New statistics in Britain showed that in the year to March 2017, police arrested 304 people for terrorism-related offenses, a 20 percent increase compared to the previous 12 months. Together with those held since March, the total arrests in 2017 may exceed the previous record of 315, set in 2015.
But according to the country’s most prominent Muslim lawyer, Islamist groups in Britain are undermining the fight against terrorism by spreading “myths” about the government’s key anti-radicalisation policy, called the Prevent strategy.
Nazir Afzal, a former chief crown prosecutor, warned that an “industry” of Muslim groups was spreading misinformation about Prevent.
Afzal, who prosecuted the Rochdale sex-grooming gang, condemned the “self-appointed” community leaders who continuously present Muslims “as victims and not as those who are potentially becoming radicals”.
Four of the Rochdale gang members had their citizenship appeals granted earlier this year, having cited human rights laws in their appeal.
Meanwhile, Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, charged London’s Muslim Mayor Sadiq Khan with “appeasing jihadists” for authorising the march of hundreds of anti-Israel protesters carrying Hezbollah flags through the streets of London to mark Al-Quds Day (Jerusalem Day), an annual holiday in Iran in support of the Palestinians.
Jewish groups were alarmed at the march. At a rally outside the US Embassy after the march, one speaker blamed the fire at London’s Grenfell Tower public housing project on “Zionists”.
“Some of the biggest supporters of the Conservative Party are Zionists,” the speaker said. “They are responsible for the murder of the people in Grenfell. The Zionist supporters of the Tory Party.”
While Hezbollah is a proscribed terrorist organization in the UK, an exemption for the group’s political and social activities means that it is technically legal for its flag to be displayed in public.
The Lebanon-based Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah has in fact wiped out large pockets of jihadist activity in Syria, where fighters loyal to the Islamic State militant group and other jihadist organisations have taken shelter.
According to Deutch Presse-Agentur. Hezbollah’s forces reported major gains on both sides of the border last month, according to the group’s affiliated media station Al Manar, which reported that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s main base of operations had already been destroyed.
The British-based imam accused of recruiting jihadists to fight for ISIS last month, was certainly not a member of Hezbollah.
Tarik Chadlioui, 43, allegedly tried to recruit and radicalise fighters for ISIS as part of a terror cell from his home in the Sparkhill area of Birmingham.
A court has heard that the Moroccan-born cleric, who has been living in Britain with his wife and eight children since 2015, should be extradited to Spain to face terror charges.
He is accused of posting video propaganda in support of Islamic State on his Youtube channel. Also known as Tarik Ibn Ali, it is alleged that he preached at a Paris mosque attended by Bataclan bomber Omar Mostefai.
Mostefai was one of three ISIS gunmen who entered a theatre during a co-ordinated terror attack on Paris in 2015 which killed 130 people.
More than 40 foreign jihadists have used human rights laws to remain in Britain, according to an unpublished report delayed by the Home Office.
The report, leaked to the Telegraph, reveals how lawyers, funded by legal aid, have successfully prevented foreign-born terror suspects from being sent back to their home countries even if they are convicted.
“Among those understood to have used the Human Rights Act to resist deportation including jihadists with links to the failed 21/7 bomb plot in 2005 who were jailed in the UK and subsequently released after serving their sentences.
“Another is an Algerian terrorist imprisoned for funding al-Qaeda training camps but since free after serving his sentence.” The Telegraph reported.
Michael Adebolajo, who together with Michael Adebowale murdered British soldier Lee Rigby outside Woolwich barracks in south-east London in May 2013, is now regarded as the most dangerous prisoner in the British penal system.
A prison officer described him as “violent, unpredictable and a major danger to other prisoners.” He has been radicalising scores of inmates, including non-Muslim prisoners who are said to have converted to Islam and sworn allegiance to the Islamic State. One prison official said:
“Adebolajo spends most of his waking hours preaching his distorted form of Islam to anyone who will listen. He sees every inmate as a potential Islamic State soldier whether they are Muslims or not. He has a big personality and is very charismatic and some of the more vulnerable prisoners will fall under his spell. He is a very dangerous individual.”
The British government has just stripped 150 jihadis of British citizenship, but at the very least, hundreds more are still living in the UK.
UK intelligence sources suggest there have been more than 400 people who have returned from fighting alongside ISIS in war-zones across the Middle East, mostly Syria.
Former Scotland Yard Specialist Firearms Officer and author Tony Long told Sky News: “These are combat-hardened soldiers. They might not be trained in the way that NATO might train their soldiers but they’ve seen more close quarter conflict and more urban fighting than probably most members of the British Armed Forces and you have to respect that.”
Only a fraction of those returning from the battlefields of Syria and Iraq have been prosecuted, as authorities do not have enough evidence to put before the courts. Returning fighters go to great lengths to cover up their jihadist activities.
Imran Khawaja, 29, from west London, is currently serving 12 years in prison after he faked his own death in Syria in an attempt to sneak back into the UK undetected.
Official estimates indicate at least 850 people have travelled to the region from Britain; around half have returned and about 130 have been “killed” or disappeared.