Results tagged “United Kingdom”
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The Foreign Office said it is investigating reports that two British fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham were killed during clashes with the Al Nusrah Front in Syria. A House of Commons committee report warned that the number of British fighters heading to Syria has reached alarming levels, and the chairman of committee said "the terrorist threat to the UK is as grave as at any point in the past 13 years." The EU estimates that over 2,000 Europeans have gone to Syria to fight, mainly from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK.
The national head teachers' group expressed "serious concerns" about an alleged plot by Islamists to control education in a number of Birmingham schools. Ofsted, which oversees UK schools, and Birmingham authorities are conducting parallel investigations. Ofsted is now looking at 21 Birmingham schools; and schools in Bradford, Manchester, and east London are alleged to have similar problems. Two female football fans were fined for ripping up pages of the Koran at a Birmingham football match. Lawyers for escaped terror suspect Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed and another suspected Shabaab member identified as C.F. won an appeal against control orders.
The Ministry of Defence stated that five British troops died when their helicopter crashed, probably due to technical failure, in Afghanistan yesterday. Top UK spy chiefs warned that Internet giants such as Facebook and Google have begun withdrawing their cooperation with intelligence agencies' requests for assistance in tracking terrorists and other significant criminals. A media report said that 10 British women, including two teenagers, have traveled to Syria for jihad.
Senior counterterrorism officer Helen Ball warned that anyone who travels to Syria to train or fight, even for the Free Syrian Army, faces arrest on return. Syria-related terrorism arrests are rising quickly this year; already there have been at least 16, compared to 24 in all of 2013. As many as 700 Britons are thought to be fighting in Syria; police are now asking Muslim women to advise family members against fighting there. William Shawcross, head of the Charities Commission, has warned that Islamic extremism poses a "deadly" and growing threat to UK charities. He asked that charity law be revised to address money laundering and terrorism; convicted terrorists are not currently barred from serving as charity trustees.
Former prime minister Tony Blair gave a wide-ranging address in which he called rising Islamist extremism the most pressing challenge of the current age, and said Western countries must face the core ideological issue, "take sides," and support pluralistic societies in the growing battle against those who seek to impose a "closed-minded" Islamist polity. His speech drew considerable comment from international quarters.
The extradition of Abu Hamza deputy Haroon Aswat to face terror charges in the US was delayed until the UK obtains "the kind of assurances envisaged" by the European Court of Human Rights that he will be treated humanely in the US. Some 200 UK jihadists who have fought in Syria are thought to have returned.
The Department for Education as well as the Birmingham City Council have widened their parallel investigations of an alleged plot by Islamist radicals to take over local schools, and are now looking at 25 schools in the area. Former staff at the schools have alleged that boys and girls were segregated, non-Muslim staff were bullied, sex education was banned, and that extremist views including those of al Qaeda were promoted. School trustees have dismissed the allegations.