Sunday, September 7, 2014
Networks of radicals are re-emerging in British mosques and elsewhere to encourage and facilitate Muslims wanting to travel to Syria and Iraq to fight for Islamic State (Isis)
Communities of radicals recruiting young Muslims born in Britain are thought to include preachers, battle-hardened returning fighters and jihad sympathisers. Examples of on the ground recruitment have been seen in Cardiff and Birmingham – amid wider evidence that Britain is being specifically targeted by those with links to Isis in Europe. Abdullah, 19, who tweets as @Jihadwitness – and says that he is an Isis supporter based in another European country – said that Britain was of interest because it has a large minority of Salafis. He was one of the first people to put the video of the murder of James Foley on Twitter. The Salafist strands in Islam tend to promote a fundamentalist outlook, a strict adherence to sharia law and a belief that it is incumbent on believers to fight holy war, or jihad. Abdullah said that he believed active recruitment was now taking place in mosques and other centers across Europe following Isis successes and their announcement that they had established a theological state, or caliphate (khilafah) spanning Syria and Iraq. "We're really excited to come in and join the khilafah. I know many brothers who have said the recruitment has been booming ever since the announcement [of the caliphate's establishment] was made because this is what all these groups fought for for years and years," he said. A steady stream of Muslims born in Britain continue to make their way to Syria, according to counter-terrorism sources. An estimated 500 to 600 individuals are known to have travelled to the country, and 250 have since returned. Anti-terrorism investigators have growing concerns that a minority of those who return might be planning to attack Britain – under the direction of the Isis leadership or in a lone action. According to figures from the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR), Britain has the second largest number of foreign fighters in Syria out of any European country. If the British were smart and sane they would start kicking Muslims out of their country and stop other Muslims from moving in.