The ringleader in the London attacks was part of an Islamist group known to the authorities and tolerated for far too long. Such non-violent extremist groups must now be proscribed.
Police have named Khuram Butt and Rachid Redouane, both from Barking, as two of the three perpetrators of the London terrorist attacks. This fits with Henry Jackson Society research published earlier this year, which found that 22% of convicted UK Islamist terror-related offenders between 1998–2015, resided in East London.
Butt was previously known to authorities as an individual with extremist views and was part of a prominent group of London-based pro-Islamic State Islamists (IS). The group included among its members Abu Rumaysah who travelled to Syria to join IS and is believed to have replaced Mohammed Emwazi as Islamic State’s English speaking executioner. This is group of extremists that are ideologically aligned with the Islamist ideologue Anjem Choudary who is believed to be responsible for inspiring over 100 British jihadists. Research by the Henry Jackson Society found that 25% of all UK Islamist terror-related offenders between 1998-2015 were linked to Al Muhajiroun.
Others in Khuram Butt’s circle included the hate preacher Mohammed Shamsuddin and notorious extremist Abu Haleema, who developed a significant social media following and whose videos Youtube refused to remove in March of this year. Haleema was linked to the radicalisation of the individual behind the Anzac Day beheading plot. It is reported that Khuram Butt was also influenced by the online videos of the American preacher and non-violent extremist Ahmad Musa Jibril. Again, Youtube has failed to remove this material.
We cannot carry on allowing these groups and individuals to freely advocate their dangerous and destructive message. The Government has a duty to demonstrate that ‘enough is enough’ is more than an empty slogan, by taking robust steps to stamp out extremist Islamist groups.
The Henry Jackson Society’s Executive Director Dr Alan Mendoza said:
“Confirmation of the attackers’ identities confirms what was always likely to be true – that those responsible for the past weekend’s atrocities were integrated within a continuum of extremist thought.
“Though the security services will always do their best to find attackers before they strike, preventing future attacks demands that the government stamp out non-violent extremist so that those who wish us harm have no place to hide.”