MI5: Radical Islamic Terrorism Remains ‘Most Acute’ Threat to the British People

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Radical Islamic terrorism remains the most acute security threat to the United Kingdom, according to the Director-General of MI5.

Writing in the London Evening Standard, Andrew Parker confirmed that “of the multiple terrorist threats facing the UK, Islamist terrorism remains the most acute.

“The abhorrent events in Sri Lanka are a stark and tragic reminder of terrorists’ determination and ongoing ability to perpetuate misery through launching large-scale attacks. There is no doubt that the fall of the so-called caliphate in Syria marked a significant military defeat and a hugely symbolic loss for Islamic State, but we must not be complacent.”

Mr Parker also warned of the dangers of far-right terrorism and of the recent violence in Ireland with Republican dissidents, resulting in the death of journalist Lyra Mckee — but it was his warning about radical Islamic terrorism that dominated his message.

He spoke of the difficulties of locating terrorists in Britain and said that even though the majority had been “inspired by ISIS propaganda”, many had shown “no interest in travelling to Syria” to fight for the Islamic State. Mr Parker said that “in 2018, 80 per cent (of instances dealt with) were conducted by people inspired by the ideology of IS but who had never actually been in contact with it in Syria or Iraq.”

Regarding the difficulty of locating the subjects, he said that new technology had made it a more difficult challenge to locate and prevent terror incidents: “The haystack is bigger and the needle smaller.”

His comments come after MI5 announced recently that the number of far-right terrorism cases in the United Kingdom is far smaller than the number of radical Islamic terrorism cases.

There were said to be “700 or so” live terror plots and 20,000 individuals classified as “closed subjects”. The actual breakdown of the respective numbers of terror cases was not released but MI5 did say that far-right cases are “absolutely dwarfed by the number of Islamist cases”.

This is despite the fact that Muslims make up only an estimated five per cent of the Britain’s general population, compared to a white population — the major recruiting ground for white nationalists — of 82 per cent.

This suggests that the rate and scale of terror recruitment within Muslim communities also dwarfs the rate and scale of far-right recruitment among the white population — although of course the Muslim community and the white population are not mutually exclusive.

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