The "Where" of Radicalisation
So the question we need to ask ourselves is "why?" Why would a whole family suddenly leave everything behind and go into a war zone. Why would they lie to those closest to them and hide their plans and intentions. How is it that husbands have no idea that their wives and children are planning to become jihadists thousands of miles away. The answer is a belief that they can be a part of establishing a worldwide caliphate; an Islamic State here on earth. So lets break this down and try and make sense of it.
We are seeing a rise of home grown terrorists here in the UK and in the rest of Europe. We are finding that second generation Muslims in the UK are becoming more Westernised and also more radical in their faith. We don't have time to look at the institutions in depth (we will keep that for another post), but we are seeing a growing concern from the government that Muslims are becoming radicalised at UK universities, HM Prisons, schools and even within the very Mosques where they receive religious instruction each Friday at prayers.
Surely the Mosques teach a version of Islam that is in tune with British culture and values. There are at least 1700 Mosques in the UK yet only 1 in 10 are registered to conduct civil ceremonies so therefore the vast majority of Islamic weddings are not legal under British law. A quarter do not allow women to enter. The Deobandi sect control 45% of all mosques and nearly all the UK based training of Islamic scholars. What most Deobandi scholars have in common is a conservative interpretation of Islamic law which, among many other things, discourages any entertainment involving music or television and advises women not to emerge from their homes. In Afghanistan, the Taleban movement grew out of the Deobandi madrassas of Pakistan. We also know that, according to The British Dream by David Goodhart, 92% of all imams come from abroad which often means they have a poor grasp of English. This is introducing a form of separatism among UK Muslims which is adding to an undercurrent of “them and us”.
There are 2000 Madrassas which teach children Islam for up to 2 hours every night. Because supplementary schools are exempt from any requirement for CRB checks, the concern is that children do not have proper protection measures in place. Undercover Mosque which was produced by Dispatches for Channel 4 highlighted this and a range of other concerns.
In the last decade we have seen the number of Muslims in prison doubling to 12,000 which is 14% of the prison population (despite Muslims representing just over 5% of the UK population). In some London prisons the figure is as high as 1/3! Just across the English channel the number of Muslims in French jails is as high as 70%. Just last year the Head of Probation service warned of the risk of prisoners becoming radicalised and committing a terrorist offence. Professor Anthony Glees, head of the Centre for security and intelligence studies at the University of Buckingham has said ‘Our prisons have turned into a state-funded breeding ground for extremism. It is completely unacceptable that imams with extremist views are allowed to preach in prisons.’
So we see a network of radicalization that is working in our universities and prisons and Islamic schools. The government need to wake up and address this undercurrent of anti British subversive teaching which, if left unchecked, will bring a violent clash not just thousands of miles away in Syria and Iraq, but here on the streets of Luton and Leicester and Bradford and East London.