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UK: MI5 warns of a 'generation' of Muslim terror

MI5 head has said there were at least 400 al-Qaeda terror suspects in Britain, though if that figure were broadened to include those who had attended jihadist training camps in Pakistan, the true figure would be 600.

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Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller made a speech yesterday at Queen Mary College, London, in which she outlined the current scale of the threat of terrorism looming over Britain. Manningham-Buller is head of MI5, the intelligence agency which is dedicated to homeland threats, as opposed to MI6, which deals with offshore threats. MI5 was founded in 1909, when it was called then the "Home Section" of the Secret Service Bureau. It gained its title "MI5" during World War One, in 1916, when it became "Military Intelligence, Section 5". Manningham-Buller has held her post since October 2002, and is not used to hyperbole or drama.

What she said in her speech was disturbing. She claimed that British authorities are investigating 30 major terror plots, and 200 cells which involve 1,600 individuals. In some ways, this is "old news". In July, MI5 revealed that it was tracking 1,200 suspects, from a larger pool of 400,000 extremist "sympathisers".

Since last year, MI5 has been increasing its workforce. It has doubled its numbers since November. In April, MI5 had been trying to recruit 800 people for their "G-unit" the Islamic terrorism branch. In April, MI5 had used additional funding to open offices in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham and Glasgow. There were plans to open offices in Wales and the southwest. Four new centers in the south-west, Wales, the east and the south-east will be operational by year's end.

Manningham-Buller had revealed in April that there were at least 400 al-Qaeda terror suspects in Britain, though if that figure were broadened to include those who had attended jihadist training camps in Pakistan, the true figure would be 600.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner at Scotland Yard, Peter Clarke, had confirmed in July that police officers are currently engaged in the investigation of 70 terror plots in Britain and abroad. He claimed that the majority of these investigations related to "the activities of British citizens against their fellow countrymen".

Dame Eliza's speech, which we will be reproducing in its entirety below, states that "Today we see the use of homemade improvised explosive devices, but I suggest tomorrow's threat will include the use of chemicals, bacteriological agents, radioactive materials and even nuclear technology."

She also warned that terror plots "often have linked back to al-Qaida in Pakistan, and through those links al-Qaida gives guidance and training to its largely British foot soldiers here on an extensive and growing scale."

Manningham-Buller does at least acknowledge that the terror threat is one created by Muslims. She states: "The extremists are motivated by a sense of grievance and injustice driven by their interpretation of the history between the West and the Muslim world. This view is shared, in some degree, by a far wider constituency. If the opinion polls conducted in the UK since July 2005 are only broadly accurate, over 100,000 of our citizens consider that the July 2005 attacks in London were justified."

She only mentions the word Muslim twice, and she mentions the term "anti-Muslim" once.

She says: "We also need to understand some of the differences between non-Western and Western life-styles; and not treat people with suspicion because of their religion, or indeed to confuse fundamentalism with terrorism. We must realise that there are significant differences between faiths and communities within our society, and most people, from whatever origin, condemn all acts of terror in the UK. And we must focus on those values that we all share in this country regardless of our background: Equality, Freedom, Justice and Tolerance. Many people are working for and with us to address the threat precisely for those reasons. Because all of us, whatever our ethnicity and faith, are the targets of the terrorists."

Yet at no stage does she mention the word "Islam" in her



Adrian Morgan is a British bas
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.
Filed under mi5, islam, united kingdom, terrorism, Terrorism
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