London , UK , November 6 2007 – Following the carefully timed speech yesterday by the head of MI5, Jonathan Evans, to newspaper editors, the focus has again fallen on allegations of "radicalisation" in the Muslim community. Mr Evans warned of "extremist communities" where young children are being "groomed" for "terrorist-related activity" and said the problem was growing, with 2000 people identified as terrorists – a 25% increase on his predecessor’s figures a year ago.
Speaking last year, Dame Eliza said, "It is right to be sceptical about intelligence." So it is extraordinary that Mr Evans’s claims have gone largely unchallenged by the media, politicians or commentators. Given the poor track record of the Intelligence services in relation to Iraq, the 7/7 attacks, the fabricated Manchester United plot and Forest Gate to name but a few, one would expect more critical scrutiny of his assertions.
Dr Imran Waheed, media representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, said, "What exactly did he mean by ‘terrorist-related activity’? Does this include similar actions to the recent sentencing of Muslim teenagers – under anti-terror legislation – for visiting websites, possesing DVDs or Islamic literature, though the judge acknowledged in that case that the defendant did not intend to carry out or support ‘terrorism’? In today’s Britain possession of Islamic literature is a crime and support for legitimate resistance movements is regarded as glorification of terrorism!"
"It appears that concerns about foreign policy shared by an overwhelming majority of the population – Muslims and non-Muslims – are now being portrayed as close to the support of terrorism. When Muslims point out the link between foreign policy and violence and instability, this is seen as evidence of "radicalisation". Anger in the Muslim community at horrific television images of human suffering in Iraq and Afghanistan is portrayed as ‘extremism’. Discussing such matters is ‘grooming’."
"These pronouncements, whether by Government or the Security Service, only serve to create a climate of fear and mistrust in the wider society allowing politicians to exploit and even perpetuate this climate. Liberal Democrat shadow home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg highlighted the timing of the release of these figures which came a day before Gordon Brown’s announcement on new anti-terror powers and said ‘It is crucial that the security services do not get drawn into politics’."
"We would suggest that his plea is a little late."