British jihadist warns of black flag of Islam over Downing Street

More on jihadists raised in the West and travelling to Syria and Iraq, along with efforts by imams to counter the jihadist message:

An open letter signed by more than 100 imams from across major theological backgrounds and cultural groups has urged British Muslim communities “to continue the generous and tireless effort to support all of those affected by the crisis in Syria and unfolding events in Iraq”, but to do so from the UK “in a safe and responsible way”.

The letter comes during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, but against a backdrop of tensions between the Middle East and the west.

…. Concerns have also been raised about homegrown involvement in terrorism after Britons appeared in a propaganda video for insurgent group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant Isis.

Among them was aspiring jihadist Aseel Muthana, who told the BBC he was fighting in Syria and had no intention of returning to the UK.

…. The man told interviewer Nicky Campbell: “I have no intention of coming back to Britain because I have come to revive the Islamic khilafah. I dont want to come back to what I have left behind. There is nothing in Britain – it is just pure evil.

“If and when I come back to Britain it will be when this khilafah – this Islamic state – comes to conquer Britain and I come to raise the black flag of Islam over Downing Street, over Buckingham Palace, over Tower Bridge and over Big Ben.”

…..”The imams open letter read: “As the crisis in Syria and Iraq deepens, we the under-signed have come together as a unified voice to urge the British Muslim communities not to fall prey to any form of sectarian divisions or social discord.

“Ramadan, the month of mercy, teaches us the value of unity and perseverance and we urge the British Muslim communities to continue the generous and tireless efforts to support all of those affected by the crisis in Syria and unfolding events in Iraq, but to do so from the UK in a safe and responsible way.”

British jihadist warns of black flag of Islam over Downing Street | UK news | theguardian.com.

UK: British Muslims right to fight in Syria backed by ex-adviser on radicalisation

A very different view from a former regional manager of the Prevent strategy (former anti-radicalization and extremism strategy):

A former senior government adviser on tackling radicalisation and extremism has defended the right of British Muslims to travel to Syria and fight.

Farooq Siddiqui, a former regional manager for the governments controversial Prevent strategy, said it was acceptable for Britons to “walk the walk” and travel to Syria to fight the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

As part of a Facebook conversation Siddiqui, 45, defended the right of an individual to be called a martyr if he took up arms against Assad, and questioned whether those who fought against the Syrian president should face arrest upon return to the UK.

Former senior intelligence officials consider jihadists battling Assads government forces in Syria to be a potential threat. They estimate that up to 300 fighters have already returned to the UK from Syria. Scotland Yard has warned that Britain will live with the terror legacy of the Syrian conflict for years to come.

The foreign secretary, William Hague, believes as many as 400 British citizens may be fighting in Syria, recently confirming that security measures are in place such as the option of withdrawing leave to remain, cancelling passports and arresting UK jihadists who have been fighting in Syria or for terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis), which has seized control of swaths of northern Iraq.

Siddiqui, who ran Prevent in the south-west until 2012, pointed out that Britons were free to join the Israeli Defence Force and return to the UK without censure, while those taking up arms against what they viewed as a tyrannical dictator, Assad, faced arrest. He says he knew “nothing about” Isis at the time of the online conversation in February. He does not support the group.

“One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’ as the cliché goes, but one has to look at the nature, activities and goals of the organization and affiliation, not to mention potential longer-term implications (e.g., supporting the Mujahideen in Afghanistan which led to Taliban control and a base for Bin Laden).

But the worries regarding returning jihadists are legitimate. Their extreme views are incompatible with living in a diverse, open and democratic society.

British Muslims right to fight in Syria backed by ex-adviser on radicalisation | UK news | The Observer.