Al-Qaeda bid for Brit girl bombers: Extremist websites lure angels of death, MPs warn

Al-Qaeda is trying to recruit WOMEN to carry out suicide bombings in the UK, MPs warn today. It is using extremist websites to radicalise the angels of death, says their chilling report.

The Commons home affairs committee says it has heard evidence the terror group is “specifically launching and targeting women for violent acts”.

It is already a deadly tactic in the Middle East, where growing numbers of Palestinian women are volunteering for suicide missions against Israel. The MPs’ report comes days after four Islamic extremists admitted plotting to bomb the London Stock Exchange.

Sun, 6 February 2012

And who do you suppose was the source of this claim about Muslim women posing a particular threat of al-Qaeda-inspired terrorist violence? No surprise here. It was Rashad Ali of Centri (formerly the Sufi Muslim Council) and Maajid Nawaz of Quilliam.

Rashad Ali’s claim that “we know that Al-Qa’ida is specifically launching and targeting women for violent acts”, which the Sun quotes, was preceded by the admission that “statistically speaking, when looking at the convictions for individuals who have either undertaken terrorist acts or under the terrorism legislation of the UK, it is probably about 95% to 5% in terms of women and men”. So, even by Centri’s own statistical analysis, the scaremongering about Muslim women terrorists rather falls apart, doesn’t it?

The Home Affairs Committee’s report (which can be read here) is seriously compromised by the character of some of the individuals and organisations who gave evidence at the committee’s hearings. For example, the claim by Hannah Stuart of the Henry Jackson Society that university Islamic societies contribute to violent radicalisation by inviting extremist speakers to their meetings is reproduced in the report. The question of the reliability of such evidence, coming as it does from an organisation that happily promotes its own extremist anti-Muslim speakers, was ignored by the committee.

[Update:  To be fair, the committee didn’t entirely buy the widespread scaremongering over “campus radicalisation” from the HJS and others. The report notes that “a number of convicted terrorists have attended prisons and universities, but there is seldom concrete evidence to confirm that this is where they were radicalised”, and concludes that “the emphasis on the role of universities by government departments is now disproportionate”.]

Among the report’s recommendations is the following: “Addressing perceptions of Islamophobia, and demonstrating that the British state is not antithetical to Islam, should constitute a main focus of the part of the Prevent Strategy which is designed to counter the ideology feeding violent radicalisation.”

Unfortunately, the Home Affairs Committee rather undermined that recommendation by taking evidence from, and publicising the views of, people with a track record of inciting Islamophobia. Hence the report in today’s Sun.

For a more balanced account of the committee’s findings, see BBC News, 6 February 2012

Update:  See also “HA committee report on ‘Roots of Violent Radicalisation'”, ENGAGE, 6 February 2012