Another twelve suspected Islamic militants who are not representative of their community were arrested in a joint police and MI5 operation yesterday in Liverpool.
This has brought the total number of terrorism related arrests in the Muslim community over the last seven years to well over 1,000.
Police from Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire searched addresses in Manchester’s Cheetham Hill and Liverpool and dramatically seized suspects outside the library of Liverpool’s John Moores University.
The men, who are all of Pakistani origin, were arrested after a long-term and ongoing surveillance operation into a plot to carry out bomb attacks in the UK.
Comments made to the media by onlookers during the daylight raids - made in a rush because details were inadvertently leaked - reveal much about how far those parts of the North West of England have been colonised by the Third World.
In a café on the Cheetham Hill Road, for example, where one of the raids took place, an eyewitness, Mr Mesu Raza, described the incident as follows: “I saw police arrest two people and put them in a police van. They had handcuffs on, they were Asian men, and the police were armed.”
A neighbour who lives next door to a terraced house raided by armed police on Galsworthy Avenue in Cheetham Hill said she thought the men who lived there were from Afghanistan.
Ms Bushra Majid, 33, a housewife, said: “I heard them sometimes in the backyard talking on mobile phones.
“I speak Urdu and they were talking Pashtun, the language of Afghans.
“You can tell between Pakistanis and Afghans and Kurds. Pakistanis and Kurds are whiter and have different style beards. These men were darker with longer beards.”
“They used to go to the local Al Falah mosque daily. There have been lots of terror arrests in Cheetham Hill. You are kind of used to it.”
Mr Billy Mortimer who lives further down Galsworthy Avenue also saw the raid and told a newspaper: “I thought it was terrorism straightaway. It is a large Asian community and there’s been a terror raid further up the street a few years ago.”
A 2008 report by Europol, the European Police Office, said that Britain is the focal point for Islamic terrorism across Europe, and its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq put the entire continent at risk.
According to the police report, a rejuvenated al-Qaeda was highlighted as the most significant security threat to the authorities in the UK.
At least one person is arrested every day across Europe under suspicion of involvement in Islamic terror conspiracies or attacks. Europol warned that the UK was recognised as fertile ground for radical Islamists seeking recruits to their jihadist campaigns, with “young, radicalised British citizens” often used to mount attacks.
The EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report revealed there were 203 terror-related arrests in the UK in 2007, thirty percent up on 2006, with the “vast majority” relating to Islamism. This compares with 201 Islamist-related terror arrests made across the 26 other EU member states during the same period.
Europol experts identified the lawless tribal areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan as troublesome, as they hosted training camps for some of the most committed jihadists. But the report also warned of other areas emerging as threats: in Somalia, “dozens” of British passport holders were fighting alongside the Islamists. There are also indications that terrorist training and attack planning, with a focus on the UK, is taking place in Somalia.
The report also warned that British foreign policy presented critical dangers for all Europe: “The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have a large impact on the security environment of the EU.”
Professor David Capitanchik, a terrorism expert at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, said: “We certainly face a greater threat, partly because we have such a large immigrant population which is more vulnerable to radical Islamic thinking.
“We are paying the price of giving political asylum for so long to individuals who were wanted for terrorist-related offences in their own countries.”
* Home Office figures show that of the 963 people detained under Britain’s terrorism laws between September 2001 and November 2005, 232 were identified in the department’s records as having applied for asylum, 214 of them before being arrested.
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