Kim Sengupta: We let radical groups settle in our midst – so this is no surprise

Share
Related Topics

The reports of British Muslims in Afghanistan is, in many ways, a natural progression in the march of the global Islamist jihad and should not come as a surprise.

It was, after all, the West, with the UK and US playing leading roles, which helped create the Muslim international brigade sent to fight the Russians in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden was encouraged to spend his family's money there by the Saudis who funded most of that particular jihad, and, in the turmoil that followed, the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI, propelled the Taliban into power.

The Islamist fighters went back to their respective countries, Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan etc, and some returned to their ordinary lives. Others went on to raise the banner of fundamentalism and some of them have returned to Afghanistan to fight the latest batch of infidels. The most well-known of these returnees is, of course, Bin Laden who went to fight against the Russians in Afghanistan in 1979. In 1990, he was back in Saudi Arabia as a hero, but, two years later, he fell out with the government and moved to Sudan. In 1996, he was forced to leave and returned to Afghanistan to join forces with the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar.

Egyptian-born Abu Hamza al-Masri had always claimed that he had lost his hands and an eye fighting the Russians in Afghanistan. Afterwards, he lived in Britain and Egypt. During that time, it is believed, he also visited militant training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Associates say his injuries were caused at an al-Qa'ida training camp in Afghanistan in a nitroglycerine accident

The UK had allowed some of these Islamists, of various nationalities, to settle in the country. The official explanation was that having the Islamist groups here would allow the security agencies to infiltrate and monitor them. Foreign governments repeatedly complained that acts of terrorism were committed by Islamist groups based in the UK. Mosque after mosque weas taken over in Britain, with moderate mainstream Muslims driven out.

When Muslim communities complained that they were being intimidated out of their mosques and positions of influence, the authorities turned a deaf ear, dismissing this as internal ethnic bickering they had no wish to get involved in.

The 7/7 bombings and the slew of other terrorist plots that followed showed that the security agencies had failed to monitor what they were up to. And the attacks were being planned by young British Muslims indoctrinated in the mosques taken over by extremists because the authorities had refused to protect the moderates.

We are now well aware that the jihadists are prepared to attack on targets in this country. So there is no reason why they should not do so abroad, especially as there are so many opportunities to train and deploy from across the border in Pakistan the state with which most of them have intrinsic family ties.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SEO Executive is required to...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £38,000

£16000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued expansion, an ...

Ashdown Group: Senior .Net Developer - Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey

£65000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A long-established, tech...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Election catch-up: It looks more and more as if we should get used to Prime Minister Miliband

John Rentoul
 

i Editor's Letter: Most powerful woman in British politics

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders