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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.
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.
Parliament banned the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS), along with four other groups also linked to the crisis in Syria and Iraq: Abdullah Azzam Brigades, including the Ziyad al-Jarrah Battalions (AAB/ZJB); Kateeba al-Kawthar (KaK); Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC); and Turkiye Halk Kurtulus Partisi-Cephesi (THKP-C). Security Minister Brokenshire said Syria is now the "number one destination" for jihadists worldwide. Abubaker Deghayes, the father of three men who traveled to Syria to fight for al Qaeda-linked forces, claimed that British fighters in Syria pose no threat to the UK. Deghayes is a relative of ex-Gitmo detainee Omar Deghayes, who was deemed a "high risk" due to his personal contacts with senior al Qaeda figures in Europe as well as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, but was released to the UK in 2007.
Prime Minister Cameron warned that the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham threatens not only the Middle East but is also planning attacks on the UK. The ISIS is estimated to have up to 500 fighters from the UK. The government said it has arrested 65 people in the past 18 months for Syria-related terrorism offenses, including 40 arrests in the first quarter of 2014. Also, between April 2013 and March 2014, the passports of 14 people were seized, mostly to prevent jihadist travel to Syria. Two extremists under police investigation, Abu Aziz, an associate of Anjem Choudary; and Junaid Hussain,of Birmingham, have escaped to Syria. Aziz has since stated his support for ISIS.
The trial of two suspected terrorists, Erol Incedal, a British national of Turkish origin, and Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar, a British national of Algerian origin, who are both 26 and from London, was delayed until October. The Court of Appeal recently blocked the government's attempt to hold the first completely secret criminal trial, ruling that while the "exceptional" nature of the case necessitated that the "core of the trial" remain private, the principle of open justice required that certain elements be disclosed.
Senior UK Shia cleric Fadhil al-Milani urged British Muslims not to fly to Iraq to fight the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, but still to offer "every assistance" to those in Iraq who are fighting the ISIS. The Foreign Office has advised Britons to avoid non-essential travel to Iraq except to the Kurdistan region.
Six Birmingham men who had plotted to attack an English Defence League rally in 2012 with bombs, knives, and sawn-off shotguns and were sentenced to jail terms of up to 19 years, with five years of their terms "on licence," or not in custody, lost their appeal for shorter sentences. The Home Secretary authorized the London Metropolitan Police to purchase three water cannon to help "maintain order on our streets."
An investigative report by Ofsted on 21 Birmingham schools found they suffered from an "organised campaign to target certain schools" for Islamist indoctrination, and that "[a] culture of fear and intimidation has taken grip" in them. Ofsted chief Wilshaw called some of the findings "shocking" and said five of the schools would be placed under special measures. Education Secretary Gove said that starting in September, primary and secondary schools in England will be required not only to "respect" British values but to "actively promote" them, and called for a ban on extremist preachers at schools.
Ibrahim Hassan, a.k.a. Abu Nusaybah, and Shah Hussain, both of London, were sentenced to jail terms of three years each for disseminating terrorist material and encouraging terrorism. The two men, who pled guilty in March, had both been convicted in 2008 of encouraging terrorist activity overseas. Hassan is an associate of Lee Rigby murderer Michael Adebolajo. Details of a leaked Ofsted report on the "Trojan Horse" allegations of Islamist attempts to take over a number of Birmingham schools indicate that at least one of the schools has not adequately addressed extremism; a featured speaker at the school was extremist Australian cleric Shady Asuleiman, who has called for victory for mujahideen worldwide and the destruction of the "enemies of Islam."
Mashudur Choudhury, a youth worker from Portsmouth, has become the first Briton convicted of a terrorism offense for traveling to Syria to join terrorists fighting there. He and four other men had gone to Syria at the urging of Iftekhar Jaman, who was later killed while fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. As many as 500 Britons are thought to have traveled to Syria to fight.
Nawal Masaad, of Holloway, and Amal El-Wahabi, northwest London, were accused of seeking to finance terrorism. Masaad had tried to smuggle €20,000 (£16,300) in her underwear through Heathrow airport on her way to Istanbul, where she was allegedly planning to meet with El-Wahabi's husband, a jihadist in Syria. The Foreign Office summoned Sudan's charge d'affaires in protest against Sudan's imposition of the death penalty on a pregnant woman for converting to Christianity.
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.