Britain should prosecute terrorist suspects, not play shady games of geopolitics

Share
Related Topics

The initial reaction to the brutal killing of Lee Rigby, a 25-year-old off-duty British soldier, in Woolwich last week was to renew the debate over apparent "lone wolf" acts of terrorism. There are those who believe the attack was the latest in a series of terror acts that have a common denominator – the al-Qa'ida-linked group formerly known as al-Muhajiroun.

Founded by the Syrian cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed before being taken over by Anjem Choudary, it was banned in 2010. But it has been linked to one in five terrorists convicted in Britain over more than a decade.

It is little surprise that the Woolwich suspects have been on Whitehall's radar for years. Mr Choudary has already admitted knowing Michael "Mujahid" Adebolajo, as someone who "attended our meetings and my lectures".

Al-Muhajiroun has continued to function with impunity, most recently under the banner of Izhar Ud-Deen-il-Haq. According to a former US Army intelligence officer, John Loftus, three senior al-Muhajiroun figures – Mr Bakri Mohammed, Abu Hamza and Haroon Rashid Aswat – were recruited by MI6 in 1996 to influence Islamist activities in the Balkans.

In 2000, Mr Bakri Mohammed admitted training British Muslims to fight as jihadists abroad. That same year, he boasted: "The British government knows who we are. MI5 has interrogated us many times. I think now we have something called public immunity."

A year later, the private security firm set up by Mr Bakri Mohammed in cohorts with Abu Hamza – Sakina Security Services – was raided by police and eventually shut down. Speaking in Parliament at the time, Andrew Dismore MP claimed the firm sent Britons "overseas for jihad training with live arms and ammunition". Yet Mr Bakri Mohammed and Abu Hamza were not even arrested, let alone charged or prosecuted over this.

Proscription and extradition have failed. What we need is a willingness to prosecute. The failure to do so is influenced by narrow geopolitical interests resulting from Britain's subservience to US strategy in the Muslim world. According to the former MI6 officer Alastair Crooke, the Saudis, in pursuit of benefiting mutual US-Saudi interests, have played the role of proxy to the Americans, mobilising Islamist extremists to destabilise parts of the Middle East.

As David Cameron renews Britain's commitment to supporting the rebels in Syria, who include al-Qa'ida-affiliated Islamists, questions must be asked whether Britain's secret services have been compromised by short-sighted geopolitical interests.

Dr Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed is the author of 'The London Bombings: An Independent Inquiry'

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Technical Support Engineer

£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

Recruitment Genius: Developer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Account Manager - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing, ambitious, en...

Day In a Page

Read Next
An investor looks at an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai  

China has exposed the fatal flaws in our liberal economic order

Ann Pettifor
Jeremy Corbyn addresses over a thousand supporters at Middlesbrough Town Hall on August 18, 2015  

Thank God we have the right-wing press to tell us what a disaster Jeremy Corbyn as PM would be

Mark Steel
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future
Berlusconi's world of sleaze: The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM

Berlusconi's world of sleaze

The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM
Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Films and theme parks are just the beginning. Disney believes its control of the now decades-old franchise can bring in merchandise and marketing millions for years to come
Could the golden age of the gaming arcade ever be revived in the era of the Xbox?

Could gaming arcades be revived?

The days when coin-ops were the only way to play the latest video games are gone. But a small band of enthusiasts are keeping the button-pushing dream alive
Edinburgh Fringe 2015: The 'tampon tax' has inspired a new wave of female comedians to reclaim period jokes

Heard the one about menstruation?

Yes, if you have been at the Fringe, where period pieces are taking centre stage