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UK police identify 200 schoolchildren as potential Islamic terrorists, work out tactics

UK police identify 200 schoolchildren as potential Islamic terrorists, work out tactics

Author: Press Trust of India
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: March 30, 2009
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/uk-police-identify-200-schoolchildren-as-potential-islamic-terrorists-work-out-tactics/440581/

At least 200 schoolchildren in Britain, some as young as 13, have been identified as potential terrorists, prompting drastic new tactics to prevent teenagers becoming attracted to Islamic extremist ideology.

Sir Norman Bettison, Britain's most senior officer in charge of Terror prevention, revealed the number, which had leapt from 10 children identified by June 2008.

"Channel project" had intervened in the cases of at least 200 children who were thought to be at risk of extremism, since it began 18 months ago. The number has leapt from 10 children identified by June 2008," Bettison was quoted as saying by The Independent newspaper.

Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain agreed that in recent years youngsters have been attracted by terrorist propaganda emanating from al-Qaeda-inspired groups. "...Clearly in recent years some people have been lured by terrorist propaganda emanating from al-Qaeda-inspired groups," he underlined.

"It would seem that a number of Muslim youngsters have been seduced by that narrative and all of us, including the Government, have a role to play in making sure that narrative is seen for what it is: a nihilistic one which offers no hope, only death and destruction," Bunglawala said.

The scheme, funded by the Home Office, involves police officers working alongside Muslim communities to identify impressionable children who show attraction to extreme views or susceptibility to being "groomed" by radicalisers.

Keen to negate the idea that Muslim children were unfairly targetted, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPOs) on Saturday night said the aim was to steer vulnerable children away from radicalism before it was too late.

"We are targeting criminals and would-be terrorists who happen to be cloaking themselves in Islamic rhetoric. That is not the same as targeting the Muslim community," said Bettison, the chief constable of West Yorkshire Police.


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