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National

March 29, 2013
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45pc ‘home-grown’ UK Jihadis have visited Pakistan: seminar

National

March 29, 2013

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LONDON: According to various academics and experts, 45% of those involved in terrorism or radicalism from the UK have travelled to Pakistan or Afghanistan for training in violent Jihadi camps.
Although, the threat of terrorism has reduced overall in the world, the overwhelming feeling is that it could still explode any time in a single event, experts on radicalisation and counter-terrorism stated at the Democracy Forum’s seminar on home-grown terrorism at the Commonwealth Club, London.
The seminar was inaugurated by Peter Luff, MP, and chaired by Dr William Crawley. Dr Paul Gill of the Department of Security and Crime Science at the University College London, Dr Lindsay Clutterbuck of RAND Europe, Vidhya Ramalingam from the Strategic Dialogue, and Scott Kleinmann of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) presented their arguments.
Ajit Sat-Bhambra, the Democracy Forum director, said the aim of the study is to find the causes of radicalisation and take steps to deal with threats as well to address the core issues that provide fodder to extremist groups and their masterminds who go on to radicalise the youth.
He said a key strategy to counter terrorism must include the families of terrorists, who can play a vital role by acting as a frontline barrier against terrorist outrages. Dr Clutterbuck said that home grown terrorism has taken a global flavour with the main focus now around Pakistan, India, Iraq and other nationalities were becoming part of this club too. He said that almost 71% of those involved in radical acts were UK citizens and could therefore be called ‘home-grown’. He said that nearly 40% of those who returned to the UK after training then set about recruiting and preparing for terrorist attacks and almost a quarter of the individuals were known to have had links with al-Qaeda or its affiliates.
Dr Gill went on to opine that 83% of the families of terrorists were aware of their grievances and almost as big

a percentage knew of their family member’s activist ideology. He said that in a recent study of terrorist cases in the UK and US, 64% of terrorists had revealed something of their plot to their families. Various studies also pointed to the fact that suspects came from a broad range of ages, were likely to have a university education.
Pointing out several flaws in the studies, Ms Ramalingam considered it would be a mistake to place all the focus on al-Qaeda-inspired terrorism while ignoring the threat posed by far-right elements a little closer to home, in Europe. This includes the far-right lone wolf activity throughout Europe, homophobic attacks and attempts to ignite race war. She said that threat from “counter-jihad groups” such as the English Defence League was increasing. It has been widely reported that neo-Nazi groups are also increasing in number, especially in Germany and these groups are infiltrating several other groups in different European countries.
Mr Kleinmann agreed that the studies, although useful, are not indicative of the real threats faced by people in their everyday lives. He cautioned that much of the debate surrounding the spread of terrorism could be over-hyped and manipulated by politicians and the media as far more people are killed in domestic accidents than terrorist attacks. He also reminded the forum that actual arrests of Islamic terrorists have consistently declined. He considered that it was much more important to analyse the root cause of terrorist behaviour as a way of preventing terrorist attacks.

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