Back in 2009 MI5 (Britain's domestic intelligence agency) announced that Islamic radicalism was no longer growing in the United Kingdom but that many of those who were already radicalized were still dangerous. Now that assessment has been revised to reflect the fact that while Islamic terrorism became less acceptable to most Moslems by 2009, it was still popular with younger Moslem men. That popularity evolved into “jihad chic” and got a new boost in 2011 when the Arab Spring uprisings (which were not instigated by Islamic terrorist groups) had apparent success. This surprised Islamic terrorist groups who then joined the Arab Spring rebels when these uprisings appeared to be succeeding. Naturally the Islamic radicals grabbled more credit than they were due and sought to take advantage of the chaos to turn countries formerly run by Arab dictators into religious dictatorships run by Islamic radicals. This has not succeeded anywhere, yet, but it has created quite a mess in the Middle East and in the West.
Now MI5 is using its databases of Islamic terrorist sympathizers and wannabes to locate newly radicalized British Moslems or those who have been seen fighting for Islamic terrorists in the Middle East. When MI5 ran the numbers they realized that it was quite likely that more British Moslems were overseas fighting for Islamic terrorist groups than were serving in the British armed forces.
The 2009 MI5 assessment was based on the belief that Islamic radicalism was following a similar pattern that MI5 encountered with the IRA (Irish Republican Army). Despite Northern Ireland (which the IRA wants to unite with the Republic of Ireland to the south) being largely free of IRA terrorist violence for the previous decade MI5 still spent 15 percent of its budget seeking out the diehard Irish terrorists, and preventing them from carrying out more attacks. MI5 still devotes a lot of resources to the remaining IRA terrorists. But now Islamic terrorists are seen in a different light and as more of a long-term threat.
In 2009 it was not appreciated that the basic difference between the IRA and the Islamic terrorists was that the IRA was only concerned with unifying Ireland while the Islamic terrorists want to conquer the world. In 2009 the Islamic terrorists were thought to have merely gone from a growing menace to a persistent one. The rising death toll of dead Moslems at the hands of Islamic terrorists (from 2004-2006) had precipitated a decline in support, among Moslems, for Islamic radicalism. That led to more tips and cooperation with the police everywhere. This put more Islamic radicals on the run. Some of them were so desperate to avoid MI5 that they fled to Northern Ireland, where only one percent of the population is Moslem (versus four percent for Britain overall).
In 2009 some 70 percent of the terrorist plots discovered in Britain had some connection to Pakistan based terrorists. This made it easier for MI5, or so they thought. About four percent of the British population is from South Asia, or is of South Asian ancestry. Half of those are from India, 36 percent from Pakistan, and most of the rest from Bangladesh. About half the South Asian population is Moslem. While Britain is the European nation most agreeable to assimilation, it is also, like other countries in the region, hostile to migrants. They are tolerated, not welcomed, as they are in the United States. As with the United States, natives, and legal migrants are also hostile to illegal migrants and a growing number of Islamic terrorists sought to get their families into Britain, one war or another, to keep them safe while dad was off slaughtering someone else’s wives and children for the cause.
In Britain MI5 found that the Moslem South Asians who clung to their old culture formed a pool of supporters for Islamic radicalism and Islamic terrorists. In the past, European nations considered their unhappy migrants as a potential source of criminals. Now, some of those criminal minded foreigners were turning to Islamic terrorism. But by 2009 the speed with which MI5 identified Islamic terrorists, and police have arrested them (and courts have sent them away for life) discouraged many young Moslems from getting involved with Islamic radicalism. Over the next few years young Moslems with an affinity for Islamic terrorism found that they could indulge in terrorist tourism. That would put their own lives at risk, but would be less likely to blow back on their families.
Many Moslem families with sons who had left the country knew what their lads were up to but tended to keep quiet about it. That is changing now as MI5 and the police come to visit and make specific inquiries. This process was accelerated when the man who recently murdered an American journalist in an Internet video was identified as the son of an Egyptian Islamic terrorist who was able to enter Britain in the 1990s as a “political refugee.” Dad was one of the Islamic terrorists who tried to overthrow the Egyptian government in the 1990s, failed but survived and fled. At the time Egypt warned Western countries that many of the Egyptian “political refugees” being granted asylum were actually Islamic terrorists. The Egyptian warnings were ignored or played down. A number of those refugees were later arrested for terrorism, as was the case with the father of the young Islamic terrorist with the knife and British accent shown in the video beheading a journalist. MI5 had this Islamic terrorist on record and was able to use new analysis (of voice, size and other features) to identify him even though his face was covered.
The older generation of Moslem migrants in the West are now coming forward to help identify and catch the Islamic terrorists in their midst. While this cooperation may not last, or even be as widespread as it appears, it’s a sign that many Moslems are beginning to admit that they have been harboring a nasty virus that, so far, can be suppressed for a while but not eliminated.