The Muslim population of Britain surpassed 3.5 million in 2015 to become around 5.5% of the overall population of 64 million, according to figures extrapolated from a recent study on the growth of the Muslim population in Europe. In real terms, Britain has the third-largest Muslim population in the European Union, after France, then Germany.
Islam and Islam-related issues were omnipresent in Britain during 2015, and can be categorized into five broad themes: 1) Islamic extremism and the security implications of British jihadists in Syria and Iraq; 2) the continuing spread of Islamic Sharia law in Britain; 3) the sexual exploitation of British children by Muslim gangs; 4) Muslim integration into British society; and 5) the failures of British multiculturalism.
January 7. The British-born Islamic extremist, Anjem Choudary defended the jihadist attacks on the offices of the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. In an opinion article published by USA Today, Choudary wrote:
"Contrary to popular misconception, Islam does not mean peace but rather means submission to the commands of Allah alone. Therefore, Muslims do not believe in the concept of freedom of expression, as their speech and actions are determined by divine revelation and not based on people's desires.
"In an increasingly unstable and insecure world, the potential consequences of insulting the Messenger Mohammed are known to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. So why in this case did the French government allow the magazine Charlie Hebdo to continue to provoke Muslims, thereby placing the sanctity of its citizens at risk?"
January 9. Muslim cleric Mizanur Rahman of Palmers Green, north London, also defended the attacks in Paris and declared that "Britain is the enemy of Islam." Speaking to an audience in London — his speech was also streamed online to thousands of his followers — Rahman said the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo were guilty of "insulting Islam" and therefore "they can't expect a different result." He added: "You know what happens when you insult Mohammed."
January 14. Zack Davies, 25, attacked a 24-year-old Sikh named Sarandev Bhambra with a machete at a Tesco supermarket in Mold, north Wales. British newspapers initially portrayed the attack as a "racially-motivated attempt" by a right-wing extremist promoting "white power." It later emerged that Davies is actually a Muslim convert who goes by the name Zack Ali. On the morning of the attack, Davies warned on his Facebook page of his impending assault, posting four verses from the Koran that call for violence against non-Muslims.
January 16. Rahin Aziz, an Islamist from Luton, was pictured in Syria brandishing an AK-47 rifle. In a tweet, Aziz, who also calls himself Abu Abdullah al-Britani, wrote: "Still deciding to what to do with my #british passport, could burn it, flush it down the toilet, I mean realistically its not worth spitting on."
January 16. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles sent a letter to more than 1,000 imams across Britain asking for their help in fighting extremism and rooting out those who are preaching hatred. Muslim groups responded by accusing the British government of stoking "Islamophobia" and demanding an apology.
January 17. The Telegraph reported that a convicted al-Qaeda terrorist with close links to the jihadist attacks in Paris cannot be deported from Britain because it would breach his human rights. Baghdad Meziane, a 49-year-old British-Algerian, jailed for eleven years in 2003 for running a terror network recruiting jihadists and fundraising for al-Qaeda, was released from prison five years early and allowed to return to his family home in Leicester. Since then, Meziane has successfully thwarted attempts to deport him, despite the government's repeated insistence that he constitutes "a danger to the United Kingdom."
According to The Telegraph, a close associate of Meziane, Djamel Beghal, mentored at least two of the suspected gunmen responsible for the killings — Amedy Coulibaly and Chérif Kouachi — while they were together in prison. Beghal's wife, a French citizen, is living in the UK, courtesy of British taxpayers. Sylvie Beghal lives rent-free in a four-bedroom house in Leicester. She came to Britain with her children in search of a more "Islamic environment," after deciding that France was too anti-Muslim.
January 20. The former chief of MI6, Sir John Sawers, in what can be seen as a recommendation for self-censorship, warned Britons not to insult Islam if they want to avoid Islamic terrorists from striking inside the country. He said:
"If you show disrespect for others' core values then you are going to provoke an angry response... There is a requirement for restraint from those of us in the West."
January 25. Tarik Kafala, the head of BBC Arabic, the largest of the BBC's non-English language news services, said that the term "terrorist" was too "loaded" to describe the actions of the men who killed 12 people in the attack on Charlie Hebdo.
January 26. It emerged that hospitals across Britain are dealing with at least 15 new cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) every day, and that the problem is especially acute in Birmingham. Although FGM has been illegal in Britain since 1984, there has not been a single conviction.
January 29. A Sky News investigation into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, a town in South Yorkshire, found that hundreds of new cases continue to emerge. In August 2014, the so-called Alexis Jay Report revealed that between 1997 and 2013, at least 1,400 children were sexually exploited, mostly by Muslim gangs, and that police and municipal officials failed to tackle the problem because of politically correct concerns over being branded as "racist" or "Islamophobic."
February 4. British police arrested 45 Muslim men on charges of child sex grooming. In Northumbria, 20 suspects appeared in court to face charges including rape, sexual assault and sex trafficking. The alleged offenses involved 12 victims, including one girl aged just 13. In Halifax, West Yorkshire, 25 men were charged with a number of child-related sex offenses.
February 4. The entire cabinet of Rotherham Council resigned after a report found that misplaced political correctness, combined with a culture of denial, allowed more than 1,400 girls to be routinely abused by gangs of Muslim men over a period of 15 years. Children as young as nine were groomed, trafficked and raped by members of the town's Pakistani community, but fear of being labeled racist meant town councilors turned a blind eye to the abuse.
February 8. More than 1,000 British Muslims protested in central London against what they called "insulting depictions" of the Prophet Mohammed by the French magazine Charlie Hebdo. Crowds carrying placards with slogans such as "Stand Up For the Prophet" gathered near Prime Minister David Cameron's office in London's Whitehall government district. The event was organized by a group called Muslim Action Forum, which is launching a lobbying campaign as well as series of legal challenges in the English court system to establish that depictions of Mohammed are a "hate crime."
February 25. Asif Masood, 40, an unlicensed drunk driver, apparently three times over the blood alcohol limit when he crashed his friend's car into a fire hydrant in Nottingham, avoided a prison sentence after he persuaded a judge that he had just rediscovered his Muslim faith and had quit drinking.
February 27. A judge in Liverpool stopped a trial after he discovered that the defendant, Kerim Kurt, had sworn on the Bible and not the Koran. Judge Patrick Thompson of the Liverpool Crown Court said Kurt had taken "an oath to tell the truth which was sworn on the New Testament." But it later emerged in cross-examination that he was a Muslim. Kurt insisted that he accepted taking the oath on the Bible because "he respected all holy books and wanted to swear on the holy book of the country in which he was residing." But Judge Thompson said he "took the view that Mr Kurt should have sworn on the Koran as a Muslim."
March 3. A government report found that nearly 400 British girls as young as eleven are believed to have been sexually exploited by Muslim rape gangs in Oxfordshire during the past 15 years. The report charged local officials with repeatedly ignoring the abuse due to a "culture of denial."
March 7. A leading liberal clergyman, Reverend Giles Goddard, vicar of St John's in Waterloo, central London, allowed a full Muslim prayer service to be held in his church. He also asked his congregation to praise "the God that we love, Allah." It is thought to be the first time an entire Islamic service has been held by the Church of England.
March 11. Reverend Canon Gavin Ashenden, one of the Queen's chaplains, expressed concern about more than 100 passages in the Koran that "invite people to violence." He was responding to comments by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who claimed that young people are turning to jihad because mainstream religion is not "exciting" enough.
March 12. A delegation of prominent British-Egyptians called for the UK government to proscribe the Muslim Brotherhood and ban its activities on British soil. The petition said: "Terror knows no borders, and the Muslim Brotherhood and its spin-offs know no mercy, their lust for power, quest for theocracy and desire for domination, make them all blood thirsty, and they will stop at nothing until they bring down civilization — West and East alike."
March 15. The British government announced that it would not classify the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
March 20. Newly released figures showed that the population of Muslim inmates in Belmarsh prison — London's de facto terrorist jail — has more than doubled in just four years. The number of Muslim inmates at the top-security "Category A" prison has jumped by 108% since March 2010, up from 127 to 265 in December 2014. Government data shows in spring 2010, Muslim prisoners made up just 14% of Belmarsh inmates, but fewer than five years later, that proportion had climbed to almost one-third. The proportion of Muslim prisoners in Pentonville prison jumped 40% while that in west London's Wormwood Scrubs had increased by almost a sixth over the same period.
March 23. A report warned that Muslim women across Britain are being systematically oppressed, abused and discriminated against by Sharia law courts that treat women as second-class citizens. The 40-page report, "A Parallel World: Confronting the Abuse of Many Muslim Women in Britain Today," was authored by Baroness Caroline Cox, a cross-bench member of the British House of Lords and one of the leading defenders of women's rights in the UK. The report shows how the increasing influence of Sharia law in Britain today is undermining the fundamental principle that there must be equality for all British citizens under a single law of the land.
April 1. Police in Turkey detained nine British nationals from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, who were allegedly seeking to join the Islamic State in Syria. The nine — five adults and four children, including a one-year-old baby — were arrested in the Turkish city of Hatay.
One of those arrested was Waheed Ahmed, a student of politics at Manchester University. His father Shakil, a Labour Party councilor in Rochdale, said he thought his son was doing an internship in Birmingham:
"It's a total mystery to me why he's there, as I was under the impression he was on a work placement in Birmingham. My son is a good Muslim and his loyalties belong to Britain, so I don't understand what he's doing there. If I thought for a second that he was in danger of being radicalised I would have reported him to the authorities."
April 5. Abase Hussen, the father of a runaway British jihadi schoolgirl, conceded that his daughter may have become radicalized after he took her to an extremist rally organized by the banned Islamist group, Al-Muhajiroun, run by Anjem Choudary, a British-born Muslim later remanded in custody, charged under section 12 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
Amira, 15, was one of three girls from Bethnal Green Academy in East London who flew to Turkey in February to become "jihadi brides" in Syria. During a hearing at the Home Affairs Select Committee in March, Abase blamed British authorities for failing to stop his daughter from running off to Syria. Asked by Chairman Keith Vaz if Amira had been exposed to any extremism, Hussen replied: "Not at all. Nothing." The police even issued an apology.
Abase, however, changed his story after a video emerged which unmasked him as an Islamic radical who had marched at an Islamist hate rally alongside Choudary and Michael Adebolajo, the killer of Lee Rigby. Abase, originally from Ethiopia, said he had come to Britain in 1999 "for democracy, for the freedom, for a better life for children, so they could learn English."
April 5. Victoria Wasteney, 38, a Christian healthcare worker, launched an appeal against an employment tribunal which found she had "bullied" a Muslim colleague by praying for her and inviting her to church. Wasteney was suspended from her job as a senior occupational therapist at the John Howard Centre, a mental health facility in east London, after her colleague, Enya Nawaz, 25, accused Wasteney of trying to convert her to Christianity. Wasteney's lawyers said that the tribunal broke the law by restricting her freedom of conscience and religion, enshrined in Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights.
April 5. In an interview with the Guardian, Nazir Afzal, Britain's leading Muslim prosecutor, warned that more British children are at risk of "jihadimania" than previously thought because they see Islamic terrorists as "pop idols." He said:
"The boys want to be like them and the girls want to be with them. That's what they used to say about the Beatles and more recently One Direction and Justin Bieber. The propaganda the terrorists put out is akin to marketing, and too many of our teenagers are falling for the image.
"They see their own lives as poor by comparison, and don't realize they are being used. The extremists treat them in a similar way to sexual groomers — they manipulate them, distance them from their friends and families, and then take them.
"Each one of them, if they go to Syria, is going to be more radicalised when they come back. And if they don't go, they become a problem — a ticking time bomb — waiting to happen."
April 8. The Guardian reported that there has been a 60% increase in child sexual abuse reported to the police over the past four years, according to official figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request which made public for the first time the scale of the problem in England and Wales.
April 8. The Leicester Crown Court jailed Jafar Adeli, an Afghan asylum seeker, for 27 months after he attempted to meet "Amy," an underage girl, after grooming her online. Adeli, 32, who is married, arranged to meet the girl after engaging in sexual conversations online and sending an indecent image of himself. But he was duped by a pedophile vigilante group called Letzgo Hunting. "Amy" was in fact a vigilante named John who was pretending to be a young girl.
April 10. Abukar Jimale, a 46-year-old father of four who sought asylum in the UK after fleeing war-torn Somalia, avoided jail time for sexually assaulting a female passenger as he drove her across Bristol in his taxi. Although Jimale was found guilty of sexual assault, he had his two-year sentence suspended. The defending counsel said that the Somali-born Jimale was a hard-working father who had lost his job and good name as a result of his crime.
April 13. Mohammed Khubaib, a Pakistani-born father of five, was convicted of grooming girls as young as 12 with food, cash, cigarettes and alcohol. The 43-year-old married businessman, who lived in Peterborough with his wife and children, befriended girls in his restaurant and then "hooked" them with alcohol in an attempt to make them "compliant" to sexual advances.
April 14. The president of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, Lord Neuberger, said in a speech that Muslim women should be allowed to wear veils in court. He added that in order to show fairness to those involved in trials, judges must have "an understanding of different cultural and social habits." Neuberger's comments came after a judge upheld a ruling allowing Rebekah Dawson, a 22-year-old convert to Islam, to stand trial wearing a niqab, a veil that only leaves the eyes visible.
April 20. A 14-year-old schoolboy from Blackburn, Lancashire, became Britain's youngest terror suspect. He was arrested in connection with an ISIS-inspired terror plot in Melbourne, Australia. Police said messages found on his computer and mobile phone indicated a plan to attack the centenary celebrations of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli during the First World War. (Anzac Day — April 25 — marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.)
April 20. Police in Turkey arrested a British couple and their four young children on suspicion of seeking to travel to a part of Syria controlled by the Islamic State. Asif Malik, his wife Sara, and the four children — aged between 11 months and 7 years — were detained at a hotel in Ankara. Turkish officials said the family had crossed into Turkey from Greece on April 16 and had been detained after a tip-off from the British police.
April 22. Four Muslim men were charged with child sex crimes in Rochdale. Hadi Jamel, 33, Mohammed Zahid, 54, and Raja Abid Khan, 38, and Abid Khan, 38, were each charged with one count of sexual activity with a girl who was under 16.
April 22. The Daily Mail published excerpts of a new book, "Girl for Sale," which describes the shocking ordeal of Lara McDonnell, who became the victim of a Muslim pedophile gang when she was only 13 years old. She wrote:
"Mohammed was selling me for £250 to paedophiles from all over the country. They came in, sat down and started touching me. If I recoiled, Mohammed would feed me more crack so I could close my eyes and drift away. I was a husk, dead on the inside.
"Sometimes, I would be passed from one pervert to another. In Oxford, many of my abusers were of Asian origin; [in London] these men were Mediterranean, black or Arab.
"Then, at the start of 2012 [some five years after the abuse began], Thames Valley Police asked to see me. They had been conducting a long-overdue investigation into sexual exploitation of young girls and wanted a chat. I told them everything, and by the end of March, Mohammed and his gang were in custody. Unbeknown to me, five other girls were telling police the same story.
"Mohammed's defense was laughable: he claimed I'd forced him to take drugs and have sex with me. His barrister, a woman, implied I was a racist because all the defendants were Muslim.
"Because the defendants were Muslim, the case had opened sensitive issues about race and religion. My view is clear: they behaved that way because of differences in how they viewed women."
April 23. The Birmingham Crown Court sentenced Imran Uddin, 25, a student at the University of Birmingham, to four months in jail for hacking into the university computer system to improve his grades. Uddin used keyboard spying devices to steal staff passwords and then raised his grades on five exams. Uddin is believed to be the first British student ever to be jailed for cheating.
April 25. The Telegraph reported that British taxpayers are paying the monthly rent for Hani al-Sibai, the Islamist preacher who "mentored" Mohammed Emwazi (aka Jihadi John, the ISIS executioner). Al-Sibai, 54, a father of five, lives in a £1 million home in Hammer-smith, a district in West London.
April 27. Mohammed Kahar, 37, of Sunderland was arrested after disseminating extremist material, including documents such as, "The Explosive Course," "44 Ways To Serve And Participate In Jihad," "The Book Of Jihad," and "This Is The Province Of Allah."
April 28. An 18-year-old jihadist, Kazi Jawad Islam, was convicted of "terror grooming" for trying to "brainwash" his autistic friend, Harry Thomas, "a vulnerable young man with learning difficulties," into attacking British soldiers with a meat cleaver.
April 28. Aftab Ahmed, 44, of Winchcombe Place, Heaton, was charged with threatening to behead David Robinson-Young, a candidate for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in Newcastle East.
May 3. Bana Gora, chief executive of the Muslim Women's Council, announced plans to create the country's first mosque run by women, for women, in Bradford. She said:
"In the Prophet's time the mosque was the center of community life and learning and we hope to replicate that model including women-led congregational prayers for women. Through the consultation process we intend to work with diverse groups, opinions and organizations including the Council for Mosques to create the ethos and spirit of the mosques during the Prophet's time."
May 7. A record of 13 Muslim MPs (up from 8 in 2010) were elected in the general elections in Britain. Eight of the Muslim MPs are women.
May 14. The BBC's Home Affairs Editor, Mark Easton, drew criticism after he compared the British-born Islamist Anjem Choudary to Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Tory MP Michael Ellis, a fellow member of the last home affairs select committee, said:
"The BBC seems obsessed with giving as much airtime as possible to hate preachers. To make a comparison between historic figures who campaigned for peaceful change and a hate preacher like Choudary is appalling, offensive and inflammatory."
Choudary himself rejected the BBC's comparisons:
"The comparisons with Mandela and Gandhi are false. They are kuffar [non-believers] going to hellfire whilst I am a Muslim. Alhamudililah [praise Allah]."
May 26. Abu Haleema, a radical preacher from London, who posted films online attacking British Armed Forces and vowing never to "submit" to democracy, was banned from using social media to promote his views. The ban prompted complaints from his supporters about the suppression of free speech.
June 1. Karim Kazane, a 23-year-old Muslim man, demanded that Zizzi, an Italian restaurant chain, pay him £5,000 (€7,000; $7,800) in compensation after he found a piece of pepperoni in a meal at their branch in Winchester. Kazane was halfway through a carne picante, advertised as containing beef and chicken, when he discovered the meat banned under Islam.
June 4. Mohammed Rehman, 24, from Reading and Sana Ahmed Khan, 23, from Wokingham, were charged with preparing for acts of terrorism in the UK. Both are accused of buying chemicals to manufacture explosive devices and of researching and downloading instructions for carrying out an attack, including a copy of the Al-Qaeda magazine Inspire containing an article titled, "How to Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom."
June 9. Sara Khan, the head of the anti-radicalization group, Inspire, told The Guardian that British teachers are afraid to report suspected Islamist extremism among their students out of fear of being labelled "Islamophobic."
June 10. A 34-year-old Muslim businessman from Cardiff was the first person in the UK to be prosecuted under forced marriage laws that entered into effect in June, 2014. The man was jailed for 16 years after admitting to making a 25-year-old woman marry him under duress. The man, who was already married, "systematically" raped his victim for months, threatened to go public with hidden camera footage of her in the shower unless she became his wife, and threatened to kill members of her family if she told anyone of the abuse.
June 11. A report warned that Britain is facing an "unprecedented" threat from hundreds of battle-hardened jihadists who have been trained in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It warned that more Britons are now trained in terrorism than at any point in recent memory.
June 11. Alaa Abdullah Esayed, a 22-year-old female refugee from Iraq living in Kennington, South London, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for tweeting messages that encouraged terrorism. Esayed posted more than 45,000 tweets in Arabic on an open account to her 8,240 followers between June 2013 and May 2014, with many tweets encouraging violent jihad.
June 12. Tamanna Begum, a Muslim woman living in Ilford, Essex, lost a legal battle to wear an Islamic jilbab, a head-to-toe gown, at a nursery because it posed a "tripping hazard" for children and staff. Begum filed a claim for discrimination because of her "ethnic or cultural background." Judge Daniel Serota upheld a previous ruling by the East London employment tribunal that the gown was "reasonably regarded as a tripping hazard."
June 13. Talha Asmal, a 17-year-old from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, who ran away from home in April to join ISIS, is believed to have become Britain's youngest suicide bomber when he blew himself up during an assault on an Iraqi oil refinery. Friends described Asmal as an "ordinary Yorkshire lad." That may be true in more ways than one: Dewsbury, a quaint former mill town, has been linked to more than a dozen Islamic extremists, including Mohammad Sidique Khan, the organizer of the July 7, 2005 London bombings.
June 15. An anti-Sharia group called "One Law for All" issued a statement calling on Britain's new government to abolish Islamic Sharia courts, which they described as "kangaroo courts that deliver highly discriminatory and second-rate forms of 'justice.'" The statement said:
"Though the 'Sharia courts' have been touted as people's right to religion, they are in fact, effective tools of the far-right Islamist movement whose main aim is to restrict and deny rights, particularly those of women and children.
"Opposing 'Sharia courts' is not racism or 'Islamophobic'; it is a defense of the rights of all citizens, irrespective of their beliefs and background to be governed by democratic means under the principle of one law for all. What amounts to racism is the idea that minorities can be denied rights enjoyed by others through the endorsement of religious based 'justice' systems which operate according to divine law that is by its very nature immune from state scrutiny."
June 19. A British judge ruled that a terrorism suspect did not have to wear an electronic tracker because it violates his human rights. The suspect, a 39-year-old Somali-born Islamic preacher who is accused of radicalizing young British Muslims, said he thought that MI5 had placed a bomb inside the bracelet, and that wearing the monitoring device was making him "delusional." The judge, Mr. Justice Collins, ruled this amounted to a breach of Article 3 of the Human Rights Act, which is meant to prohibit torture.
June 24. It emerged that police in Birmingham knew that Muslim sex grooming gangs were targeting children outside the city's schools but did not alert the public out of fears of being accused of "Islamophobia." A confidential report obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showed that police were worried about "community tensions" if the abuse from predominantly Pakistani grooming gangs was made public.
July 1. The director general of the BBC, Tony Hall, rejected demands from a cross-party group of MPs to stop the broadcasting corporation from using the term "Islamic State" to refer to the terrorist group. More than 100 MPs signed the letter calling on the broadcaster to begin using the term "Daesh" (the Arabic acronym for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) when referring to the Islamic State. The letter, which was drafted by Rehman Chishti, a Pakistani-born Conservative MP, stated:
"The use of the titles: Islamic State, ISIL and ISIS gives legitimacy to a terrorist organization that is not Islamic nor has it been recognized as a state and which a vast majority of Muslims around the world finds despicable and insulting to their peaceful religion."
The MPs made their demand in a letter following criticism from Prime Minister David Cameron, who rebuked the BBC for referring to the Islamic State by its name. During an interview with BBC Radio 4's "Today" program on June 29, Cameron said:
"I wish the BBC would stop calling it 'Islamic State' because it is not an Islamic state. What it is, is an appalling, barbarous regime. It is a perversion of the religion of Islam, and, you know, many Muslims listening to this program will recoil every time they hear the words 'Islamic State.'"
Hall said that using Daesh would not preserve the BBC's impartiality as it risked giving an impression of support for the group's opponents. He said the term is used pejoratively by its enemies. Daesh is close to "Dahes," Arabic for "one who sows discord."
July 20. David Cameron outlined a new five-year plan to fight Islamic extremism in Britain. In a landmark speech in Birmingham, Cameron called the fight against Islamic extremism the "struggle of our generation."
July 27. The Telegraph reported that the number of children and teenagers referred to counter-radicalization programs is set to double in just two years because of the growing allure of ISIS. Youngsters are being reported to the Channel Project, a government anti-radicalization program, at a rate of more than one a day amid fears many are at risk of becoming jihadists. In one case, a three-year-old child was referred to the scheme. Other instances have included schoolchildren who have drawn pictures of bombs or made Islamist threats.
August 1. The Daily Mail reported that Shamima Begum, 15, who fled her East London home to become a jihadi bride in Syria, was radicalized at a women's charity based at the East London Mosque, one of the biggest mosques in Britain. Islamic leaders and some of their family members initially blamed the Internet for grooming her, but the Mail discovered that Sharmeena was first radicalized inside the East London Mosque, allegedly by women from the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE), a group with links to the Muslim Brotherhood.
August 5. Anjem Choudary, a British-born Islamic extremist, was remanded in custody, charged with the terrorism offense of encouraging people to join ISIS. Choudary, 48, and Mohammed Rahman, 32, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court and were charged with repeatedly violating Section 12 of the Terrorism Act. Choudary said he is not afraid of going to prison, which he describes as a fertile ground for gaining more converts to Islam. "If they arrest me and put me in prison, I will carry on in prison," he warned. "I will radicalize everyone in prison."
August 18. A judge in London ordered a 16-year-old girl to be removed from her parents after they groomed her to become a jihadi bride. Police found her home filled with jihadist propaganda, including a book titled, "How to Survive in the West — A Mujahid's Guide." Mr. Justice Hayden said her "deceitful" mother and father had done as much harm to her as child molesters. Her flight to Syria was stopped by counter-terrorism officers who removed her from a Turkey-bound plane already taxiing on the runway at Heathrow Airport.
August 26. A 16-year-old schoolgirl pleaded guilty to two terror charges when she appeared at Manchester's main youth court. She admitted the charges after bomb-making recipes were found on her phone, along with pictures of dead children, executions and ISIS propaganda.
September 17. An appeals court in London ruled that it was proper for Jamal Muhammed Raheem Ul Nasir, a child molester who abused two Muslim girls, to have been given a longer sentence than if his victims had been white — because Muslim sex crime victims suffer more due to shame. Lawyers for the pedophile argued that his original sentence was too harsh. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said:
"British justice should operate on a level playing field and children need to be protected irrespective of cultural differences. Regardless of race, religion, or gender, every child deserves the right to be safe and protected from sexual abuse, and the courts must reflect this."
September 18. The Times reported that British intelligence are monitoring more than 3,000 homegrown Islamist extremists willing to carry out attacks in Britain. According to the report, British men and women, many in their teens, are being radicalized within weeks to the point of violence.
September 26. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Margate, Kent, apologized to Air Force Sergeant Mark Prendeville after he was moved away from other patients because some members of the staff said his uniform might cause offense to Muslim patients.
Also in September, a London art exhibition celebrating freedom of expression banned anti-ISIS artwork after police raise security concerns. "ISIS Threaten Sylvania," a series of seven satirical tableaux featuring the children's toys Sylvanian Families, was removed from the Passion for Freedom exhibition after police raised concerns about the "potentially inflammatory content" of the work. The police informed the organizers that, if they went ahead with their plans to display it, they would have to pay £36,000 ($53,000) for security for the six-day show.
October 9. Channel 4 News reported that Muslim convert Jamal al-Harith, who was awarded a £1 million ($1.5 million) payout by the British government after being released from the Guantánamo Bay detention camp in Cuba, has fled to Syria and joined ISIS.
October 12. Nadir Syed, 21, Yousaf Syed, 19, and Haseeb Hamayoon, 27, appeared at Woolwich Crown Court for the opening day of their trial. Prosecutors say the trio planned, in the name if ISIS, to behead people on the streets of the streets of Britain. They had also allegedly planned to use a hunting knife to murder a police officer, soldier or member of the public on Remembrance Day, also known as Armistice Day, a national holiday commemorating the end of World War I. The court heard that the men seemed "unnaturally interested in murders and beheadings."
October 25. It emerged that Abdulrahman Abunasir, an immigrant who sexually assaulted a woman within two weeks of arriving in Britain, is blocking attempts to deport him by claiming to be a Syrian refugee. Abunasir submitted a claim for asylum while serving an 18-month prison sentence for the sex attack. When immigration officials questioned him, however, they found he could not answer even simple questions about Syria. British officials say there is a "very high degree of certainty" that Abunasir is from Egypt, but due to European human rights laws, they cannot deport him because they cannot prove his nationality.
October 27. A Muslim worker at a nuclear power plant in West Kilbride, Scotland, was removed from the premises after he was caught studying bomb-making materials while on the job. A source at the plant said: "You can't have people with access to a nuclear core having any sort of interest in explosives. No one knows what was going through his head, but it's not what you want to see in a nuclear power plant."
October 29. The British Muslim Youth, an Islamic group in Rotherham, called on Muslims to boycott the police because the investigation into child sexual exploitation in the town amounts to "marginalization and dehumanization" of Muslims. In a message posted online, the group ordered fellow Muslims to immediately cut all ties with law enforcement or face being made pariahs in their own neighborhoods.
October 30. Atiq Ahmed, 32, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for threatening to behead a police officer. Police found a stash of videos of executions and beheadings at his home. After watching the videos, Judge Michael Topolski QC said: "Many of them are deeply disturbing, truly horrifying and bear no relation whatsoever to the true practices and principles of the ancient venerable religion."
November 1. The Independent published an opinion article titled, "The Prophet Mohammed had British values — so the only way to combat extremism is to teach more Islam in schools."
November 1. The Sunday Times revealed that government investigators found that non-Muslim inmates in several of Britain's top security prisons are being forced to pay a "protection tax" to radical Muslim prisoners out of fear of facing violence. The "tax," also known as "jizya," is being imposed by gangs of Islamic extremists at Belmarsh, Long Lartin, Woodhill and Whitemoor prisons. Non-Muslim inmates said they have been bullied and threatened with violence unless they made payments with phone cards, food, tobacco or drugs. Some of the alleged victims said they were told to arrange for friends and family on the outside to transfer money to bank accounts controlled by Islamists.
November 3. Kasim Ali, 25, and his cousins Adeel Ali, 20, and Razi Khalid, 18, who were found guilty of an "honor attack" on the boyfriend of one of their sisters, were spared prison sentences. The three men, all from Blackburn, Lancashire, targeted Aquib Baig because their family did not approve of him seeing their sister. They rammed his car before chasing him into a store, where they kicked and beat him in front of horrified shoppers. The judge, Recorder Julian Shaw, said:
"There is no place for any religious or honor based violence. It's abhorrent, it's against your religion, and it's unlawful. I hope you're all truly ashamed to find yourselves standing in this court. Your families are no doubt scratching their heads thinking what did we do wrong? Here they are being humiliated and embarrassed as we watch you, a cowardly group, attack someone else. Go back to your community, your families and build your reputation again. Don't ever come back to haunt this court with any honor-based violence."
November 9. It emerged that Muslim teachers at Oldknow Academy, a school implicated in the "Trojan horse" scandal, an attempt to Islamize British schools, forced pupils to recite anti-Christian chants in assemblies. Former teachers Jahangir Akbar and Asif Khan allegedly led pupils by shouting, "We don't believe in Christmas, do we?" and "Jesus wasn't born in Bethlehem, was he?" Christopher Gillespie, the lawyer representing the National College for Teaching and Leadership, said, "An agreement was made to introduce an undue amount of religious influence into the education of Oldknow School. The distinction between a faith school and a state school was being blurred if not obliterated."
November 12. British police arrested Bakr Hamad, Zana Abdul Rahman, Kadir Sharif and Awat Wahab Hamasalih as part of a European anti-terrorism operation linked to plots to recruit suicide bombers and kidnap Western diplomats. The four men, all believed to have been granted refugee status in Britain from Iraq, were part of an al-Qaeda splinter group using the Internet to recruit suicide bombers, establish "sleeper cells" inside Europe and attack targets overseas.
November 13. Yahya Rashid, 19, was convicted, in a trial at Woolwich Crown Court, on two counts of preparing to commit acts of terrorism. Rashid used his student loan to book flights to Turkey for himself and four others, with the intention of traveling on to Syria to join ISIS. Following pleas from his family to return home, Rashid eventually changed his mind and remained in Turkey. He was returned to London in March 2015, and arrested on his arrival.
November 17. Nissar Hussain, a 49-year-old father of six who converted to Christianity, was savagely attacked outside his home in St Paul's Road, Manningham. A video of the attack, captured by Hussain's home CCTV, shows two hooded men get out of a car parked in front of his house and strike him 13 times with a pickaxe. Police are treating the attack as a religious hate crime. Hussain said he and his family have endured a life of harassment, intimidation and fear at the hands of Muslim hardliners since 2008, when they appeared in a Channel 4 documentary about the mistreatment of Muslim converts.
December 9. Police officers corroborated a claim by US presidential candidate Donald Trump that parts of London are no-go areas for British police because of Muslim extremism. Trump's claims were derided by Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson. Home Secretary Theresa May insisted, "The police in London are not afraid to go out and police the streets." The Metropolitan Police issued a statement saying:
"We would not normally dignify such comments with a response, however, on this occasion we think it's important to state to Londoners that Mr Trump could not be more wrong. Any candidate for the presidential election in the United States of America is welcome to receive a briefing from the Met police on the reality of policing London."
But a Lancashire Police officer said: "There are Muslim areas of Preston that, if we wish to patrol, we have to contact local Muslim community leaders to get their permission." Another policeman said that he and other colleagues fear being terror targets and spoke of the "dire warning" from bosses not to wear a uniform "even in my own car." Yet another officer said: "Islamification has and is occurring. Muslim areas are not new."
An officer from Yorkshire wrote:
"In this instance he [Trump] isn't wrong. Our political leaders are best either ill-informed or simply being disingenuous. He's pointed out something that is plainly obvious, something which I think we aren't as a nation willing to own up to — do you think a US police department would ban officers from wearing their uniforms...due to FEAR of their cops being killed by extremists?"
December 17. The British government published a long-awaited review on the Muslim Brotherhood. The so-called Jenkins Report concludes that the "Muslim Brotherhood has not been linked to terrorist-related activity in and against the UK." But it also raises concerns over the "sometimes secretive, if not clandestine" way the Brotherhood has operated in the recent past to shape Muslim thinking through three groups: the Muslim Association of Britain, the Muslim Council of Britain and the Islamic Society of Britain.
December 17. The Waltham Forest Council of Mosques, which claims to represent 70,000 Muslims in London, vowed to boycott the government's anti-terrorism Prevent program after accusing the policy of being a racist attack on the Islamic community. It was the first time a council of mosques issued such a boycott, and undermines the government's attempt to involve religious communities in the fight against radicalization.
December 26. The Times reported that Muslims are boycotting the government's anti-terrorism Prevent program; less than a tenth of extremism tip-offs are coming directly from the Muslim community. The revelation that there were fewer than 300 community tip-offs in six months will raise concern that the police are being denied information that might prevent terrorist attacks.
December 29. Mohammed Rehman, 25, and wife Sana Ahmed Khan, 24, were found guilty of planning an ISIS-inspired terror attack on a London shopping center or the London underground. Their plot was only foiled when Rehman, using the Twitter handle 'SilentBomber,' sent a tweet asking for advice on which was the best target. Officers then raided his home in Reading, Berkshire, where they found 10 kg (22 lbs.) of nitrate explosives. The prosecution said Rehman was just days away from completing the device, which would have caused many casualties if he had not been stopped by anti-terror police.
During the trial, the court heard that Khan had underlined passages in a copy of the Koran that read: "Slay them wherever you find them and drive them out from the places they drove you out... such is the reward of the unbelievers." Another marked passage read: "Warfare if ordained for you though it is hateful for you. It may happen that you hate a thing that is good for you and that you love a thing that is bad for you."
Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter. His first book, Global Fire, will be out in early 2016.