Results tagged “United Kingdom”
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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.
Amid reports that 500 Britons are now fighting abroad with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, Sir Peter Fahy, the police lead for the government's anti-radicalization Prevent program, said parents, not police, are responsible for the actions of young Muslims who turn to extremism. The Home Office is planning to ban the Islamic Dawah Association, an extremist group based in Wales that is considered to be a front for the banned group Al Muhajiroun; other banned groups in the UK include Need4Khilafah and The Shariah Project. Community groups in Cardiff joined together to denounce Islamic extremism. Three water cannon ordered by London's mayor are due to arrive next week.
Home Secretary May said "many hundreds" of Britons have traveled to fight in the ranks of Syrian rebels and "some will represent a real danger to us." Ensuring that security forces have stronger Internet surveillance powers is now "a question of life and death, a matter of national security," she said. The father of Ali Kalantar, of Coventry, who is believed to be fighting with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham in Syria, said his son was radicalized at a local mosque. Humza Yousaf, Scottish government minister for external affairs, acknowledged "the enormity of the challenge" of addressing radicalization in the UK and abroad. Due to government pressure, some 15,000 items promoting jihad have been taken down from the Internet since December 2013.
A man appearing in a recent ISIS recruiting video has been identified as Raqib, a Bangladeshi from Aberdeen. Police, intelligence, and local Muslim communities have said that there is a problem of Islamic radicalization in Cardiff, the city where the other two jihadists in the video came from. Labour MP Khalid Mahmood claimed that as many as 2,000 Britons may have been recruited by extremists. Lord Carlisle, a former independent reviewer of terrorism laws, echoed the assessment of former MI6 counterterrorism director Richard Barrett that UK authorities will not be able to track all returning British jihadists, and recommended reintroducing measures like the "control orders" that were scrapped in 2011.
An Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham recruitment video surfaced, featuring three Britons and two Australians calling for Westerners to come to Iraq and Syria for jihad; UK counterterrorism officials were working to get the video taken offline. MI5 has now made tracking British jihadists in Syria its top priority. The counterterrorism chief for the Kurdistan Regional Government said ISIS is likely to use its surviving British jihadists to mount attacks against the UK; he also claimed that KRG intelligence told the US and Iraq in January that ISIS was planning to seize Mosul and advance on Baghdad but the warnings were ignored.