- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 6, 2006

LONDON — Today, one year after London’s worst terror attack since World War II, organizers of a large Muslim convention say such an atrocity “must never happen again.”

But fears of a recurrence lurk just below the surface in the nation’s psyche.

That sense of foreboding deepened yesterday when Al Jazeera television broadcast a previously unseen video in which one of the four suicide bombers who killed 52 bus and subway commuters last July 7 warned of worse attacks.

“What you have witnessed now is only the beginning of a string of attacks that will continue and grow stronger,” said Shehzad Tanweer, whose explosive charge killed himself and seven others on a subway train.

The young man, wearing an Islamic head scarf, added that Muslims will keep up the attacks “until you pull your forces out of Afghanistan and Iraq and until you stop your financial and military support to America and Israel.”

Scotland Yard said the release of the video on the eve of the attack anniversary was calculated to cause “maximum hurt” to an already anxious British public.

The British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) recently quoted police and intelligence sources as saying that about 1,200 so-called “jihadists” in Britain — up from an estimated 800 a year ago — are “actively engaged in acts of terrorism at home or abroad.”

The BBC’s respected security correspondent, Frank Gardner, also reported that a number of sympathizers of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terrorist organization had been caught trying to infiltrate the nation’s MI5 domestic intelligence service.

Three attacks in Britain have been thwarted in the past year, he said.

The problem, Mr. Gardner said, is that the factors that drove the four terrorists to embark on what the British now know as the 7/7 suicide missions “are still around today.”

These scarcely concealed tensions prompted leaders of the Ahmadi Muslim sect to set up what they say will be Britain’s biggest Islamic convention. Organizers hope to attract 30,000 people to a village near London from July 28 to July 30 to “deliver a message of hope and point the way forward for Muslims” in British society.

“The atrocity of 7th July must never happen again,” said a statement issued by Rafiq Hayat, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association in Britain.

But, he said, “Mere denunciations of terrorism are not enough. We openly defy perpetrators of hate, and [we] want to ensure that our young will not be led toward extremism and sectarianism.

“True Islamic beliefs and values are the perfect recipe for creating a socially inclusive and cohesive society.”

But a new opinion survey shows that Muslim moderates such as Mr. Hayat face a mixture of disenchantment and rage fueled by the U.S.-led war in Iraq, the continuing Israeli-Palestinian crisis and a sense of victimization and alienation, particularly among younger Muslims.

The survey, conducted by the Populus polling organization for the London Times newspaper and ITV News, found that 16 percent of the 1,131 Muslims surveyed thought that the July 7 bombers acted for a just cause — even if the poll participants didn’t approve of the attacks — and that 7 percent thought suicide attacks in Britain could be justified in some circumstances. The latter number rose to 16 percent if the targets were military.

About 13 percent said the London suicide bombers should be hailed as heroes, and 2 percent said they would be proud to have a family member join al Qaeda. There are 1.6 million Muslims in Britain.

Alex Carlile, who has been appointed by the government to review its anti-terrorism legislation, said police and intelligence authorities have learned much about the threat from Muslim terrorism and “are working flat-out [to identify] those they believe are liable to carry out violent acts out of revenge for perceived injustices.”

But with that increased knowledge, Mr. Gardner conceded, “comes the grim realization that the problem is so huge that they cannot be 100 percent confident of stopping all attacks.”


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