Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Fighting Terrorism & Extremism In UK Hits A Roadblock

Britian has a severe problem with radical Wahhabi / Salafi / Deobandi Islamists among its Muslim population. Moreover, a report today discusses how radical Islamists have deeply infiltrated the British government and jobs dealing with critical infrastructure. The Labour government refuses to face the larger problem of radical Islam directly, and instead has concentrated on using its criminal laws to proactively prevent terrorism. But that approach received a severe blow today in a decision by the British Court of Appeal. Britain should consider criminalizing the possession of Salafi-Jihadist literature, an act that can be justified using the logic of the child pornography laws.

I have written before that Britain has an extensive problem with its fastest growing demographic, its Muslim population:

Britain has the most radicalized Muslim population west of the Danube. The reasons for that are fourfold. The UK is being innundated with Salafi Islam via countless sources; Britain's multicultural ethic forestalls any reasoned criticism of Islam; Britain has made criticism of Islam potentially criminal by passage of the Hate Speech laws; and, Britain's permissive immigration laws have allowed "radical" Islamists into the country. Polls taken last year show that “nearly 25% of British Muslims said the July 7, 2005, terror bombings in London, which killed 52 innocent commuters, were justified. Another 30% said they would prefer to live under strict Islamic Sharia law rather than England's democratic system.”

Read the post. An article in today's Daily Mail further highlights the scope of that problem.

Islamist extremists have infiltrated Government and key public utilities to pass sensitive information to terrorists, the security services have warned.

. . . The development is detailed in intelligence reports circulated to the Home Office, police and Whitehall officials.

. . . Details of the threat emerged months after the Daily Mail revealed fears that Scotland Yard has been infiltrated by individuals linked to extremist groups including Al Qaeda.

Several police officers and civilian staff are being monitored amid claims they are long-term sleepers trying to gain sensitive information of use to terrorists.

Some are even believed to have attended terror training camps in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

. . . MI5 has warned in the past that suspects with "strong links" to Osama bin Laden have tried to join the British security services and, in January last year, exiled radical Omar Bakri claimed that Islamist extremists were infiltrating the police and other public sector organisations.

College teachers must be "vigilant" in tackling the threat posed by violent extremists who attempt to recruit teenage students to terrorism, ministers said yesterday.

Al Qaeda supporters seek to "groom" impressionable young people and staff should be prepared to tell the police if they have concerns, draft Government guidance said.

The guidance, published for consultation, is aimed at colleges teaching students aged 14 and over, including more than 700,000 aged 16 to 18, and follows similar guidelines for universities. . . .

Read the entire article.

How then, does Britain attempt to stem this tide of radical Islam? Because of its multicultural and socialist ethos, the Labour government refuses to take on the problem directly. Indeed, as I wrote two weeks ago, the Labour government has gone in the opposite direction, burying its head in the sand. Arguably the most effective way to deal with this scourge would be to educate everyone in Britain as to the identity, nature, goals and methods of that which constitutes "radical Islam." It would greatly strengthen the hand of the true "moderate" Muslims and it would bring to bear a free and democratic state's strongest weapons - the scrutiny and opinion of the general public, non-Muslim and Muslim alike. Educated people can bring great pressure to bear against the entire radicalization process, not just the final evolutionary step of radicalization - i.e, an act of terrorism.

One very recent and crystal clear example of the power of that approach - and the wages of ignorance - is the case of Hesham Islam, about which I blogged here. Hesham Islam was a member of the radical Muslim Brotherhood. He also held a sensitive position in the government and took actions that supported the radical agenda. He was exposed by knowledgable members of the public and will be resigning from his post.

But educating the public is simply beyond consideration for the multiculturalists running Britain today. Thus the Labour government is limited to doing what it can under the criminal law. The problem with using criminal law to deal with radical Islam is that criminal law is basically reactive, not proactive. Trying to use criminal law in a free society to proactively attack radical Islam before it culminates in a terrorist act runs into concerns of freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and so on. And that is precisely the situation the Labour government finds itself in today.

Britian's primary legal tool in the fight against terrorism is the Anti-Terror Act of 2000. Until today, the provisions of that act were interpreted to allow prosecution for the possession of terrorist literature if it could be shown that such was likely to contribute to a terrorist act. For example, not long ago, the so called Lyrical Terrorist, a young British Muslim woman, was convicted for collecting articles "likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism". She was a promoter of the jihadi philosopy, penning prose supporting Osama Bin Laden, martyrdom and describing beheadings. In her house, she was found with an al Qaeda manual and the Mujahadeen Poisons Handbook. She never took an overt act towards actually committing an act of terrorism.

But then today there was an appeals court decision overturning the conviction of several young men who had been found in possession of jihadi sermons and literature. According to the evidence at trial, the Judge said that "the men were preparing to train in Pakistan and then fight in Afghanistan against its allies, which included British soldiers." One boy who left home to join the others for this junket left his parents a letter spelling out this intention.

The defense was two part. One argument was that the boys were merely researching their religion and the mere possession of jihadi literature could not be interpreted to mean that they intended to commit a terrorist act. The second argument was that the terms of the law should be construed very narrowly to require a direct link between the terrorist literature and the specific act of terrorism alleged. So for example, a person could not be convicted under this law if the literature in their possession did not specify the means of the particular terrorist attack under prosecution.

The law at issue, Section 57 of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2000 reads:

A person commits an offence if he possesses an article in circumstances which give rise to a reasonable suspicion that his possession is for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism”.

It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that his possession of the article was not for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism.

The Court accepted both arguments in overturning the convictions:

“We have concluded that, if section 57 is to have the certainty of meaning that the law requires, it must be interpreted in a way that requires a direct connection between the object possessed and the act of terrorism."

He added: “We do not consider that it was made plain to the jury, whether by the prosecution or by the Recorder, that the case that the appellants had to face was that they possessed the extremist material for use in the future to incite the commission of terrorist acts.

“We doubt whether the evidence supported such a case.”

. . . Mr Malik’s solicitor, Saghir Hussein, said later: “This is a landmark judgment in a test case over the innocent possession of materials, including books and speech.

. . . Imran Khan, solicitor for Mr Zafar, said that his client was "over the moon" at the ruling. Young Muslims seeking to explore the world of their religion should no longer be victimised, he said.

He said that the Government should look carefully at the judgment and reconsider the current legislation. “This is a good judgment for the Muslim community and the community at large,” he said.

Read the entire article. This is a good judgment only for the radical Muslims who dream of imposing Sharia law over Britain. The Court gave this law an incredibly narrow interpretation that does not seem to comport with the language of the statute. In any event, it has largely gutted Britain's ability to tackle this problem proactively.

What Britain should do is criminalize the possession of - or accessing of - jihadist literature. By that, I mean literature that "justifies, legitimizes, encourages, or supports violence against anything kufr, or un-Islamic, including the West, its citizens, its allies, or other Muslims whose opinions are contrary to the extremist agenda." Such literature plays a clear and major role in the radicalization process. The NYPD documented this in their report, Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat. As the NYPD notes:

Radicalization in the West is, first and foremost, driven by . . . Jihadi-Salafi Ideology.

What motivates young men and women, born or living in the West, to carry out “autonomous jihad” via acts of terrorism against their host countries? The answer is ideology. Ideology is the bedrock and catalyst for radicalization. It defines the conflict, guides movements, identifies the issues, drives recruitment, and is the basis for action. In many cases, ideology also determines target selection and informs what will be done and how it will be carried out.

The religious/political ideology responsible for driving this radicalization process is called jihadist or jihadi-Salafi ideology and it has served as the inspiration for all or nearly all of the homegrown groups including the Madrid 2004 bombers, the Hofstad Group, London’s 7/7 bombers, the Australians arrested as part of Operation Pendennis in 2005 and the Toronto 18, arrested in June 2006.

With that in mind, Britain could justify the criminalization of possessing or accessing jihadi literature using the same logic as that undergirding the criminalization of child pornography.

The justification for the child pornography laws are that they are necessary to protect children unable to protect themselves and who are abused in the process of making the porn. The prosecution of those people accessing child pornography is done on the grounds that they are promoting the scourge by their involvement, whether they actually take part in an act of child molestation themselves or not.

One could make a legitimate argument that no one is abused by the simple process of the making or transmission of Salafi - Jihadi literature. Nonetheless, Salafi and Khomeinist terrorist acts have been responsible for untold deaths and acts of torture, brutality and mayhem both in the Middle East and in every Western country. The objects of these acts of violence are usually innocents unable to defend themselves from the barbaric attacks and they suffer far worse than sexual exploitation. Protecting these victims of Salafi Jihadi violence is every bit as justified as the protection of children in logic of child pornography laws. And given the known connection between exposure to jihadist literature and the process of radicalization, criminalizing the mere access to this scourge serves much the same purpose as does criminalizing the accessing of child pornography.

With such a law, Britain could act proactively against the rise and spread of radicalism in the UK. Given the scope of Britain's problems, it might be the last hope to actually deal with this growing scourge before the next 7/7.

1 comment:

Dinah Lord said...


Good stuff there, son. Your idea of treating Salafi-Jihadist literature like child porn is spot on. Bravo.

Britain is in the soup and I'm afraid we're about to join them. What with probable Dhim wins in 08 and the systematic gutting of our anti-terror legislation as a result. It's already started with FISA and the Patriot Act.

I was struck by this quote:

"Young Muslims seeking to explore the world of their religion (by possessing terror literature, attending training camps, etc.) should no longer be victimised, he said."

Bingo - he's pretty much saying that terror is a fundamental right of their religion. ISLAM.

But we knew that, didn't we? ;^D