7/7 London Bombings Reflection
China Central Television (CCTV)- UK’s anti-terrorism policies should mainly focus on preventing people from becoming radicalized instead of just attempting to stop such attacks, a London-based anti-terror expert said recently, before the 10th anniversary of the July 7 London bombings which took place in 2005.
On the morning of July 7, 2005, a series of four suicide bombings took place chronologically in central London and paralyzed the city’s transport system, killing 52 innocent passengers and injuring more than 700.
All the four suicide bombers who were killed on the spot, as well as the escaped Samantha Lewthwaite who is now globally wanted, have been identified as UK citizens, making the attacks even more exceptional.
Haras Rafiq, managing director of Quilliam Foundation, a London-based think tank focusing on counter-extremism, told China Central Television (CCTV) that nobody could have expected that UK-born extremists could bring such attacks back to the country before the 7/7 bombings.
“I think essentially before 7/7 nobody really actually believed that people who are being radicalized will actually bring that wave of terror back home to the UK. We knew and we’ve realized that there were things that were happening abroad, we knew that people were being radicalized and people wanting to set an Islamist Utopian caliphate. But there was always this belief that people who were born here would never bring this form of terrorism back to our shores,” said Rafiq.
UK’s interior minister announced in November 2014 that the country’s intelligence department had busted 40 terrorist plots within the UK border since 2005.
Since the end of 2014, reports have revealed more cases in which UK citizens were proved to engage in terrorist groups.
Toward the phenomenon, Rafiq thinks that UK has failed to have an adequate preventive policy over the past 10 years.
“We really focused on stopping and preventing attacks happening here in the UK,” he said, noting that the country has only emphasized on preventing possible attacks after terrorists had been identified.
“What they didn’t do was have a policy, a strategy for the wider part – how do we prevent people, how do we stop people from becoming radicalized in the first place. We’re still waiting for that strategy. I think that strategy is imminent, but I think that’s being one of the biggest problems and one of the big holes, if you like in response. Coupled that way, sort of the inconsistencies, I think that we haven’t had a full prevent policy for the last ten years,” said Rafiq.
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