July 1. Mubarek Ali, a 35-year-old former ringleader of a Telford child sex abuse gang, was sent back to prison after breaching the terms of his parole. In 2012, Ali was sentenced to 22 years in prison for child prostitution offenses, but he was automatically released in 2017 after serving only five years. Telford MP Lucy Allan said that there are "many questions to be answered" about why Ali was released, and also about how the justice system treats so-called grooming cases:
"Now he is back in jail, justice demands that he must serve the remainder of his sentence in custody; anything less would show a casual disregard for the nature of his crimes and for the victims whose lives he changed forever."
July 2. Abdul Rauf, a 51-year-old imam from Rochdale, was imprisoned for one year and five months after admitting to assaulting more than 20 children at a mosque. Inspector Phil Key, of Greater Manchester Police, said:
"Abdul Rauf is a nasty, bully of a man who beat the children in his classes until it became normalised. The children were left cowering and holding onto their ears, their arms and their legs after he repeatedly used violence as a punishment. The parents of the children had no idea that they were leaving their children in the care of a man who would leave them writhing in pain and covered in marks and bruises."
Rauf is a different defendant to 49-year-old Abdul Rauf, formerly of Rochdale, who was convicted as part of a child sex gang that targeted girls as young as 13 in the town.
July 3. A judge in Iraq said that British jihadis found in the country would be executed by hanging. Abdul Sattar Beraqdar, spokesman for the Supreme Judicial Council, said that such a form of capital punishment would be good for British security:
"The punishment, as much as it seems strong, will affect the security of your country. I am sure there are hundreds of people in Britain at this moment thinking of committing similar crimes. That's why we, as Iraqis, if we are tough in sentencing these people, they will think thoroughly before taking any action."
Some 800 Britons have journeyed to Syria and Iraq to fight for the Islamic State, with 130 killed in the conflict, according to British officials, but it is unclear how many British jihadis have been captured or have faced the death penalty. A British Foreign Office spokesman said: "We oppose the death penalty in all cases."
July 5. Laurel Ellis, a conservative candidate for a council by-election in Merthyr Tydfil, a town in Wales, was suspended after sharing social media posts that were critical of Islam. Labour Assembly Member Dawn Bowden said that the posts were Islamophobic. A spokesman for the Welsh Conservatives said that the party seeks "to reach out to, and represent, all communities and people from all walks of life in Wales."
July 6. Police in London revealed that they intervened to stop a suspected "child sex party" at kebab shop in Bethnal Green. So-called "uck parties" involve young girls being plied with alcohol and drugs before older men have sex with them. Authorities in Tower Hamlets, which has the highest percentage of Muslim residents in England and Wales, have since revoked the kebab shop's alcohol license.
July 7. The Daily Mail reported that Imran Waheed, a 41-year-old psychiatrist with the National Health Service in Birmingham, is also working as an expert witness to British courts, even though he is an Islamist who has said he "does not believe in democracy" and is "not obedient" to secular law. In a BBC interview he said: "I've got no respect for any law other than Allah's, so I don't care about the law to be honest... I care for the law of Islam. I don't care for the law of any man."
July 8. An opinion essay published by the Guardian claimed that a new a new art exhibition in Florence reveals the "deep connection" between Europe and Islam:
"Embodied in the Renaissance view is certainly a sense of Islam as the other. But it is intertwined with curiosity, respect, even awe. There is a willingness, too, to reach beyond the otherness of Islam and to see the Muslim world not as demonic or exotic but as a variant of the European experience....
"Yet, at a time when many politicians present Islam as alien to the European experience, such shows are a useful reminder of how historically deeply intertwined are the worlds of Europe and Islam."
July 9. Amanda Spielman, the head of Ofsted, the schools regulator, accused Muslim groups of having a "sense of religious and/or cultural entitlement" and attempting to exert an outsize influence on school policy:
"... for some children, school may be the only time in their lives that they spend time every day with people from outside their immediate ethnic or religious group, or at least where the values of people outside their own group can be explained and openly discussed....
"Islamist extremists – particularly fuelled by the online propaganda of Daesh and others – prey on a sense of isolation and alienation in some minority communities."
July 12. Thousands of Muslim pupils in Blackburn, Burnley, Hyndburn, Nelson, Preston and Rawtenstall were instructed to boycott all school meals when they return to class in September. The move follows the decision by the Lancashire County Council to stop supplying schools with only halal meat from pre-stunned sheep and cattle.
July 13. Sophie Rahman, the former head teacher of Eton Community School, a primary school in Ilford, was banned for life from teaching after it emerged that she had allowed the London Bridge jihadi Khuram Butt to teach after-school Arabic classes at the facility. Butt reportedly told children that non-Muslims were the "worst creatures" and that it was okay for them to lie to their parents. A panel found Rahman guilty of unacceptable professional conduct. She confirmed that the last day that Butt taught the children was June 2, 2017. The next day, Butt, along with Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba, plowed a van into people on London Bridge before launching a knife rampage around Borough Market. The attackers were shot dead by police officers.
July 15. Samantha Lewthwaite, a 34-year-old British convert to Islam, was reported to be recruiting suicide bombers to target summer holidaymakers in Britain, Cyprus, Greece, Spain and Turkey. The mother-of-four — known as the White Widow after her jihadi husband killed himself and 26 others in the 2005 London suicide bombings — was feared to have recruited up to 30 jihadis, who have been taught how to build suicide vests and choose their own targets. An intelligence source said:
"The White Widow hates Britain and everything the West stands for. She has completely turned her back on her country and her former life. She has mentored dozens of female terrorists and favours white converts to Islam because she feels they attract less suspicion by the security services."
July 17. The Independent reported on an inquiry which found that the British government received information detailing the activities of Muslim pedophile gangs in Rotherham as far back as 2002 but failed properly to act on it, apparently out of fear of being accused of racism. A large-scale inquiry was not launched until a decade later, after a Times report on the scale of grooming in Britain provoked a national scandal. Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham, said it was clear that the Home Office knew about child sexual exploitation in Rotherham since 2002:
"Why, when so many in authority knew the scale and severity of this crime, did it take until 2014, with the publication of the Jay report, for a large-scale investigation to occur? How many lives could have been protected if swift action had been taken a decade before?"
July 18. Naa'imur Zakariyah Rahman, a 20-year-old British-Bangladeshi jihadi from North London, was found guilty of plotting to behead Prime Minister Theresa May. The court heard how Rahman, who was the focus of a sting operation mounted by counter-terrorism officers from the Metropolitan police and MI5, told undercover officers of his plans:
"I want to do a suicide bomb on Parliament. I want to attempt to kill Theresa May. There are lorries [trucks] here with big gas tankers, if a brother can drive it next to Parliament I will bomb. [God willing] will be very big if I'm successful. I can't mess up. I can't get [martyrdom] if I get caught."
July 20. Khalid Ali, a 28-year-old plumber-turned-jihadi from London, was handed three life sentences with a minimum term of 40 years in prison for plotting a knife attack on MPs and police outside the Houses of Parliament. Ali had three knives when he was arrested by armed police in Parliament Square on April 2017 following surveillance by counter-terrorism police. Ali spent five years in Afghanistan, where he made Taliban bombs used to maim and kill British and NATO troops. In an interview with officers, Ali said he wanted to deliver a message to British leaders telling them to leave "Muslim lands," destroy the state of Israel and release prisoners of war. "I would consider myself as a mujahid [Islamic warrior]," he added. "Jihad is what we do."
July 20. Former Prime Minister David Cameron said it is a mistake to understand terrorism as a clash between Christianity and Islam.
"Listening to Trump makes me feel that it is a clash between Christianity and Islam. It is wrong," Cameron said at an interactive session organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce...
"According to Cameron, it was, indeed, a clash within Islam - between the civilised ones who want to practice their faith peacefully and those who had taken a radicalised and perverted view of the religion."
"[T]he Crown Prince has demonstrated a level of conviction, clarity and coherence in identifying and understanding the nature of Islamist extremism that Western policymakers should seek to learn from. Britain should learn from Saudi Arabia and how it has demonstrated a clear commitment to tackling the politicization of Islam to inform policymaking, with no moral ambiguity in delineating Islam, the faith, from Islamism, a politicised ideology."
July 23. A leaked letter sent by Home Secretary Sajid Javid to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which revealed that Britain refrained from demanding "assurances" that two British jihadis, Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, not be executed in America, provoked a public backlash that they could face the death penalty. Diane Abbott, a Labour Party politician who serves as shadow home secretary, said that Javid's stance was "abhorrent and shameful." As a result, Javid abruptly halted cooperation with the United States on the case. The United States accuses the two men of being part of a cell that beheaded at least 27 people. The murdered victims include American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and aid-worker Peter Kassig. Britain abolished capital punishment for all crimes in 1998 and when assisting foreign governments with prosecutions, typically seeks assurances that the death penalty not be used.
July 24. Majud Hussain, a 41-year-old police officer from Nottingham, was sentenced to seven years in prison for raping a 17-year-old girl. Judge James Sampson told Hussain, a married father of four: "You have shown absolutely no remorse whatsoever. You are clearly a disgrace to the uniform of police officers and you are obviously unfit to be a police constable."
July 24. Khalid Baqa, a 54-year-old man from East London, was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison for disseminating jihadi literature on the London Underground. Commander Clarke Jarrett, Head of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command said:
"Baqa was reproducing and distributing terrorist related material in the hope of getting others involved and drawn into the same toxic ideology he was peddling. Not only that, but he also radicalised and involved a young impressionable 17-year-old, whom he then used to help distribute his pamphlets and CDs."
July 25. Home Secretary Sajid Javid ordered research into the ethnic origin of sexual grooming gangs, apparently in order "to discover why men convicted of group sex crimes are disproportionately of Pakistani origin." Javid, a British-Pakistani, said that exploring the "particular characteristics" of offenders was "critical to our understanding" of what happened across the country, including in Newcastle, Telford and Rotherham.
Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid (right) ordered research into the ethnic origin of sexual grooming gangs, apparently in order "to discover why men convicted of group sex crimes are disproportionately of Pakistani origin." (Image source: Carl Court/Getty Images)
July 25. Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland's biggest health trust, reported 17 cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) between April 2017 and January 2018. The women were aged from 24 years to 46 years. Their country of origin was not recorded.
July 26. The director of the Royal College of Midwives in Northern Ireland, Breedagh Hughes, said that women are being let down by a lack of clarity over procedures for reporting incidents of female genital mutilation (FGM):
"The fact that there have been no official, practical guidelines for nurses, midwives, social workers, anyone working at the coalface [on the front lines], means it's very difficult for anyone to know what to do when confronted with a case of FGM....
"There is also an issue of jurisdiction. If the offence was carried out on someone over 18 outside of Northern Ireland, what do they do?"
July 27. Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Britain expressed fears of violent persecution after cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan announced victory in Pakistan's general election. The Ahmadiyya community is considered heretical by orthodox Muslims because its followers do not believe that Mohammed was the final prophet, an offense, under Pakistan's blasphemy laws, that is punishable by death. "We are standing with Article 295c and will defend it," Khan said at a gathering of Muslim leaders in Islamabad. He was referring to a clause of the Pakistani Constitution that mandates the death penalty for any "imputation, insinuation or innuendo" against Mohammed. Some 30,000 Ahmadiyyas are living in Britain.
July 28. Six men were charged in connection with an acid attack on a three-year-old boy, who was on a shopping trip with his mother. The father of the boy, a 39-year-old Afghan asylum seeker, was among those charged in the attack. Police believe the Afghan man had intended to attack his estranged wife, who, with their three children, left him last year and moved to another house to start a new life.
July 29. The Sunday Times reported that not a single Christian was among the 1,112 Syrian refugees resettled in Britain in the first three months of 2018. The Home Office agreed to resettle only Muslims and rejected the four Christians recommended by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
July 30. A couple who tricked their teenage daughter into traveling to Bangladesh in an attempt to force her to marry her first cousin were sentenced to four-and-a-half years and three-and-a-half years to prison, respectively. The husband and wife, who were not named for legal reasons, were found guilty in May of using violence, threats or coercion to force their daughter into marriage.
During a three-week trial in Leeds, a jury heard that in 2016, the couple's daughter, then 18, was taken out of college during classes to go on what she thought was a six-week holiday to Bangladesh to see family and celebrate an Islamic holiday. She was told of the marriage plans less than a week after arriving in the country. When she refused to take part, her father threatened to slit her throat.
She was rescued days before the wedding was to take place after her younger sister contacted the British High Commission, which worked alongside the UK government's Forced Marriage Unit and Bangladeshi police to bring the woman back to the UK.