Saturday,21 April, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1347, (1 - 7 June 2017)
Saturday,21 April, 2018
Issue 1347, (1 - 7 June 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Britain and the wolves within

Last week’s barbaric attack on concert-goers in Manchester was partly the result of years of negligence by the UK authorities in dealing with terrorists seeking asylum in the country, writes Hany Ghoraba

Britain had one of its longest nights in decades on 23 May when suicide-bomber Salman Abedi detonated a bomb hidden in a rucksack he was carrying in a crowd of young British people attending a concert in the Manchester Arena hall in the city of Manchester.

The attack displayed the high degree of barbarity and the lack of all human feeling of the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates the Islamic State (IS) group and Al-Qaeda worldwide. A lone-wolf theory has prevailed in the media since the bombing was carried out by this 22-year-old man of Libyan descent who had been born in Manchester.

This was a vile attack on innocence, targeting a concert given by young American singing sensation Ariana Grande. The majority of Grande's fans are from the children and teenage demographic. As a result, most of the casualties of this barbaric terrorist attack were children and teenagers who had simply wanted to watch the American singer live in their own city.

Once again, the country now has to mourn a man-made calamity of a type that has been recurring and that has resulted from policies that have led to the current heinous situation in the United Kingdom. This is a situation in which British people cannot claim with confidence that their country is safe from terrorism and that such events only happen in other countries. There have been failures in the UK’s political and security apparatus for years that have encouraged the ambitions of Islamists who have caused mayhem in their homelands and are now continuing their trail of blood in a country that has hosted them and granted them shelter.

As a result of the terrible attack, British Prime Minister Theresa May has raised the threat level across the country to critical and ordered the deployment of the armed forces across Britain as reports of other imminent attacks have been expected. This is a standard and prudent precautionary measure that any country would take after a terrorist attack such as the Manchester bombing. However, problems remain deeply embedded within the British state, whose policies have paved the way for such terrorism to occur as an inevitable result.

It is a fact that without the blessings of consecutive British governments the Muslim Brotherhood global network would never have survived to date. The security apparatus of the United Kingdom seems to believe that it is important to keep relations strong with the Muslim Brotherhood, even as the group has spread in around 80 countries worldwide. Thus, the Muslim Brotherhood represents a fifth column of turncoats that can be triggered whenever the need arises by British intelligence, which itself contributed to the formation of the group in Egypt in 1928. These policies have opened a Pandora’s Box of terrorism in Britain because the British have harboured these wolves, treating them like pets in recent decades.

For over four decades, Britain has been a European hub for jihadist activities, with terrorists linked to all the major terrorist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda, IS and others, operating freely within it. Many of them have been granted political asylum on British soil, including Al-Qaeda terrorist Jordanian-born Abu Qatada who received asylum based on a forged passport in 1993. Later he found enough loopholes in the British legal system to stay out of jail for years despite his ties to Al-Qaeda.

The same thing has applied to Egyptian-born terrorists Hani Al-Sibai and Abu Ḥamzah Al-Masri, who were allowed for years to preach jihadism in British mosques together with their explicit support for Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists. The Muslim Brotherhood's Ibrahim Mounir and Mohamed Soudan, among dozens of other wanted Islamist leaders, are still roaming freely in the United Kingdom and in direct contact with British political circles.

The Manchester bombing and the killing and injuring of dozens of innocent British citizens including young girls and boys was not the first and certainly will not be the last such event in Britain. It rests on the heads of successive British governments that have been reluctant to acknowledge the sins they have committed over several generations in aiding and creating a safe haven for wanted terrorists worldwide.

The wolves in sheep’s clothing who have taken advantage of the lax political asylum laws in Britain will continue to represent a clear and present danger to British society along with the rest of the world. British tax-payers are still paying the expenses of internationally wanted terrorists who are on the blacklists of their home countries in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Moreover, the financial hub of the City of London is still utilised by Islamists to transfer funds inside and outside Britain, including by groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. The British government still shamefully says this is a peaceful group despite the trail of blood is has been leaving in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Syria and across the Middle East.

The horrendous Manchester bombing should be a wake-up call for the British parliament to ban the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates which managed to escape an earlier ban under former UK prime minister David Cameron. If this does not happen, the British will have to brace themselves for further violence as radicalism continues to grow unfettered within Britain.

The United Kingdom has long boasted of being a melting pot for people from different nationalities, races and creeds seeking refuge on its shores. This may be true as far as hosting those who are in genuine need are concerned, such as refugees and those who are oppressed. However, the Islamists and jihadists do not fall into this category. They fled from the hands of the law in their home countries because of their sickening ideologies or the crimes they committed against their compatriots.

Many of these fake asylum-seekers are on the wanted lists of Interpol, though such red flags are ignored by the British authorities for the sake of short-term political gains. Political asylum is granted to these people under the pretext of human rights and at the expense of other British citizens and others who have been harmed across the world.

As a result, a new generation of jihadists or “lone wolves” is now being bred in the very heart of Britain, raised by experienced terrorists that have found shelter through the twisted system of asylum given by the British authorities. The latter still regard the Islamists and jihadists as “victims.” Salman Abedi, the bomber of the Manchester Arena, was one of this new generation of jihadists whose father, Ramadan Abedi, was a prominent member of the banned Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) which had fought to overthrow the late Libyan dictator Muammar Al-Gaddafi. The group’s members were allowed to fight Al- Gaddafi in 2011 and were then allowed to return to the United Kingdom with no questions asked.

It does not require a genius to figure out that terrorist group members are unlikely to produce Rhodes scholar students, but will instead produce further terrorists to carry on their unsavoury work and rhetoric. The repetitive occurrences of which the Manchester bombing was the latest example are a curse on British citizens and particularly on honest and patriotic British Muslims who in some cases have to pay the price of being discriminated against and stereotyped as a result of the heinous work of these terrorists.

As the curtain falls on the wars in Syria and Libya and terrorist attacks recede in the Middle East with the imminent fall of IS, it is expected that many international terrorists will now return to their homelands and cause damage wherever they are hosted or received. It is a fact that there is no such thing as a “lone wolf” as far as terrorist activities are concerned and that all terrorists are linked together by either domestic or international ties from which they receive their instructions and doctrines.

The names may vary from the Muslim Brotherhood to Al-Qaeda, but the end results are the same. It is high time that these wolves were dealt with in order to save the lives of many thousands of people worldwide.

The writer is a political analyst and the author of Egypt’s Arab Spring and the Winding Road of Democracy.

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