came as Mr Cameron confirmed he was drawing up plans to expand Britain’s military action against Isil into Syria.

UK aircraft have been launching air strikes against terrorist targets in Iraq since September but Parliament is likely to be asked to approve bombing raids in the skies over Syria too because Britain should “do more” to defeat Isil, he told NBC News in America.

The Prime Minister’s upcoming speech will mark a new phase in the government’s assault on the ideology behind the rise of Islamist terrorism, in the aftermath of the mass gun attack that killed 30 British tourists in Tunisia last month. A new counter-extremism strategy will be published later this year, setting out in detail how government will seek to confront and stamp out the “twisted” ideology that justifies terrorism.

The Prime Minister will call for a new drive to promote traditional British values “much more” assertively across the country. “And here’s my message to any young person here in Britain thinking of going out there: You won’t be some valued member of a movement. You are cannon fodder for them. They will use you. If you are a boy, they will brainwash you, strap bombs to your body and blow you up. If you are a girl, they will enslave and abuse you. That is the sick and brutal reality of Isil.”

AP
AP

 

“We should together challenge the ludicrous conspiracy theories of the extremists. The world is not conspiring against Islam; the security services aren’t behind terrorist attacks; our new Prevent duty for schools is not about criminalising or spying on Muslim children. This is paranoia in the extreme. In fact that duty will empower parents and teachers to protect children from all forms of extremism – whether Islamist or neo-Nazi.”

Manuel Valls preaches unity to combat “Islamo-fascism”

Prime Minister Manuel Valls launched an appeal on February 16 for unity in order to combat “Islamo-fascism.” Following the deadly attacks in Copenhagen, Valls stated: “We must not give in to fear nor to division. But at the same time we must also deal with the problems: combating terrorism, mobilizing society in support of secularism, combating anti-Semitism…Islam of France must take full responsibility, this is what is demanded of the large majority of our Muslim compatriots.”

Valls felt it was necessary to conduct “a war” against Islamo-fascism,” “outside, but also inside,” of the country, to combat jihadism. He stressed that every country in the region should act, militarily and financially, including Qatar and Turkey. Monday morning the Egyptian army bombed several ISIL locations in Libya.