LONDON, Sept. 2 -- Authorities arrested 16 people early Saturday in two unrelated anti-terrorism operations in London and Manchester, reflecting growing concern over the threat of homegrown Islamic extremism in Britain.
The larger operation, in London, resulted in the arrests of 14 suspects, including some who were seized when police raided a Chinese restaurant south of the Thames River. Scores of police officers backed by helicopters also searched the 54-acre grounds of an Islamic school in a village southeast of London.
The authroies say the groups in London and Manchester are unrelated to each other and unrelated to the group arrested for plotting to blow up passenger airplanes with liquid explosives.
The guy in charge of Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist Branch in London, Peter Clarke, told a BBC interviewer that British authorities are watching thousands of Muslims as potential supporters of terrorism.
Asked roughly how many people in the UK police were looking at in the belief that they may be involved directly or indirectly in terrorism, Mr Clarke said: "I don't want to go down the numbers game, I don't think it's helpful.
"All I can say is that our knowledge is increasing and certainly in terms of broad description, the numbers of people who we have to be interested in are into the thousands."
When pressed further on the figure, he added: "As I say, that includes a whole range of people, not just terrorists, not just attackers, but the people who might be tempted to support or encourage or to assist."
Mr Clarke, interviewed for BBC Two’s Al-Qaeda: Time to Talk?, added: “What we’ve learnt since 9/11 is that the threat is not something that’s simply coming from overseas. What we’ve seen all too graphically and all too murderously is that we have a threat which is being generated here within the United Kingdom.”
The figures provided by Mr Clarke are the highest that any investigator has been prepared to reveal in public, and indicate the pressure faced by police and MI5.
His estimates of possible suspects include not only activists prepared to carry out attacks but the extremist recruiters who find and encourage them and the supporters who house them, raise cash and help them.
Watching that many people has got to be fairly expensive.
The 54 acre grounds of the Jameah Islameah Islamic school at Mark Cross, near Crowborough is suspected as the training site used by terrorist recruiters to radicalize potential recruits.
It used the school grounds, which include a lake and an area of woodland, for survivalist exercises. Young recruits had to listen to extremist lectures on religion and politics.
Police are believed to have intervened after intelligence reports indicated a discernible change in the nature of the rhetoric and language of the alleged recruiters.
Detectives believe that while the group was still being radicalised, no targets had been identified and any possible terrorist attack was a long way off.
According to its Ofsted report last year, the school in Mark Cross had only nine boys on its roll, aged from 12 to 15, and inspectors found it failed to provide a satisfactory education.
George W. Bush would have us believe that faith-based educational institutions are automatically institutions for good because they are, well, faith-based. He would also have us believe that Islam is a religion of peace. Never mind that Islam's founder was a military leader and dictator who expanded his religion by conquest and mass murder. Never mind that Muslims are taught all should submit to Islam.
The root problem is Islam and isolation of Muslims from the West is the best defense. No, we can not reform the Muslim religion. No, we can not change its base texts. It is what it is. We should accept it and be honest about its nature when we talk about it. Pretending or hoping that it is something that it is not will not help us any.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2006 September 03 06:06 PM Immigration Terrorism|