v6n3_4_kfir - Islamic Radicalism in Britain Isaac Kfir*...

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100 Islamic Radicalism in Britain Isaac Kfir* Abstract The paper explores some of the reasons behind the rise in Islamic radicalism in the United Kingdom. The author seeks to suggest some ideas as to how the government and British society best deal with this worrying trend. Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller announcement that the British security services are stretched to the limit in dealing with Islamic terror plots emphasised the great challenge of combating Islamist 1 militancy in the UK. Dame Manningham-Buller, the head of MI5, claimed that her organisation has identified 200 terrorist networks involving at least 1,600 people and 30 “Priority 1” plots to kill. It followed a statement by a senior Foreign Office counter-terrorism expert who when asked if al-Qa’ida was seeking nuclear technology to attack the West and Britain replied “No doubt at all… We know the aspiration is there, we know the attempt to get material is there, we know the attempt to get technology is there.” 2 Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, commenting on the transatlantic airline bomb plot stated that "the apparent speed with which young, reasonably affluent, some reasonably well educated British-born people” became not only radicalise but also willing to commit mass murders through suicide attacks in worrying. 3 Significantly Manningham-Buller made it clear
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101 that due to the nature of al-Qa'ida, the challenge faced by the security forces is substantial as seen with the Barot case, where the plot maybe forged in one part of the globe, approved in another and executed somewhere else. 4 Overall, it is apparent that Britain is a key target of Islamic terrorism. 5 Consequently, there has been a call to toughen up anti-terrorism laws, 6 a move likely to be resisted by civil libertarians and Muslims already claiming that Britain has far too stringent anti-terrorism measures. The paper aims to explore the challenges faced by British Muslim, provide some ideas as to why young British Muslims feel alienated from mainstream British society and suggest some possible solutions to deal with growing British- based Islamic militancy. The paper accepts that British involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan has fuelled tensions in British society but ultimately if it was not Iraq and Afghanistan, Islamists would find another cause – Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya or any other place which Islamists feel that their brethrens are persecuted – as cause bellie in the their quest for the promised caliphate. Ultimately, the problem lies with the Islamists message which appears to appeal to young British Muslims and it is that on which the British government and community leaders need to focus on. The Quandary Faced by British Muslim
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v6n3_4_kfir - Islamic Radicalism in Britain Isaac Kfir*...

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