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London Bridge Attack: UK should tackle radicalization seriously

  • Published at 12:13 am June 4th, 2021
People attend a vigil to remember the victims of the attack on London Bridge
People attend a vigil to remember the victims of the attack on London Bridge and Borough Market, at Potters Field Park, in central London Reuters

The attacker was radicalized by watching YouTube videos of US hate preacher Ahmad Musa Jibril

The Counter Extremism Project has asked the UK government to take the risk of extremists seriously and to tackle radicalization both online and on the ground.

A New York-based non-profit non-governmental organization that combats extremist groups, the CEP made the statement on Thursday on the fourth anniversary of the London Bridge attack.

On June 3, 2017, three Islamist terrorists drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge and proceeded to stab people in the nearby area, taking the lives of eight and injuring almost 50 others. 

The suspected ringleader, Khuram Butt, was a member of the banned extremist group al-Muhajiroun, then led by the internationally-designated Islamist cleric and convicted ISIS supporter, Anjem Choudary.

According to a friend, Butt was radicalized by watching YouTube videos posted by US hate preacher Ahmad Musa Jibril, who produced online lectures that praised jihad and reportedly influenced many Westerners to fight in the Syrian conflict. 

Butt had twice been cautioned by the police and had been investigated by MI5 for his extremist connections. 

David Ibsen, executive director of the CEP, said: “The anniversary of this attack comes as the inquest of Usman Khan, the terrorist responsible for the 2019 London Bridge attack, has reached its final conclusions. Both incidents highlight the need to take the risk of extremists in the UK seriously and to tackle radicalization from all angles – online and on the ground.”

He mentioned that following the 2017 attack, then prime minister Theresa May had called for tighter internet regulations to ensure extremists were purged from their safe spaces online. 

“For too long, Big Tech was allowed to evade responsibility and failed to protect users by allowing terrorist content to exist online.

“The introduction of the UK Online Safety Bill is a welcome step towards ensuring the safety of children and adults online. It will help protect the most vulnerable from radicalization and ultimately be invaluable in the fight against terror,” said Ibsen.

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