Domestic terrorismReport: Terrorism in Britain "mostly home grown"

Published 7 July 2010

New study finds that that 69 percent of terrorist offenses in the United Kingdom were perpetrated by individuals holding British nationality; 46 percent of offenders had their origins in south Asia including 28 percent who had Pakistani heritage; 31 percent had attended university and 10 percent were still students when they were arrested; 35 percent were unemployed and living on benefits

Most terrorism in Britain is homegrown, according to the most comprehensive survey of those convicted of offenses over the last ten years.

The Centre for Social Cohesion has compiled profiles of 124 individuals convicted of Islamic terrorism offenses since 1999. It found that 69 percent of offenses were perpetrated by individuals holding British nationality.

Robin Simcox, co-author of the report, said their aim was to “focus the government’s counter-terrorism efforts.”

“There are clear trends emerging with those involving themselves in terrorist activity in the U..K,” he added. “It is crucial that this is recognized and then acted upon by the relevant authorities.”

His comments follow private remarks by Assistant Commissioner John Yates, Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, that the country faces “eye-watering cuts” in counter-terrorism funding that could hand an advantage to al Qaeda (“Scotland Yard: U.K. proposed budget Cuts ‘will increase terrorism risk’,” 6 July 2010 HSNW).

Douglas Murray, Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, said: “The report proves how great a threat violent Islamism poses to the world — and the fact that Britain is at the centre of this global struggle.”

The Telegraph’s Duncan Gardham writes that the Social Cohesion report outlines the links individuals had to terrorist groups, their nationality and ethnic origin, their age, hometown, occupation, and education, which other radical Islamists they were connected to and what legislation the government used to jail them.

The report also shows how Britain’s links to violent Islamism are almost two decades old by profiling almost 100 other offenses committed abroad since 1993 that are connected to Britain, including terrorist convictions, terrorist training, suicide attacks, and extraditions. The survey found that:
  • Almost half (46 percent) of offenders had their origins in south Asia including 28 percent who had Pakistani heritage — of whom at least 80 percent were British nationals.
  • Six of the eight plots, 75 percent, contained individual members who had trained in Pakistan and four of the leaders of those plots were directly linked to one or more Pakistani based terrorist groups.
  • The next most common origin for offenders was Somalia, accounting for 6 percent, demonstrating a growing threat from East Africa.
  • 16 percent were from families originally from East Africa and 12.5 percent from North Africa.
  • A total of 5.5 percent were from the Caribbean and 4 percent from the Middle East.
  • Of those that committed offenses, 32 percent had a direct link to one or more proscribed organizations, most prominently al Qaeda and the British group al Muhajiroun.
  • Seven out of Britain’s eight major bomb plot cells contained individual members with direct links to al Qaeda.
  • Those of Pakistani origin and Bangladeshi origin were most likely to be associated with proscribed organizations.
  • Just under half (48 percent) of offenses were committed by those living in London, largely in the North East of the city, and outside London the next most common regions were the West Midlands (13 percent) and Yorkshire (9 percent).
  • Nearly a third (31 percent) had attended university and 10 percent were still students when they were arrested.
  • 35 percent were unemployed and living on benefits.