Counter-Terrorism: Pakistani Fanatics in Britain

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April 17, 2006: British counter-terrorism efforts are facing a particularly difficult situation because of the large number of British citizens of Pakistani origin, and thousands of illegal migrants arriving from Pakistan each year. While most of the these people are not terrorists, some of them are, and many more are, according to several opinion surveys, sympathetic to Islamic terrorists. There are about two million people of Pakistani ancestry living in Britain, with over twenty percent of them born in Pakistan. When MI-5 (Britain's internal intelligence agency) began looking closely at the Pakistani community, they found a small, but substantial, number of young men who were quite eager to get involved in Islamic terrorism. The current estimate is that there are 400-600 of these potential terrorists in Britain. More are being created every month, as Pakistani parents send their children back to Pakistan for education. Sometimes, that education involves Islamic radicalism, and indoctrination about what a swell thing it is to be an Islamic terrorist.

Nearly all Pakistanis came to Britain for economic reasons, and most were successful. But, as with all migrant groups, a sizable minority did not do well (although they were still better off than if they had stayed in Pakistan). It also became acceptable to blame British society for the failure of those disaffected migrants. While that attitude is still popular, after the Islamic terror attacks of July, 2005, most Britons are less charitable when it comes to unhappy Pakistanis acting out by killing people. Many Pakistanis, particularly young men, romanticized the "Islamic revolution" and are eager to go to Pakistan to train to be Islamic terrorists. Historically, migrant communities have provided a disproportionate share of activists, and support, when there was unrest back in the old country.

 


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