For more than 30 years, British jihadis have been fighting under the banner of an extreme Islamist ideology in conflicts from Algeria to the Philippines.
For half of that time, the streets of the UK have been seen as a legitimate target, as witnessed most recently in both London and Manchester. Ideologues made their home in Britain, having been rejected from Muslim-majority countries because the ideas they expounded were considered dangerous. From the UK, they influenced many. In the last five years, the conflict in Syria alone has attracted over 800 British fighters.
Their ideology justifies the use of violent jihad to achieve its aims. Its proponents believe in imposing their interpretation of Islam on others as state law, with no tolerance for alternatives. They believe in brutally punishing apostates and subjugating women. It is Muslims who make up the majority of their victims. [Tony Blair Institute] Read more
Tony Blair institute finds that non-violent Islamist groups serve as recruitment pool for jihadists
More than three quarters of British jihadists have been involved with non-violent Islamist groups before turning to foreign fighting and carrying out terrorist attacks, a report has indicated.
Islamist groups have acted as a recruitment pool for dozens of jihadists who have gone on to join al-Qaeda, Islamic State and other terrorist groups, according to research by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
Researchers examined the biographies of 113 people from across the UK who had joined the jihadist movement, from the 1980s to the Syrian civil war. The institute’s report says that at least 77 per cent of the sample had links to Islamism, either through association with Islamist organisations or by connections to those who spread the extremist ideology.
Such groups invoke their right to free speech but the report argues that the authorities need to take a tighter grip on such preaching. They include al-Muhajiroun, run by the hate preacher Anjem Choudary, who has been linked to multiple plots and attacks and is in prison for supporting Isis. [The Times (£)] Read more