Some Say London Has Become a Center of Islamic Terrorism Due to Tolerant Government

July 24, 2004

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

On July 24, 2004 the San Francisco Chronicle reported, "The presence of militants like Bakri has earned the British capital the sobriquet 'Londonistan' among diplomats and terrorism experts, who see London as a worldwide center of Islamic terrorism. 'The Islamists use Britain as a propaganda base but wouldn't do anything to a country that harbors them and gives them freedom of speech,' Camille Tawil, a terrorism expert at the Arabic daily Al Hayat, told the New Statesman magazine. Recently, however, British security officials have staged several high- profile crackdowns on suspected terrorists. On March 30, police netted eight suspects and more than half a ton of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, the ingredient used in the 2002 Bali nightclub explosion that killed more than 200 people. The bust came after months of bugging telephone lines and tracking suspects and following a web of leads across Europe and the Middle East, according to Peter Clarke, the deputy police commissioner who serves as Britain's anti-terrorism chief. The scheme was apparently planned abroad but was to be carried out by British citizens...on May 27, acting on an 11-count U.S. indictment, police arrested Abu Hamza al-Masri, the fiery former preacher at London's Finsbury Park mosque, the spiritual home of several notorious terrorists, including convicted shoe- bomber Richard Reid...other clerics continue to take advantage of official British tolerance to openly espouse jihad and support for al Qaeda."