How London became a terror hotbed: 5 facts – London Underground attack that left 22 people injured is a grim reminder the British capital is facing one of the worst wave of terror in recent times. What’s wrong with London, find out in our detailed report.
People react near Parsons Green tube station in London on Friday. (Reuters)
Paris, Nice, Brussels and London…one look at the recent attacks in major European cities would give anyone a fair idea what Europe is going through.
The connecting dots make a terrifying picture. What’s more worrisome is that London, the beautiful, cultural and financial hub has now become a terror hotbed of Europe. How this thousand-year-old city turned into safe haven for terrorists?
Here are five facts that would give you an idea of what’s exactly going on in the British capital:
A) 4 attacks in a year: Is London safe any more?
The Friday attack is the fourth terror attack in the British capital. There’s growing resentment in people that the security forces are not doing enough. A look at previous attacks would show the pattern of how cars, knives and low-intensity explosives are giving a headache to London officials.
March 22: Five people died a year after the Brussels attacks. A man rammed his car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London and then fatally stabbed a police officer outside British Parliament. The attacker was shot dead by police.
June 3: In yet another case of a plough-in, a van rammed into a crowd on London Bridge, then the three attackers left the vehicle armed with knives and attacked people. Eight people were killed and around 50 wounded. Police shot dead the attackers. ISIS had claimed responsibility.
June 19: The Finsbury Park attack happened on Monday, 19 June, when the vehicle mounted the pavement outside Muslim Welfare House – which is also a community centre – on Seven Sisters Road. A number of worshippers from Muslim Welfare House and nearby Finsbury Park Mosque were on the streets at the time, having just taken part in evening prayers after breaking the Ramzan fast. A group were helping an elderly man who had fallen down in Whadcoat Street – a short road off Seven Sisters Road – as they waited for their next set of prayers. It was then that a white van came down the street, mounted the pavement and drove into people.
B) How Britain’s open door policy went wrong
A CBN report details how the British authorities gave asylum to many extremists wanted in their countries. People from many Asian nations were given asylum with a view that they won’t attack Britain. But this open door policy went horribly wrong. It was only the July, 2005 explosions that led the British government to change its stance.
C) Lack of preventive measures
At any giving point of time the security forces are monitoring over 3,000 people perceived to be imminent threat, a report in British daily Independent said. Add to this is a wider pool of 23,000 people who have previously been spotted on terror radar. For the first time in history, the security forces have arrested maximum number of terror suspects. There has been a sharp rise of 70% in terror arrests. Despite all this and the claim that the British forces foiled 19 attacks in 2017, the fact is that the British capital suffered 4 attacks in the year. So clearly, the monitoring and the arrests are not helping London to prevent the attacks
D) Rise and rise of radicalisation
The post-9/11 West reacted with many counter strategies and Britain’s ‘Prevent’ Programme is one of them. But despite spending millions of pounds, the policy has not yeilded any results. On contrary, the romantisization of ISIS and life in Syria saw as many as 850 British young men and women going to the war-torn nation. The accusation that the security forces are treating Muslims as a “suspect community” has fanned the recent wave of radicalisation. Though the British government has been increasing efforts to combat the presence of online propaganda and communications between militants using encrypted messaging apps, the latest attacks show there’s little success.
E) Birmingham to London: The missing link
Are London attackers coming from Birmingham? This may be the missing link in chain of events. The major British city is known to be a sort of safe haven for people of extremist views. The second largest city in Britain is home to 39 terror convicts. A recent study found one in ten terrorist suspects and convicted criminals in all of the UK came from just five council wards within Birminghim. The extremist alumni from Birmingham include Rashid Rauf, of British and Pakistani background, who was one of the ringleaders of a plot to blow up airliners in 2006. The city also produced Moinal Abedin, the UK’s first al-Qaeda inspired terrorist.An Independent reports talks about how indoctrination of such extremists took place in mosques which had been taken over by radical clerics and, it is claimed, a number of schools. Birmingham is now part of “Trojan Horse” plot in which, it is alleged, an organised group of Islamists seeks to infiltrate and take over state education establishments.