Terrorism in the UK

Terrorism in the United Kingdom, according to the Home Office, poses a significant threat to the state.[1] 1834 people were arrested in the United Kingdom from September 2001 to December 2009 in connection with terrorism, of which 422 were charged with terrorism-related offences and 237 were convicted.[2] The British state has itself been involved in terrorism in Northern Ireland.[3][4][5][6]

Banned organisations

The British government has designated 58 organisations as terrorist and banned them. 44 of these organisations were banned under the Terrorism Act of 2000. Two of these were also banned under the Terrorism Act of 2006 for "glorifying terrorism." The other fourteen organisations operate (for the most part) in Northern Ireland, and were banned under previous legislation.[1]

International organisations

International organisations the government has designated as terrorist and banned are:[1]

Irish organisations

Irish organisations the British government has banned are:[1]

Terrorist Incidents in the United Kingdom

There have been many historically significant terrorist incidents within the United Kingdom, from the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 to the various attacks related to The Troubles of Ireland. In recent history, the UK security services have focused on the threat posed by radical Islamic militant organisations within the UK, such as the cell responsible for the 7 July 2005 London bombings.

Profile of a British terrorist

A "restricted" 12 June 2008 MI5 analysis of "several hundred individuals known to be involved in, or closely associated with, violent extremist activity" concludes that British terrorists "are a diverse collection of individuals, fitting no single demographic profile, nor do they all follow a typical pathway to violent extremism".[7]

Around half were born in the United Kingdom, the majority are British nationals and the remainder, with a few exceptions, are here legally. Most UK terrorists are male, but women are often aware of their husbands', brothers' or sons' activities. While the majority are in their early to mid-20s when they become radicalised, a small but not insignificant minority first become involved in violent extremism at over the age of 30. Those over 30 are just as likely to have a wife and children as to be loners with no ties. MI5 says this challenges the idea that terrorists are young Muslim men driven by sexual frustration and lured to "martyrdom" by the promise of beautiful virgins waiting for them in paradise.[7]

Those involved in British terrorism have educational achievement ranging from total lack of qualifications to degree-level education. However, they are almost all employed in low-grade jobs.[7]

Far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could actually be regarded as religious novices. Very few have been brought up in strongly religious households, and there is a higher than average proportion of converts. Some are involved in drug-taking, drinking alcohol and visiting prostitutes. The report claims a well-established religious identity actually protects against violent radicalisation, while the influence of clerics in radicalising British terrorists has reduced in recent years.[7]


The Sun newspaper obtained a leaked memo from the British government, originally dating 17 January, in late January 2007 detailing a proposed plan to place X-ray cameras in lampposts to see through clothes and identify terrorists. The memo says Home Office officials believe "detection of weapons and explosives will become easier... The social acceptability of routine intrusive detection measures and the operational response required in the event of an alarm are likely to be limiting factors." The Home Office did not comment on the memo.[8]

See also


External links

  • Efforts to curb politicised Islam backfiring - study
  • DEAD LINK: Pak-UK talks for joint framework on anti-terrorism Open this result in new window
  • MI5 watch 2,000 terror suspects BBC News, May 4, 2007.
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