The East London Mosque/London Muslim Centre is known for its connections with jihadist
recruitment and hate preaching. (Image source: Danny Robinson/WikiMedia Commons)
"We need to realise that some institutions have wanted to get rid of radicalisers but have not had the means to do so -- so we want to help Islamic centres and mosques to expel the extremists." — UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
The state aims to "restrain dissenting voices and clamp down on normative Islamic belief." — Hizb-ut-Tahrir.
The British authorities, in a ministerial declaration by Home Secretary Theresa May, have announced new government measures to curb hate preaching by Islamist radicals. Deterrent actions were enumerated on December 4 in an official document entitled, "Tackling Extremism in the UK: report from the Prime Minister's task force on tackling radicalisation and extremism."
BBC News, in an unsigned report also posted December 4, under the headline: "Theresa May to 'address gaps' in anti-extremism powers," described the government strategy as including provisions for "Muslim chaplains… trained to challenge extremist Islamic views on university campuses."
Home Secretary May further said the program could include judicial orders banning radical groups; intervention with internet providers to stop extremist materials from reaching the public, and the encouragement of public complaints about such internet content.
According to the same BBC News article, the recommendations were produced by "a taskforce on extremism... set up after the killing of soldier Lee Rigby," slain in London on May 22.
Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, have been charged with the Rigby crime and are now on trial, but deny guilt. Described in the London Guardian on December 9, by Esther Addley and Josh Halliday, in a dispatch entitled "Lee Rigby trial: Adebolajo admits killing but says he was obeying Allah," Adebolajo admitted that he killed and attempted to decapitate Rigby, a British soldier run over by a car before the assault on him. The two men are charged with hitting the victim with the car and then striking him with a meat cleaver and knife.
The Guardian, however, stated in the same article, that Adebolajo said he had acted as a "soldier of Allah," and was therefore free of the accusation of "murder" for his act. According to the Islamist militant, the unprovoked death of Rigby was a "mission" in an "ongoing war" and could not be considered a crime. Adebolajo also declared that he "loved" Al-Qaida, the members of which he called "my brothers. I've never met them but I love them. I consider them my brothers in Islam."
As reported by Cahal Milmo and Oliver Duggan of the London Independent on May 24, in an article entitled, "Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo: The two polite young men that met at university who would become known as the bloodied Woolwich murder suspects," the pair are both British-born, but of Nigerian Christian descent; they became Muslim as adults.
The Guardian on May 23, in an investigative feature headed, "Woolwich attack suspect identified as Michael Adebolajo," with the bylines of Sandra Laville, Peter Walker and Vikram Dodd, disclosed that Adebolajo and Adebowale both studied at Greenwich University in 2004-05. Adebolajo had "attended meetings" of Al-Muhajiroun, an extremist group banned by the British state in 2010.
The same report also revealed that the Adebolajo and Adebowale "featured in counter-terrorism investigations over the last eight years." But, according to the newspaper, it was "understood that, while they were known to the police and security services, they were considered peripheral figures among the many extremists whose activities cross the radar of investigators."
BBC News, in an earlier unsigned report, "Islam4UK Islamist group banned under terror laws," on the prohibition of Al-Muhajiroun, posted on January 12, 2010, when the ruling was announced, said that Al-Muhajiroun had adopted a new title: "Islam 4UK." The name-changing Islamists, however, were shut down under Britain's 2000 Terrorism Act.
In the context of previous lax policies toward men such as Adebolajo and Adebowale, their shared university experience, and the role of Al-Muhajiroun, the UK government task force was formed to "close gaps" in the official British response to radical Islam. The new government plan includes strengthening the powers of the UK Charity Commission, which regulates religious and other charities, to stop hateful preaching, according to BBC News.
The same BBC News account stated, "There will be a public consultation on some of [the government's] recommendations, including whether the home secretary should have new powers to ban groups which preach hatred – if that is what the police advise. And the government will consult on whether people who attempt to spread extremist views should be banned from getting in touch with those who they are seeking to radicalise and whether they should be prevented from entering certain premises, such as schools or colleges."
In contrast to the U.S., where hate preachers and radical ideologues can appeal to the constitutional protection of free speech, Britain has hate-speech laws that treat radical indoctrination and organizing as incitement to terrorism.
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December 18, 2013