Results tagged “United Kingdom”
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Army head General Peter Wall said UK forces may have to return to Afghanistan "if the Taliban were to be resurgent and al Qaeda was again establishing sanctuaries." There are now about 4,100 UK troops in Afghanistan. A former British judge warned that the social media boasts of British jihadist Reyaad Khan, who has claimed participation in Islamic State executions in Syria, could serve as a basis for prosecution in the UK. The UN's war crimes commission is also "collecting information on perpetrators from all sides including non-state armed groups and ISIS," according to UN official Paul Pinheiro.
Al Qaeda's black flag was displayed by protesters who blocked an east London tunnel last week shouting "Free Palestine" and leaving motorists temporarily trapped. An organization that tracks attacks on the UK's Jewish community noted that antisemitic incidents had risen 36% between January and June, to a total of 304, and that there have been 130 more incidents in July alone.
HSBC Bank notified the Finsbury Park Mosque, where convicted terrorist Abu Hamza held forth, and other Muslim organizations including the think tank Cordoba Trust and the Bolton-based charity Ummah Welfare Trust that it is closing their accounts as they are beyond the bank's "risk appetite." In 2012 the bank paid out nearly $2 billion in a US settlement of money-laundering claims. After being given new evidence relating to the Trojan Horse plot to inject Islamist extremism into area schools, the West Midlands Police began investigating whether any crimes have taken place. Razwan Faraz, the deputy head at one of the schools, was suspended; he is a brother of Ahmed Faraz, a Birmingham bookseller who distributed extremist literature.
A leaked draft government report on the "Trojan Horse" investigation of Birmingham schools found "coordinated, deliberate and sustained action to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamist ethos into some schools in the city." It also found that "extremism went unchecked because the council 'disastrously' prioritised community cohesion over 'doing what is right'." Birmingham City Council head Sir Albert Bore apologized for the council's failure to address the problem due to a "fear of being accused of racism," but noted that governors at the two of the schools schools have not acknowledged any wrongdoing. An Ofsted report stated that a Bradford school did not sufficiently protect students against extremism.
Prime Minister Cameron said new laws to help track Internet and telephone records will be implemented next week as part of emergency measures due to the "grave" terrorist threat to national security posed by extremists in Iraq and Syria. The new laws restore powers that were invalidated by a European Court of Justice ruling last year.
Authorities are trying to track down Zahra and Salma Halane, 16, twin girls from Manchester who are thought to have traveled to Syria; one of their older brothers is said to be in Syria fighting for the Islamic State. Some 500 UK Muslims are thought to have gone to Syria to fight. Regarding an alleged Islamist plan to take over Birmingham schools, Ofsted head Michael Wilshaw told Parliament that school inspectors found the promotion of a culture that could lead to extremism; he said they are now looking at schools in Bradford and Luton as well.
Birmingham residents Nahin Ahmed and Yusuf Sarwar, both 22, who had fought in Syria for jihadist groups and were arrested on their return to the UK, pled guilty to terrorism charges. Although police believe the two fought for the Al Nusrah Front, they had initially said they were planning to join the Emigrant's Army, and both had images of Islamic State flags among jihadist literature on their computers. Twin 16-year-old girls of Somali origin from Manchester are thought to have traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State. In a recent interview in Iraq, Sheik Qais al Qazali, leader of Asaib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous), said that although he was "sorry" for the deaths of four British hostages kidnapped in 2007, he held the UK government responsible for their deaths. Qazali, whose group had kidnapped five UK hostages and killed four of them, was released by the US military in a swap for remaining hostage Peter Moore in 2009.
About 100 British imams issued an appeal for UK Muslims to support those affected by the crisis in Syria and Iraq "from the UK in a safe and responsible way," not by traveling to the region. A news report claimed that in 2012, the UK military was considering plans to train and equip a 100,000-strong rebel army in Syria but the plans were abandoned as too risky. A British jihadist named Abu Osama who claimed to be fighting with the Al Nusrah Front in Syria said he would not return to the UK until "the black flag of Islam" is waving over Buckingham Palace and Downing Street.