Terrorism in the UK: Social media is now the biggest jihadi training camp

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If an Islamic terrorist is apprehended in Detroit or blows himself up in Stockholm, it doesn’t usually take long to trace their career progression back to Britain. The CIA despairingly refers to “Londonistan”, but the phrase doesn’t quite do justice to Britain’s ability to incubate terrorism all over the country. For various reasons – chiefly our being quicker to accept asylum-seekers than expel villains – Britain has ended up as a kind of finishing school for jihadis.

So it is no great surprise to learn that an estimated 400 Brits have so far been to Syria to join the rebels – after which, it is feared, they’ll return home radicalised by Islamist insurgents. It’s a fast-growing trend. Last year, the number of Syria-related arrests here was one every two weeks. So far this year, there has been one every two days. This explains the police’s unprecedented appeal to Muslim women, asking them to dissuade (or inform on) menfolk who enlist. It’s not clear how plausible such advice is, but there’s not much else the police feel able to do.

The war on terror, in Britain, has not been about border control or keeping an eye on foreign terror plots. Our terrorists tend to be home-grown, with one or two major attacks foiled every year. Only the 2005 London bombings were successful, but MI5 still has its eye on hundreds of suspects.

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