Month: August 2014

Cameron considers ban on UK jihadists returning home

David Cameron
The prime minister is expected to consider strengthening terrorism prevention and investigation measures

British-born jihadists in Iraq and Syria could be temporarily banned from returning to the UK under plans being considered by the government.

The BBC understands UK nationals suspected of being involved in terror acts would be allowed to keep their British citizenship.

But they would be prevented from re-entering the UK for a period of time.

David Cameron will set out plans to counter the threat posed by Islamic State militants to MPs on Monday.

At least 500 people from the UK are thought to have gone to fight in Syria, although ministers say they do not know the exact number.

The number of people arrested in the UK for Syria-related activity stands at 69, according to a recent briefing by senior police officers.

In his statement the prime minister is also expected to announce plans to make it easier to seize the passports of would-be terrorists travelling abroad.

‘Illegal’A government source told BBC News: “The government is considering a range of measures to keep the country safe in the face of an increased threat level from Islamist extremism.

“The areas include making it harder for potential foreign fighters to travel abroad by making it easier to remove their passports through additional temporary seizure powers at the border.

“We are also looking at stopping British citizens from re-entering the country if they are suspected of terrorist activity abroad.

“Previously, our range of powers to prevent return to the UK applied only to foreign nationals, dual nationals or naturalised citizens.”

The government source confirmed “details of the package are being finalised” and would be announced by the prime minister in a Commons statement on Monday.

But former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell said a temporary ban on British citizens re-entering the country may be illegal.

GPS tag
various measures covering Tpims include suspects wearing an electronic tag

Sir Menzies told BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend: “I think it’s rather difficult and it might well constitute illegality. To render citizens stateless is regarded as illegal in international law.

“To render them stateless temporarily, which seems to me the purpose of what’s being proposed, can also I think be described as illegal.

Sir Menzies Campbell said the ban would have to be tested in the courts

“At the very least it’s the kind of question that will be tested here in our own courts and perhaps also in the European Court of Human Rights.”

Mr Cameron is also likely to consider strengthening terrorism prevention and investigation measures – or Tpims – which were the coalition’s replacement for control orders.

However, the Liberal Democrats have said they would only agree to policies that were made calmly, on the basis of evidence and that maintained the liberty of British citizens.

Threat levelThe home secretary already has the power – under the Royal Prerogative – to withhold a passport if it is in the public interest to stop somebody travelling.

The UK’s terror threat level was raised to “severe” from “substantial” on Friday in response to the deepening conflict in Iraq and Syria.

The new alert level rates the risk of an attack on the UK as “highly likely”, although Downing Street said there was no evidence to suggest one is “imminent”.

The rating is the second highest of five possible UK threat levels and is the highest since 2011.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has suggested the introduction of a “mandatory programme” of deradicalisation for people “drawn into the fringes of extremism”.

Writing in the Independent, he also urged the government to revisit the decision to scrap the control orders regime for terror suspects.

‘Better prepared’Former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown has accused Conservative ministers of a “kneejerk” reaction to the terrorism threat from extremists.

He told The Observer the biggest threat was not returning jihadists but “a widening religious war which threatens, not just to engulf the Middle East and change its borders, but to spread across the entire global Islamic community”.

A graph of the UK threat level over time

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said new measures to tackle the raised threat of terrorism in the UK were “not a knee jerk reaction”, but were needed to deal with “some gaps” in “our current armoury”.

Speaking on Sky News, Mr Fallon said the government was looking at “what more we can do to tighten up their movement in and out of Syria,” adding: “We have to be better prepared.”

He said a “number of young men [were] going to Syria and slipping back again” but he acknowledged the government did not know exactly how many Britons had gone to Syria and Iraq to fight.

“Nobody has an exact number, we know it is several hundred”.

The defence secretary also confirmed two RAF Hercules aircraft took part in a humanitarian aid drop at Amerli in northern Iraq on Saturday night.

But he repeatedly said the UK had not been asked to take part in air strikes in Iraq.

Campbell: ‘Making citizens temporally stateless may be illegal’

Former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell has said a temporary ban on British citizens re-entering the country may be illegal.

British-born jihadists in Iraq and Syria could be temporarily banned from returning to the UK under plans being considered by the government.

The BBC understands UK nationals suspected of being involved in terror acts would be allowed to keep their British citizenship.

Sir Menzies told Radio 4’s World at One that the ban would have to be tested in the courts.


Senior Muslims call for women to have more say in communities

Rotherham abuse scandal highlights the need for female leadership in Muslim organisations
Women and children in Rotherham

Muslim women’s lack of representation in Rotherham is cited as a factor in perpetuating child sexual abuse in the Yorkshire town. Photograph: Lynne Cameron/PA

More women should be appointed to the highest levels of Britain’s Islamic organisations to help prevent repetition of the child sex abuse scandal inRotherham, according to senior Muslim figures.

Last week a report by Professor Alexis Jay into grooming within the SouthYorkshire town pinpointed a “macho culture” in the town as a factor in perpetuating the abuse, which involved 1,400 cases of child sexual exploitation between 1997 and 2013.

Critics say the traditional male-heavy hierarchy of Muslim groups contributed to the community’s silence on abuse and the culture of disbelief that meant many victims were not listened to. Jay’s report found the abuse continued partly because of “blatant” failures by council and police, among them the habit of talking only to older male Muslim community representatives, which meant the true extent of the problem was obscured.

The hope now among many influential male and female Muslim figures is that the fallout of the Jay report will serve as a wake-up call in confronting the male dominance of many British mosques.

Sara Khan, director of women’s human rights group Inspire, which has been working closely with Muslim organisations and groups such as theEveryday Sexism Project, criticised the traditional hierarchies that still govern many Muslim organisations.

“In terms of dealing with issues around grooming, around violence,” she said, “you fundamentally need far more women representation. The fact that these girls weren’t believed demonstrates a culture of disbelief that I think comes from a male perspective.

“The men did not want to believe or chose not to believe the victims, whether the victims were Asian or whether they were white.”

Ibrahim Mogra, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, the country’s largest Muslim organisation and umbrella body for 500 mosques, schools and associations, conceded that allowing more women to occupy senior positions would offer a more “compassionate” response to similar allegations in the future.

He said: “Having a better representation of genders would be something that I believe would help. It is absolutely crucial for us to tap into that huge resource and untapped asset that we have within our communities to improve them.

“There are certain situations and scenarios where one [gender] can be more effective than the other. Some situations may require more compassion and empathy – perhaps one gender might not be able to fully display those characteristics; therefore a partnership is the most effective formula.”

Khan added it was critical to confront what she described as “self-appointed, often undemocratically appointed community leaders” in the wake of the Rotherham report.

“It’s about control, power, authority and they will do all they can to maintain that. Whenever a woman has tried to break out of that structure, often those community leaders will do much to silence them. It’s incredibly important to get the women’s voices in there, to address that patriarchy.”

The Rotherham report also quotes a home affairs select committee finding that cases of Asian men grooming Asian girls did not surface because victims faced being ostracised “by the whole community” if they went public with their allegations.

Other high-profile Muslim women backing calls for change are understood to include Lady Warsi, the former Conservative party co-chairman, who recently quit the government over its Gaza policy, although she is keen to ensure that such steps go beyond mere “window dressing”.

Julie Siddiqi, of the Islamic Society of Britain, described the existence of Muslim community meetings that continue to be exclusively male as “unacceptable” and, in some cases, an obstruction to justice. Siddiqi said these traditional community groups had such a restricted reach that they were of limited help to police investigating allegations involving the local Muslim community.

“If all these mosques are committees of men it’s obviously not diverse,” she said. “We need younger [people], more women, different backgrounds. In some areas I think it will have definitely played a role [in perpetuating the abuse] because the local authority and police don’t have links with the right kind of people and they just talk – or in some cases they haven’t even been speaking – to the same old people, and that causes a problem.

“Men and women just have to work together. The culture in some of these organisations is prejudiced against women, there’s no doubt about that.”








Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessings be upon His final messenger Muhammad.

Due to recent events in the Middle East and their impact on some people in Britain, we as imams and scholars based in the UK, would like to issue the following clarifications in the form of a fatwa:

1. There is no doubt that President Assad’s regime in Syria is oppressive, unjust and brutal, and has committed numerous atrocities against its own people.

2. The same is true of the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) or self-styled “Caliphate,” formerly known as “The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria”: it is an oppressive and tyrannical group.

3. By murdering prisoners of war, journalists and civilians, including mosque imams who refused to endorse their campaign, and by enslaving the women and children of their opponents, ISIS has violated international agreements such as the Geneva Conventions and conventions on slavery that everyone, including Muslims, have signed up to. God says in the Qur’an, “Believers, fulfil your covenants!” (5:1)

4. The IS persecution and massacres of Shia Muslims, Christians and Yazidis is abhorrent and opposed to Islamic teachings and the Islamic tolerance displayed by great empires such as the Mughals and Ottomans.

5. Based on all of the above: IS is a heretical, extremist organisation and it is religiously prohibited (haram) to support or join it; furthermore, it is an obligation on British Muslims to actively oppose its poisonous ideology, especially when this is promoted within Britain.

6. British and other EU citizens are bound by their duties to their home countries according to Islamic theology and jurisprudence: it is therefore prohibited ( haram) to travel to fight with any side in Syria, including non-state actors, since this is forbidden by laws in EU countries.

7. It is a moral obligation upon British Muslims to help the Syrian and Iraqi people without betraying their own societies: “If they ask for your help in religion, you must help, except against a people with whom you have a treaty.” (Qur’an 8:72)


Sheikh Mohammad Shahid Raza OBE Executive Secretary, Muslim Law (Shariah) Council of UK. Head Imam, Leicester Central Mosque.

Sheikh Qamaruzzaman Azmi Secretary General, World Islamic Mission. Head Imam, Manchester Central Mosque.

Sheikh Paul Salahuddin Armstrong Co-Director, The Association of British Muslims.

Sheikh Dr Qari Mohammad Asim MBE Head Imam, Makkah Masjid, Leeds.

Sheikh Dr Usama Hasan Author, ISIS Fatwa. Former Imam, Masjid Al-Tawhid Mosque, Leyton. Head Theologian, Quilliam Foundation.

Mufti Abu Layth Founder, The Islamic Council, UK.

Thoughts on Rotherham Abuse

1.Officials who remain silent over reported child sexual abuse are no better than paedophiles  #newdaystarts

2.Why has there been no arrests over this scandal? #newdaystarts

3.Wonder if there is a meaningful fully resourced package of support should already be in place for of  #newdaystarts

4.This problem in #Rotherham isn’t religion or race but a culture that shames the victims,not the perpetrators #newdaystarts

5.Trouble is that the community gets the brunt of blame from the public. Police can convict and arrest NOT the community.  #newdaystarts

6. its the blame game everyone says its someone elses fault,they are ALL to blame! #newdaystarts

7.Mark my words. There’s far more to the scandal than has yet come out. #newdaystarts

8.Am I the only person wondering why there is so much attention on political figures rather than trying to catch the criminals? #Rotherham #newdaystarts

9.What with all thats going on in Rotherham and the heightened terror alert in the UK think we need to try to put the unity back in community. #NEWDAYSTARTS

Sex Abuse Report Angers Pakistani Community

Britain’s Pakistani community has reacted with outrage on reports that officials failed to act on sex abuse cases because of concerns about racism in the northern English town of Rotherham.

It is clear from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham (1997 – 2013) issued on 26 August that the victims have been let down by those who were meant to care for them and obvious signs of abuse were either missed or not fully investigated. Despite three reports between 2002 and 2006, which both the council and police were aware of, no action was taken to protect the victims, it added.

The report which came to surface on Tuesday pointed out that more than 1,400 children were sexually exploited in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, over a period of 16 years. An independent investigation found evidence of “appalling” exploitation between 1997 and 2013, involving children as young as 11.

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi

The victims identified in the report include both girls and a small number of boys. Prof Alexis Jay’s report has revealed that a disproportionate number of men of Pakistani heritage  were the perpetrators in Rotherham.

Leading personalities and organizations of the British Pakistani community strongly condemned the sex abuse cases and demanded that the perpetrators be brought to justice. However, they were of the view that putting the entire blame on the Muslims or Pakistani community for these incidents was not appropriate.

The first Muslim Minister of the British cabinet Baroness Sayeeda Warsi in a special interview to Evening Standard in 2012 had stated that ‘there is a small minority of Pakistani men who believe that white girls are fair game.” She called on mosques and community leaders to condemn “a small minority” of their members with racist and sexist views. “And we have to be prepared to say that you can only start solving a problem if you acknowledge it first.”

The Muslim Council of Britain repeated its condemnation of the cases of child abuse and grooming. Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said: “Those who carried out these acts are nothing more than criminals. Criminals do not follow any religion, and the issue here should not be race or religion. No faith, and culture would condone such activities. This is about gang culture engaging in all forms of criminal activities: money laundering, drugs, guns and sex trafficking is just one part of it.”

Lord Nazir Ahmed

Communities’ Minister Lord Tariq Ahmed in his Twitter message expressed outrage at the child abuse and sexual exploitation report and urged that the criminals must be brought to justice.

Lord Nazir Ahmed from Rotherham expressed dismay that according to inquiry report most of those involved were of the Pakistani origin. He stated that the first and second generation of the Community who came to Britain did not even think of that.

Lord Nazir said that the perpetrators irrespective of the race, religion or community must be strongly condemned and punished. He said that in the past 14 to 15 years there has been an increase in such incidents. Nazir said that there are several mosques in Rotherham today and there is no dearth of religious leaders. However, increase in involvement of Muslims boys in such cases is a matter of concern. He pointed out that a large number of Muslim men and women are in jails on the charges of drugs and fake marriages.

Lord Nazir was of the view that Rotherham has become a `hotbed’ for the criminal activities. He said that this speaks of declining moral values in the society and that connecting any religion would not be fair.

He opined that `our people are unfortunately not willing to recognize such issues. Remaining silence would not do. We should openly condemn such incidents. The imams should address such issues in their sermons’.

UKIP’s Pakistani-born MEP Amjad Bashir expressing his view on the report said that “the whole community is ashamed of those men who have behaved so appallingly against vulnerable people.

“This is not a time to circle the wagons, people of Pakistani-descent, like the rest of the community, are outraged and they strongly feel that these young men have let the whole community down. “These young men are a small faction and do not represent the rest of us and we are ashamed of them and it is right they should face the stiffest of legal penalties. “I am ashamed that these few young men born and bred here have descended into this way of thinking that British girls can be treated so badly. “Somehow over the last three or four decades it seems that these young men have lost their heritage and love for this country that previous generations felt,” said Mr Bashir.

Khalid Mahmood MP

“I think we as a community have to speak up against it and say we will not tolerate it. They are a tiny minority and the rest of the community are disgusted that they have put us in such a bad light. “I am urging the community to get together to say these men do not represent us. They should be demonised and held to account. We who come from Pakistan abhor and hold in contempt these people”. “I am a believer in Islam and our religion says that orphans should be looked after. Those young people in care homes are very vulnerable and easy targets for attacks and true believers in Islam would protect not harm them.”

Khalid Mahmood MP said that such incidents also took place not only in Rothhem but also in Rochdale, Oxford and Birmingham and that these are failure on the part of the organizations concerned. He said that in a way the Council Office, Social Services, Councillors and the Police had kept their eyes shut.

Khalid asked as to why complaints were not lodged on time and called for complete probe into the matter and action against delinquents so that such incidents should not recur.

He believed that there was fault on the part of the community also which did not rise against such incidents and for bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Khalid said that the entire Pakistani community is bearing the impact of the criminal acts of a few individuals.” The right-wing fascist organization would use these incidents to disseminate negative feelings against the Muslims”, he added.

Yasmin Qureshi MP said that those involved in such ghastly acts have brought a bad name to the community and the religion. She said that Islam teaches us to respect the Muslims and the non-Muslims alike.

Yasmin Qureshi MP

Muhbeen Hussain, founder of the Rotherham Muslim Youth Group, said that Muslims are disgusted that justice was not done. Hussain says “race, religion or political correctness should never provide a cloak of invisibility to such grotesque crimes.”

Rotherham United Multicultural Centre’s managing director, Mrs. Perveen Qureshi MBE, said that she was running the centre for over past 32 years and her stance was that in such incidents Asians as well as non-Asians both were involved. However, she added, she was saddened at the reports about the involvement of youngsters from the British Pakistani community. However, for the individual acts of a few the entire communities should not be blamed.

Ms. Qureshi asked the parents to keep a vigilant eye of their children and their activities. She said that a number of cases have come to the fore but not taking concrete action was a failure on the part of the organizations concerned.

Maroof Hussain Rashid who is settled in Rotherham since 1984 and worked in various capacities Local council and Race and Equality Commission rejected the notion that such incidents occurred in Rotherham only and that child abuse cases also surfaced in other cities of UK. He was of the view that involvement of British Muslims in such incidents was lack of religious teaching and that there should be a proper system of guidance and training at the mosques.

Imam Qari Asim

Hussain opined that concealing and covering up would not do and that such incidents be condemned and people be urged to follow the path of righteousness. He also asked the parents to provide guidance to their children and help enable them distinguish right and wrong.

Organisation Together Against Grooming’s Ansar Ali responded that the report has shocked the community. He was of the view that the issues should be debated openly and condemned as this would help in finding solutions. He was of the view that all segments of the society should work collectively to help overcome this common challenge which is deep rooted.

“Any perceived racial tension or cultural sensitivity should have never been a bar to applying the law and exposing criminals”, said Dr Qari Asim, Imam at Leed’s award-winning mosque, Makkah Masjid.

Imam Qari Asim said: “Sexual predators come from all backgrounds and all sections of society. It is not credible to blame a whole community for the acts of a tiny minority of criminals; such an agenda of hate and division will only deflect the attention from the real issue that we do not have a robust system in place to protect the vulnerable.

“We need to be careful about not creating stereotypes around just Pakistani men, or just white girls. Victims of sexual exploitation come from all classes, religions and backgrounds. Many of the victims of this sexual abuse were young girls of Asian background”, said the Imam.

– See more at:

South Yorkshire Police child abuse force failings ‘laid bare’

The police force at the centre of the Rotherham child abuse scandal has admitted its failings over a number of years have been laid bare.

A report on child sexual exploitation published on Tuesday found at least 1,400 children were abused from 1997 to 2013.

The inquiry found a “collective failure” by the authorities.

South Yorkshire’s Chief Constable David Crompton said Professor Alexis Jay’s report made painful reading.

“The report into CSE (child sexual exploitation) in Rotherham laid bare the failings of South Yorkshire Police over a number of years.

“This made for painful reading. However, I am determined that we will use the findings of the report to ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated,” said Mr Crompton.

The chief constable said he was seeking a meeting with Professor Jay “to fully understand her detailed findings and properly address any concerns”.

He said of the four officers named in the report, only one remained with the force.

‘Disregard for victims’

A separate report published on Thursday criticised South Yorkshire Police for failing to record crime against children properly.

It said the force’s public protection unit showed “a disregard for victims”.

But Mr Crompton said the force had begun to “see a number of new reports about child sexual exploitation” since publication of Prof Jay’s findings.

“I interpret this as a sign of confidence amongst victims that the force, as it stands now, will take these matters seriously and investigate them fully,” he said.

Those in charge of care services in Rotherham, while children were being abused mainly by men of Pakistani heritage, have faced calls for them to resign from their current jobs.

They include Sonia Sharp, who was in charge of children’s services from 2003 to 2008 and now works in Australia.

Shaun Wright, who is now South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and was the councillor in Rotherham responsible for children’s services from 2005-2010 has refused to resign.

But the deputy PCC Tracey Cheetham resigned on Thursday, calling for her boss to go too.

A former Rotherham care home worker has told the BBC how girls as young as 11 were “brazenly” groomed and abused in the South Yorkshire town.

The man, who worked at children’s homes for four years, said girls would be picked up by taxis and abusers made “no attempts to disguise” their actions.

Isil terrorists ‘highly likely’ to attack UK, warns David Cameron, as threat level is raised to severe

David Cameron warns country is facing a decades-long battle against terror threat from Syria and Iraq as he announces tough new measures

Islamist terrorists are “highly likely” to attack the UK as David Cameron announced the threat assessment has been raised to its second highest level.

It is the first time the threat level has been at “severe” since 2011 when it was reduced to “substantial” and reflects growing concern from the risk of British jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq.

It is feared more than 500 have gone and around half of those are now back in the UK, with some possibly planning attacks here.

At least one plot is known to have already been foiled.

The Prime Minsiter warned that the Isil extremists in Iraq and Syria now pose a “greater and deeper threat than anything we have seen before”, including Al Qaeda.

“In Afghanistan the Taliban were prepared to play host to al Qaida, the terrorist organisation,” he said.

“With IS we are facing a terrorist organisation not being hosted in a country but seeking to establish and then violently expand its own terrorist state.

“With designs on expanding to Jordan, Lebanon, right up to the Turkish border, we could be facing a terrorist state on the shores of the Mediterranean and bordering a Nato member.”

He said that the threat is “growing” and that people can expect to see more armed police on the streets in response to the crisis.

On Monday he will announce a package of “uncompromising” measures to help tackle British jihadis and fill the “gaps in our armoury”.

They will include new powers to make it easier to take people’s passports away and he is also expected to bolster controls on terror suspects in Britain.

He said: “This is the first time in three years that the threat to our country has been at this level. My first priority is to make sure we do everything possible to keep our people safe.

“We have all been shocked and sickened by the barbaric murder of James Foley and the voice of what increasingly seems to be a British terrorist on that video.

“But we have to listen carefully to the security and intelligence officers who do so much every day to keep us safe. I chaired a meeting a week ago with our intelligence and securitry services and we agreed that the answer to this threat was not to dream up some sweeping new power that could be ineffective in practice but it is becoming clear that there are some gaps in our armoury and we need to strengthen them.

“We need to do more to stop people travelling, to stop those who do go from returning and to deal decisively with those who are already here. I will be making a statement in the House of Commons on Monday. This will include further steps to stop people travelling with new legislation that will make it easier to take people’s passports away.”

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, insisted there was no intelligence to suggest an attack was imminent but that the “first and most important duty of government is the protection of the British people”.

However, the change also comes less than a week before a Nato summit in south Wales which will see the biggest ever gathering of heads of state in the UK.

Police and security services have long been concerned over the large numbers of British jihadists travelling to Syria and Iraq.

The decision to raise the threat level, which is now only one stage below “critical” – which means an attack is imminent – was taken by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC).

Mrs May said: “JTAC’s judgements about that threat level are made on the basis of the very latest intelligence and are independent of Ministers.

“The increase in the threat level is related to developments in Syria and Iraq where terrorist groups are planning attacks against the West.

“Some of those plots are likely to involve foreign fighters who have travelled there from the UK and Europe to take part in those conflicts.

Armed police patrol the Terminal 5 building at London’s Heathrow Airport (AFP)

“That process will continue and the British public should be in no doubt that we will take the strongest possible action to prect our national security.

“We face a real and serious threat in the UK from international terrorism. I would urge the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the police.”

Assistant Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley, National Policing Lead for Counter-Terrorism, said: “The threat level from international terrorism has changed from SUBSTANTIAL to SEVERE in response to the developments in Syria and Iraq.

“This means it is highly likely that a terrorist attack could happen in the UK.

“We therefore continue to urge the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to police. We need communities and families to bring to our attention anyone they perceive may be vulnerable, a danger or escalating towards terrorism.

“From this afternoon we will begin to increase our levels of visible patrols and implement other security and protection measures. We will also build on existing community relations to provide reassurance and seek their support and assistance in keeping the UK safe.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.