Terrorists and violently radicalised individuals such as Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, Richard Reid, Shehzad Tanweer, Omar Sheikh and Rashid Rauf, born and/or based in the UK are becoming an increasing problem not just for our country, but other nations.
British Muslims and the wider society need to come together to tackle this threat. Luton was identified in 2008 in a leaked British intelligence report as being home to a significant number of Islamist extremists, while the men responsible for the 7/7 bombings met there before going to London. Their leader, Mohammed Sidique Khan, was in contact with a man in Luton known to top British intelligence officials as “Q”, who had close links to an al-Qaida cell in Afghanistan.
But the bottom line remains is how to tackle what are called ‘Lone Suicide Bombers’ people who sit in their bedrooms and may either direct themselves or have others direct them to commit atrocities and justify it via Islam.
On his Facebook profile, Abdaly’s likes are a mixture of Islamic and technological – “I’m a Muslim and I’m proud”, “the Islamic Caliphate state”, “Yawm al-Qiyamaah [The Day of Judgment]”, but also “I love my Apple iPad”. The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet quotes friends who paint a picture of Abdaly as enjoying playing basketball and a good party, yet who had become increasingly angry over the past few years. But the issue remains when people espose extreme views, we need to openly challenge them and get people to think more widely.
The Association of British Muslims calls for a more indepth engagement with ‘all’ groups who have extreme/radical views, simply because we believe this is still the best way to fight radicalisation of the mindset of individuals. Luton Masjid’s director of finance, Farasat Latif, said that Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly tried to present a “distorted view” of Islam. AOBM’s response is rather than throwing out and shunning those with distorted views we should actively ‘engage’ those with such views to dis-engage them from potential violent actions.
Further killing innocents, regardless of who, when or where, is an act against Allah and places the person concerned outside the fold of Islam – no ifs or buts. Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly carried out a criminal act which may have led to the massacre of many innocents.
One of our directors, Paul S Armtrong was a guest on the Nihal show today on BBC Asian Network, discussing this very issue. The show can be accessed here on BBC iPlayer.