[Editor’s note: The demonisation of Islam and the fostering of a climate of fear and loathing has been an ongoing operation in Britain for several decades now. It is a repeat of the old Cold War strategy to keep people scared of the ‘red beneath the bed’ only today it is the ‘jihadis’ in our midst we are being programmed to fear.
It is a simple fact that people who are scared are easy to manipulate and control, so they want us to be afraid, very afraid….
As for internment, it is a barbaric idea and one that has been proven to not work, all it would do would be increase the divide between Britons and Muslims living in Britain and as we saw in Northern Ireland, would not have any effect on terrorist recruitment or activities, if anything, it would be a driving factor in the recruitment of terrorists. Ian]
Thousands of radical extremists must be locked up in new internment camps to protect Britain from the unprecedented terror threat it faces, a Muslim former police chief declares today.
Writing exclusively for The Mail on Sunday, Tarique Ghaffur warns there are too many extremists on the streets for police and MI5 officers to monitor.
Mr Ghaffur, an Assistant Commissioner at Scotland Yard when the 7/7 bombings took place, proposes that special centres be set up to detain as many as 3,000 extremists, where they can be kept from launching attacks.
They would also be made to go through a de-radicalisation programme.
He admits that the internment of IRA members in Northern Ireland during the 1970s led to a violent backlash and hunger strikes.
But Mr Ghaffur believes the idea would work for extremists if the camps were approved by imams, whom he believes should also issue a ‘fatwa’ condemning atrocities such as the suicide bombing in Manchester that left 22 dead.
He says: ‘Let us have a proper national debate about this, and not be afraid to speak openly for fear of offending any communities, or for the sake of political correctness.’
Internment was introduced in Northern Ireland in 1971 in an attempt to quell the rising violence, and over four years almost 2,000 alleged paramilitaries were held without trial in makeshift camps.
But it led to an upsurge in bloodshed as well as political protests, and was later abandoned.
However, Mr Ghaffur, once Britain’s most senior Asian officer, says that it is needed now to deal with the growing number of dangerous extremists in the country, more than 400 of whom have fought for Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
Yesterday it emerged that MI5 has identified 23,000 jihadis in the UK in recent years, of whom 3,000 are still considered a threat.
He writes: ‘We face an unprecedented terrorist threat – about 3,000 extremists are subjects of interest to MI5 and police, and about 500 plots are being monitored. The numbers are way too many for the security services and police to monitor.’
Mr Ghaffur says that the solution is to set up special centres where the 3,000 or so extremists can be detained.
Locking up terror suspects without trial has been discussed by Government, it has emerged.
The plan would be to lock them up in internment camps if the situation worsens in the UK.
‘These would be community-based centres where the extremists would be risk-assessed. Then the extremists would be made to go through a deradicalisation programme, using the expertise of imams, charity workers and counter- terrorism officers.’
Mr Ghaffur adds: ‘These centres would have oversight from vetted Muslim and other community leaders, who would ensure they stayed within the law.’
Internment for jihadis was also proposed last week by Colonel Richard Kemp, the former British Army commander in Afghanistan. However, former Scotland Yard Commissioner Lord Blair said it would be ‘counter-productive’ as it would anger the Muslim community, whose co-operation is needed to root out terrorists.
And former Security Minister Lord West warned: ‘Internment would be bad for our standing in the world, and also our position would not be good in fighting terrorists. Like as in war, we have to be whiter than white, and so we would not look good against the terrorists we are fighting.
Secondly, I don’t think it will work at a practical level, as I don’t want these extremely dangerous, drug-taking jihadis put in the same place as more vulnerable ones.’ Lord Carlile, former terror law watchdog, added: ‘Internment camps would not be lawful, and would not work.
‘They did not work in Northern Ireland, and even during World War Two, when there was internment, Churchill said he found it extremely distasteful, and that’s when we faced a real threat of invasion.’
Imams must issue a fatwa against Muslim radicals, says ex-Met Police chief who was in charge during 7/7
By Tarique Ghaffur, Former Met Police Chief, For The Mail On Sunday
Like millions of others, I was left horrified by the barbaric Manchester attack. My heart goes out to the families who have lost loved ones and to those who were injured.
As an Asian Mancunian, I felt appalled beyond words. My own children could have been among those killed in the UK’s worst atrocity since 7/7.
I was heartbroken but I was not surprised.
As one of the Met’s most senior officers, having seen classified intelligence, I knew more than most about the jihadi threat facing Britain. As security co-ordinator of the 2012 Olympics, I knew public events were soft targets.
I always felt it was a matter of when, not if. Last Monday, my worst fears were realised.
We face an unprecedented terrorist threat in Britain – about 3,000 extremists are subjects of interest to MI5 and police, and about 500 plots are being monitored.
Add more than 400 jihadis who have returned from Syria and you realise the numbers are way too many for the security services and police to monitor. The atrocities of Manchester and
Westminster have shown that ordinary surveillance, monitoring and tagging are not working.
The time has come to set up special centres to detain these 3,000 extremists.
These would be community-based centres where they would be risk-assessed and theologically examined.
Then the extremists would be made to go through a deradicalisation programme, using the expertise of imams, charity workers and counter-terrorism officers. Those who can be deradicalised should be carefully allowed back into the community. But those deemed too dangerous should be locked up.
These centres would have oversight from vetted Muslim and other community leaders, who would ensure they stayed within the law.
There is some precedent for these centres. At the height of the Troubles, internment camps were set up for 2,000 deemed extremists. I know those camps led to hunger strikes, but the centres I’m proposing would be different as they would have backing from Muslim leaders.
I would like imams to issue a collective fatwa, condemning terrorist atrocities and giving religious backing to the new centres for the good of society. With their support, the centres would not be seen as a ‘tool of the state’.
This would also show that Muslim leaders are doing something to make the UK safe and not just delivering words.
I know many will oppose these centres as oppressive. But the threat we face from terrorism is unprecedented and if we do not take bold steps now we will not be able to prevent future attacks.
As a further solution, the Government should overhaul the entire asylum system.
In the 1980s and 1990s, hundreds of asylum seekers came in, claiming they were fleeing persecution. We had no way of seeing if they were genuine, or hate clerics lying to get in. Many extremists who came in never integrated.
Extremist asylum seekers need to be re-vetted, and if they are deemed a threat they should be kicked out. The Home Office should set up a ‘cold cases’ review team to re-examine all asylum seekers.
We have never faced a terrorism threat like this. So let us have a proper national debate and not be afraid to speak openly for fear of offending any communities, or for the sake of political correctness.