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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > New Report Reveals that Britain is the Hub of Violent Islamism Worldwide

New Report Reveals that Britain is the Hub of Violent Islamism Worldwide

July 5, 2010

Islamist Terrorism: The British Connections

"Islamist Terrorism: The British Connections will become the indispensable reference for any future inquiry into British neo-Jihadi terrorism."
- Marc Sageman, M.D., Ph.D., author of Leaderless Jihad

"It should inform the policies of any future British government with the resolve to tackle issues which concern most British people."
- Michael Burleigh, author of Blood and Rage: A Cultural History of Terrorism

Five years after the 7/7 London bombings, al-Qaeda inspired terrorism remains the UK's greatest national security threat. Islamist Terrorism: The British Connections, a seminal new report by the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC), presents the first comprehensive overview of the UK's connections to violent Islamism worldwide.

Islamist Terrorism profiles 127 Islamism-inspired terrorist convictions and attacks in the UK, spanning the decade 1999 to 2009. It outlines the links the individuals had to terrorist groups; their nationality and ethnic origin; their age, hometown, occupation and education; which other radical Islamists they were connected to; what legislation the government used to jail them; and much more. The data is statistically analysed to show which trends exist among those involved in Islamism-inspired terrorism.

The report also shows how Britain's links to violent Islamism are almost two decades old – profiling almost 100 other offences committed abroad since 1993 connected to Britain, including terrorist convictions, terrorist training, suicide attacks, and extraditions.

Executive summary and preview


Between 1999 and 2009, 124 individuals were convicted for Islamism-related terrorism offences or committed suicide attacks in the UK. Analysis of the combined total of 127 convictions or attacks – collectively referred to as Islamism related offences (IROs) – shows:

• 32% linked to proscribed organisations – 40 individuals (32%) who committed IROs had a direct link to one or more proscribed organisations; the two most prevalent being al-Muhajiroun (15%) and al-Qaeda (14.5%).
• 7/8 major bomb plots linked to al-Qaeda – Seven of the UK's eight major bomb plot cells contained individual members with direct links to al-Qaeda: 7/7; the ‘fertiliser bomb' cell; the ‘dirty bomb' cell; the ‘ricin bomb' cell; the ‘shoe bomb' cell; Bilal Abdulla's Glasgow airport cell; and the transatlantic ‘liquid bomb' cell. (Only the 21/7 cell lacked undisputed evidence of direct contact with any proscribed organisation).
• Bomb plot cell members twice as likely to have links to al-Qaeda – Just under a third (30%, n=11) of the 37 total cell members involved in the major plots had direct links to al-Qaeda, compared to 14.5% of all individuals who committed IROs.

• 31% attended terrorist training camps – Just under a third (31%) of all individuals who committed IROs had attended one or more terrorist training camps, the most common location being Pakistan. The majority (68%, n=26) of those who attended camps are British nationals.
• 7/8 major bomb plot cells received terrorist training – Seven of the eight contained members who had attended terrorist training camps.
• Bomb plot cell members more likely to have received terrorist training – Half (51%, n=19) of the 37 cell members had attended camps, compared to 31% of all individuals who committed IROs.
• Most likely to be involved in bomb plots – 19 individuals (15%, all IROs) both attended training camps and had direct links to one or more proscribed organisations. Of these, over two thirds (68%, n=13) were involved in the major bomb plots.

• Pakistani links to 75% of major UK bomb plots – Six of the eight plots contained individual members who had trained in Pakistan.
•.Pakistani terrorist groups linked to UK bomb plots – Four senior members – 7/7, the ‘fertiliser' and the ‘dirty bomb' plots – were directly linked to one or more Pakistani based terrorist groups.
• Most common location for terrorist training camps – 55% (n=21) of those who attended terrorist training camps trained in Pakistan.
• Pakistani heritage – 28% of those who committed IROs have some Pakistani heritage, of whom at least 80% (n=29) were British nationals with Pakistani origins.

• 96% of IROs carried out by men – Only five women have been convicted, but none for violent acts.
• 68% of IROs committed by those aged below 30 – Many of the remaining third were ideologues.

• The most common level of education achieved was study for a higher education qualification (15%) – Including graduates and postgraduates, a minimum of 31% of those who committed IROs had at some point attended university or a higher education institute.
• The most common status was unemployed (35%) – However, a total of 42% of IROs were perpetrated by individuals either in employment (32%, n=41) or full-time education (10%, n=13).

• ‘Home-grown' terrorism threat – 69% of IROs were perpetrated by British citizens.
• South-central Asia – Almost half (46%) of IROs were perpetrated by individuals of a South-central Asian origin of ancestry. The second and third most frequent regions of origin are Eastern Africa (16%) and Northern Africa (13%).
• London was most common place of residence – 48% (n=61) of IROs were committed by individuals living in London. The next two most common regions were the West Midlands (13%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (9%).

• 60% of convictions were secured under anti-terrorism legislation – Three quarters of which were under the Terrorism Act 2000.
• The most common sentence was between 13 months and four years – Given 39 times (32%). Sentences totalling ten years or longer were given 25 times (20%) and a life or indefinite sentence was given on 23 occasions (19%).
• A minimum of 25 individuals successfully appealed their sentences; three had their sentences increased by the Court of Appeal; and a minimum of 29 were either refused leave to appeal or unsuccessfully appealed their conviction or sentence.
1. South-central Asia region includes Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Iran according to the UN world region classification.
2. To obtain the full report please contact the CSC

Enquiries: 0207 222 8909 / 07538 248610
The Centre for Social Cohesion is an independent think tank
* The Centre for Social Cohesion * Clutha House * 10 Storey's Gate * London * SW1P 3AY *
* 0207 222 8909 * mailatsocialcohesion.co.uk*

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