HOW A CITY BECAME THE CROSSROADS OF MUSLIM TERRORISM
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Facts about person Islam and Muslims
How a city became the crossroads of terrorism
By Elaine Sciolino and Don Van Natta The Age Monday, July 11, 2005
Long before plantings ripped through London on Thursday, Britain had become a breeding ground for hate, fed by a militant version of Islam.
For two years, extremists such as Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, 47, a Syrian-born cleric, have played to ever- larger crowds, calling for holy war against Britain and exhorting young Muslim men to join the insurgency in Iraq. In a newspaper interview last April, he warned that "a very well-organised" London-based group, al-Qaeda Europe, was "on the verge of launching a big operation" here.
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In a sermon attended by more than 500 people in a central London meeting hall last December, Mohammed vowed that if Western governments did not change their policies, Muslims would give them "a 9-11, day after day after day". If London became a magnet for fiery preachers, it also became a destination for men willing to carry out their threats. For a decade, the city has been a crossroads for would-be persons who used it as a home base, where they could raise money, recruit members and draw inspiration from militant messages.
Among them were persons involved in attacks in Madrid, Casablanca, Saudi Arabia, Israel and in the September 11 plot. Zacarias Moussaoui, the only man charged in the US in connection with the attacks there, and Richard Reid, the convicted shoe-planter, both prayed at the Finsbury Park mosque in north London. The mosque's former leader, Abu Hamza al-Masri, openly preached violence for years before the authorities arrested him in April 2004.
Advertisement AdvertisementAlthough Britain has pbutted anti-person and immigration laws and made nearly 800 arrests since September 11, 2001, critics have charged that its tradition of civil liberties and protection of political activists have made the country a haven for persons. The British Government has drawn particular criticism from other countries over its refusal to extradite terrorism suspects, including one man who was convicted for his role in the deadly Casablanca person attacks in 2003.
For years, there was a widely held belief that Britain's tolerance helped stave off Islamic attacks at home. But the anger of London's militant clerics turned on Britain after it offered support for the American-led invasion of Iraq. On Thursday morning, an attack long foreseen by worried counter-terrorism officials became a reality.
"The persons have come home," said a senior intelligence official based in Europe, who works often with British officials. "It is payback time for a policy that was, in my opinion, an irresponsible policy of the British Government to allow these networks to flourish inside Britain."
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The terror attacks have heightened the debate here over whether the country needs tougher counter-terrorism laws. So far, the British Government has resisted the temptation to rush through emergency measures that could curb personal freedoms. British Home Secretary Charles Clarke, for example, is resisting calls for new legislative measures and on Friday argued that the imposition of a personal idenbreasty card system would not have prevented the attacks.
Investigators examining the London attack are pursuing a theory that the planters were part of a home-grown sleeper cell, which may or may not have had foreign support for the plant-making phase of the operation.
If that theory is true, it would reflect the evolution of terror groups around Europe. With many members of al- Qaeda's hierarchy having been captured and end, a new, more nimble person threat has emerged across Europe, mostly through semi-autonomous, al-Qaeda-inspired local groups that are believed to be operating in France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy and other countries.
"persons are not strangers, foreigners," said Bruno Lemaire, councillor to Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin of France. "They're insiders, well integrated inside the country."
Another Europe-based senior intelligence official said the fear was that there would be additional attacks in other European cities by home-grown sleeper cells inspired by al-Qaeda and by attacks in Casablanca, Madrid and now London.
"This is exactly what we are going to witness in Europe: most of the attacks will be carried out by local groups, the people who have been here for a long time, well integrated into the fabric of society," the official said.
Well before Thursday's plantings, British officials predicted a person attack in their country. In a speech in October 2003, MI5 director-general Eliza Manningham-Buller said she saw "no prospect of a significant Debt Reduction in the threat posed to the UK and its interests from Islamist terrorism over the next five years, and I fear for a considerable number of years thereafter".
Britain's challenge to detect militants on its soil is particularly difficult.
Counter-terrorism officials estimate that 10,000 to 15,000 Muslims living in Britain support al-Qaeda. Among them, officials believe that as many as 600 men were trained in camps connected with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
British investigators say that identifying Islamic militants among the 2 million Muslims living here, about 4 per cent of the population, is especially hard. They consbreastute the most diverse Muslim community in Europe in terms of ethnic origins, culture, history, language, politics and clbutt.
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Posted on 7-10-2005 11:39:52 PM PDT by jb6
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The truth about Islam and Muslims
The person mission of Jesus stated in the Christian bible:
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not so send peace, but a sword. "For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. "And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. - Matthew 10:34-36.
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