Written evidence submitted by The Henry
Jackson Society |
of individuals involved in Islamist-related terrorism in the UK
(1999-2010) were educated to degree level or higher.
is evidence of students being radicalised on UK campuses or meeting
individuals who facilitate their involvement in terrorism.
of Tehrik-e-Taliban and al-Shabaab will strengthen the state's
ability stop individuals raising money or sending weapons to the
groups or travelling abroad with the intention of training and
fighting for them.
of al-Muhajiroun is ineffective: the group's activities and online
presence continues as has members' involvement in Islamism-inspired
of Hizb ut-Tahrir is not viable under current anti-terrorism legislation
and would likely prove impractical and ineffective.
Henry Jackson Society welcomes the Prevent Review's effort to
seriously engage with the threat posed by Islamist organisations
which run counter to British values.
are internal inconsistencies in the review regarding the future
role of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board, the Charity
Commission and Ofsted, who are not fit for Prevent-related purposes.
1. The Henry Jackson Society (HJS) is a London-based
think-tank founded on the global promotion of the rule of law,
liberal democracy and civil rights. Through its 2011 merger with
the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC), HJS research includes the
study of Islamism-related terrorism and campus radicalisation
in the UK.
2. A significant number of students and graduates
from UK universities have committed acts of terrorism or have
been convicted for terrorism related offences, in the UK and abroad.
HJS's Islamist Terrorism; The British Connections
shows that 30% of individuals involved in Islamist-related terrorism
in the UK were educated to degree level or higher. Of these, 21
studied at a UK university; 16 were graduates; three were postgraduate
students and one had achieved a postgraduate qualification.
3. A 2008 CSC survey, Islam on Campus,
discovered that students who are active in their university Islamic
society (ISOC) were twice as likely as non-members to hold extreme
views, including that killing in the name of their religion is
justified. At least four individuals involved in acts of terrorism
in the UK were senior ISOC members. Kafeel Ahmed of the Glasgow
airport suicide attack was on the executive of Queen's University
Belfast ISOC. Waseem Mughal, convicted of inciting murder for
terrorist purposes, ran the University of Leicester ISOC website.
Yassin Nassari, convicted of possession for terrorist purposes,
was president of the University of Westminster Harrow campus ISOC.
Waheed Zaman, convicted for his role in the transatlantic liquid
bomb plot was formerly the president of London Metropolitan University's
4. In a number of terrorism cases the individuals
were either radicalised on campus or met individuals there who
facilitated their involvement in terrorism. Omar Sharif, a suicide
bomber in Tel Aviv in 2003, was radicalised during his first year
at King's College London after he attended Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT)
meetings on campus. Anthony Garcia, convicted for his role in
the 2004 "fertiliser" bomb plot, attended religious
talks in the late 1990s at the University of East London ISOC,
and became radicalised after seeing a video at the ISOC showing
alleged atrocities in Kashmir. He went on to join al-Muhajiroun.
5. Other individuals met facilitators of terrorism
at university. Mohammed Naveed Bhatti, convicted for his role
in Dhiren Barot's 2004 "dirty bomb" plot, was studying
at Brunel University and met Barot in the university's prayer
room, despite the fact that Barot had fraudulently enrolled. Brunel
University was further implicated by Omar Khyam, the head of the
fertiliser bomb plot cell, in surveillance tapes after an associate
was recorded asking him, "How many brothers are there active
in this country? How many are actually planning things, and doing
them here?" Khyam responded with: "There's a lot of
people who agree with it now, especially at, you know, Brunel
University at Friday prayer. There, yeah, just blatant bro, in
the sermon in front of hundreds of students bro. And you could
see that people were like, they were agreeing with everything
6. While cases such as these are relatively isolated,
the conditions which allow for them to occur are not. Muslim students
are increasingly being exposed to an intolerant, politicised,
and in some cases violent, interpretation of their faith with
extremist speakers regularly invited to address students on UK
campuses. Since 7/7 a wide range of Islamist speakers have either
regularly addressed students, or have been otherwise promoted
by ISOCs. In the vast majority of cases, these guests are given
open and unchallenged platforms, and are presented as mainstream
representatives of Islam. Speakers include supporters of the proscribed
terrorist group Hamas and members of HT (despite a National Union
of Students (NUS) ban) as well as those who: publicly support
armed jihad and the Taliban; warn Muslims not to integrate into
western societies; promote domestic violence and; advocate the
destruction of Israel.
7. Somalia's al-Shabaab was proscribed in March
2010 and Pakistan's Tehrik-e-Taliban in January 2011. The proscription
of these organisations, both linked to al-Qaeda and based in volatile
states of concern to UK counter-terrorism effortswill likely
be effective. Proscription strengthens the state's ability to
safeguard against individuals raising money and sending weapons
to the groups or travelling to Pakistan or Somalia with the intention
of training and fighting for the groups. Aside from membership,
offences that can now be specifically applied are: fundraising
for terrorist purposes; engaging in conduct with the intention
of assisting in the commission of acts of terrorism; and attendance
at or conspiracy to attend a place used for terrorist training.
8. Al-Muhajiroun (AM) disbanded in October 2004.
After the 7/7 London bombings, founder Omar Bakri Mohammed fled
the UK and leading members reformed under successor groups, al-Ghurabaa
(AG), Saved Sect (SS) and later Ahl us-Sunnah wal Jamma'ah (ASWJ).
AG and SS were proscribed in July 2006 for glorifying terrorism.
Leading members of ASWJ were convicted of terrorism-related offences
in April 2008. Following their release in May 2009, AM re-launched
under the leadership of Anjem Choudary. AM (aka Islam4UK) was
proscribed in January 2010. Proscription appears to have had little
effect on the group's activities, its online presence or its connections
to Islamism-inspired terrorism in the UK. AM operates as Muslims
Against Crusades under the leadership of Anjem Choudary.
Islamist Terrorism shows AM's connections to all Islamism-inspired
terrorism in the UK between 1999 and 2010. AM is the most prevalent
proscribed organisation, linked to 18% of all offences. Members
of AM or individuals with known links were involved in offences
relating to: the 2004 "fertiliser bomb" plot; membership
of al-Qaeda; terrorist fundraising; soliciting or inciting murder;
arson; racial hatred; and harassment. There was no decline in
AM involvement following the 2010 proscription: five members were
convicted of public order offences that year.
9. HT is a revolutionary Islamist party that
ideologically legitimises acts of terrorism. However, since the
Terrorism Act 2006, HT does not appear to have explicitly and
publicly supported suicide bombings or terrorist organisations.
Any government wishing to proscribe HT would have to amend current
terrorism legislation, as prohibiting the glorification of terrorism
is not retroactive. While proscription would send a strong message,
it would likely prove impractical and ineffective. Furthermore,
it could engender strong opposition and possibly give unnecessary
legitimacy to HT's West vs. Islam worldview.
10. HJS welcomes the government's Prevent Review,
in particular the efforts to seriously engage with the threat
posed by Islamist organisations which run counter to British values.
Importantly, the Review unequivocally defines what those values
are: "universal human rights, equality before the law, democracy
and full participation in our society". The Review affirms
that it will no longer engage with or fund groups that fail to
support these values. It also clearly identifies the problem of
Islamist ideology as one that "sets Muslim against non-Muslim,
highlights the alleged oppression of the global Muslim community
and which both obliges and legitimises violence in its defence".
However, there are internal inconsistencies, specifically regarding
the future role of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board
(MINAB), the Charity Commission and Ofsted.
11. The Prevent Review recommends that MINAB
be involved in training faith leaders to tackle extremism. MINAB
is an alliance of four Muslim groups, the Muslim Council of Britain
(MCB), the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), British Muslim
Forum and al-Khoei Foundation, who have directly appointed 16
of the 50 members of MINAB's Executive Board.
The MCB and MAB fail to meet the government's new standards for
engagement. In December 2010, MAB was identified in the House
of Commons as "the Brotherhood's representative in the UK".
In February 2010, Kamal el-Helbawy, the founder of MAB,
appeared on British television as a representative from the Muslim
The MCB is closely aligned to the South Asian Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami
(JI), founded by the Islamist theorist Syed Maulana Maududi. According
to a Communities and Local Government document (CLG) from March
2009: "The JI helped to create and subsequently dominate
the leadership of the MCB".
Both MCB and MAB espouse a narrow form of political Islam inspired
by the Islamist parties JI and MB and senior members have refused
to unequivocally condemn suicide bombings in Israel.
12. The Prevent Review fails to recognise the
bureaucratic failures of the Charity Commission and
Ofsted. The Review stated that the regulatory body Ofsted
is "fit for purpose".
However, repeated Ofsted inspections of an educational charity,
the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation (ISF), failed to recognise its
links to the extreme Islamist group HT or that the schools' curriculum
taught key tenets of the group's ideology.
13. Two of the ISF's four founding trusteesYusra
Hamilton and Farah Ahmedwere HT members at the time the
charity was established in 2005 as well as during the financial
year 2007/2008 when the ISF received £113,411 in government
grants. Yusra Hamilton, a member of HT and the wife of HT media
spokesperson Taji Mustafa, was listed as the Slough school's proprietor
in that school's 2009 Ofsted inspection, but resigned from ISF
after the Sunday Telegraph reported her connection to HT
in October 2009. Farah Ahmed, author of the ISF religious curriculum
and Head teacher of the Slough school, was also a member of HT,
but resigned from HT following revelations of the links during
Prime Minister's Questions in November 2009.
The Charity Commission then conducted a regulatory case review
into the ISF. The review stated: "the Commission was aware
that one of the current trustees [Farah Ahmed] was formerly a
] the trustees confirmed that Yusra Hamilton remains
a volunteer at the Charity, they reported that she was no longer
a trustees, having formally resigned on 18 November 2009".
Astonishingly, the case review concludes: "Whilst Mrs Hamilton
had been a trustee on the date the concerns were raised publicly,
as she had already resigned it was not necessary for the Commission
to examine further, the impact of her being a trustee and issues
it may have raised."
14. An emergency Ofsted inspection in 2007 stated:
"the curriculum, based on the Halaqah curriculum for Muslims
in Britain, meets pupils' need and prepares them well for life
in 21st century Britain".
A copy of the curriculum written by Farah Ahmed (obtained from
the ISF in 2006) shows that it mirrors key HT texts and includes
lessons on: the need to establish an Islamist state, or Caliphate
and its pre-requisites; jihad, fighting in the path of Allah,
as a form of worship; how democracy differs from 'our laws' ie
HT's ideology; and the rulings systems of Islam, as defined by
HT, including strict gender segregation.
In this case, therefore, neither Ofsted nor the Charity Commission
was equipped to identify and tackle extremism within ISF.
15. Criteria for engagement: Research,
Information and Communications Unit (RICU) should circulate centralised
criteria to all Prevent partners for identifying group's whose
ideology, trustees, senior members or previous speaker record
would disqualify it from engagement.
16. Civic institutions: A "No Platform"
policy for the groups identified by RICU should be established
across publically-funded institutions. Local authorities should
also establish mechanisms to limit civic institutions inadvertently
funding or hosting such groups.
17. Universities: Authorities should share
information regarding speakers who: may break the law; may contravene
anti-harassment and bullying guidelines; or those whose opinions,
while not illegal, are intolerant and should not be given an unopposed
18. MINAB: the government must
reconsider if it is appropriate for MINAB to take the lead in
training Imams to combat extremism.
19. Registered mosques and Islamic charities:
The Charity Commission should support mosques combating the influence
of an Islamist ideology which the Prevent Review identifies as
one that "sets Muslim against non-Muslim, highlights the
alleged oppression of the global Muslim community and which both
obliges and legitimises violence in its defence". Charitable
status and public funding should be withdrawn for registered mosques
and other Islamic charities which either repeatedly host visiting
speakers who fail to meet the Prevent Review standards or allow
such individuals to become trustees.
25 The first edition published by the CSC in 2010 was
cited in the Prevent Review. Back
For information on all of the above see Radical Islam on UK
Campuses: A Comprehensive List of Extremist Speakers at UK Universities,
The Centre for Social Cohesion, 2010 available at
John Thorne and Hannah Stuart, Islam on Campus: A survey of
UK student opinions, Centre for Social Cohesion 2008, available
at http://www.socialcohesion.co.uk/files/1231525079_1.pdf Back
For more information see Hizb ut-Tahrir: Ideology and Strategy
(Centre for Social Cohesion; October 2009). Back
"The MINAB General Council which met on 10 May elected the
Executive Board", MINAB website, available at http://www
The Pakistani Muslim Community in England: Understanding Muslim
Ethnic Communities in England, CLG, 17 April 2009, available at
For details on the MCB's connections to Jamaat-e-Islami, see "Radical
links of UK's 'moderate' Muslim group", Observer,
14 August 2005; see also comments made by leading MAB member Azzam
Tamimi during a BBC Hardtalk interview, 5 November 2004,
available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/hardtalk/3985403.stm Back
The Prevent Strategy, Home Office, June 2011, available at
See Hizb ut-Tahrir: Ideology and Strategy (Centre for Social
Cohesion; October 2009) pp. 87-88; see also "Schools are
run by Islamic group Blair pledged to ban", Sunday Times,
5 August 2007. HTB wrote to the Sunday Times denying any
involvement with the schools, but did not refute allegations that
Hamilton and Ahmed were HTB members. See "Corrections: Hizb
ut-Tahrir", 22 August 2007, available at
www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/global/article2306117.ece; see also
"Islamists who want to destroy the state get £100,000
funding", Sunday Telegraph, 25 October 2009. Back
Charity Commission publishes report on Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation,
7 June, 2010, available at
Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation, 4 October 2007 (URN 134085). Back
Haringey Council Whitewashes Hizb ut-Tahrir Schools Centre for
Social Cohesion Press Release 11 December 2009, available at http://www.socialcohesion.co.uk/files/1260791158_1.pdf;
scanned copy of the curriculum available at http://www.socialcohesion.co.uk/uploads/1260554937isf_curriculum.pdf Back