The Times reports:
A network of suspected far-right extremists with access to 300 weapons and 80 bombs has been uncovered by counter-terrorism detectives.
Thirty-two people have been questioned in a police operation that raises the prospect of a right-wing bombing campaign against mosques. Police are said to have recovered a British National party membership card and other right-wing literature during a raid on the home of one suspect charged under the Terrorism Act.
In England’s largest seizure of a suspected terrorist arsenal since the IRA mainland bombings of the early 1990s, rocket launchers, grenades, pipe bombs and dozens of firearms have been recovered in the past six weeks during raids on more than 20 properties. Several people have been charged and more arrests are imminent. Current police activity is linked to arrests in Europe, New Zealand and Australia.
Police are examining allegations that many of the guns were manufactured or reactivated, then sold over the internet to viewers of a right-wing website. Details of the previously secret operation were disclosed by Sir Norman Bettison, the chief constable of West Yorkshire, to security officials.
Police sources say that in a recent case not linked to the current arrests, detectives seized maps and plans of mosques from the homes of suspected far-right supporters. A senior Whitehall official said MI5 was monitoring the police investigation. While the security agency did not have a brief to probe right-wing terrorism, that position was constantly under review, said the official.
Fears have been heightened by the discovery of an alleged plot involving ricin, a lethal poison; two men have been been charged with offences under the Terrorism Act.
We’ve seen a fair number of neo Nazi terrorism related offences in the last few years. Many appear to have some connection to small and ultra-fanatical domestic British neo Nazi groups. However, if there are international terrorist connections – as was certainly the case during the 1970s and 1980s – that is an extremely worrying development.
There is also a report on the rise of far Right terrorism in the Mail:
Commander Shaun Sawyer, from the Met’s specialist operations wing told a meeting of British Muslims last night: ‘I fear that they will have a spectacular …
‘They will carry out an attack that will lead to a loss of life or injury to a community somewhere. They’re not choosy about which community.’
Let’s hope he’s not right.
As a footnote, there is also a quote in the Mail report from RESPECT candidate and Muslim Safety Forum activist, Abdurahman Jafar:
Abdurahman Jafar of the Muslim Safety Forum, where the concerns were raised, said:
‘Muslims are the first line of victims in the extreme right’s campaign of hate and division and they make no secret about that.
‘Statistics show a strong correlation between the rise of racist and Islamophobic hate crime and the ascendancy of the BNP.’
Mr Jafar is opposed to terrorism.
However, strangely, he appeared before the Joint Committee on Human Rights attempting to argue for an exclusion from the Terrorism Act 2006 for “legitimate resistance movements”:
Q178 Lord Lester of Herne Hill: How do you draw the line between what you were saying to us now, which is that it would be right to criminalise, I think you called it, the perversion of Islam on the one hand and other ideologies on the other where armed struggles are being advocated? I do not see how, speaking for myself, how the criminal law could draw such line, but does the Muslim Council have suggestions as to how that might be done, because it seems to me that what you call the perversion of Islam some people might regard as not the perversion of Islam, and political Islam and religious Islam, one can imagine all kinds of terrible controversies. How can you possibly in law make a definition of a bright line separating one from the other?
Mr Jafar: There could be a clause which excludes support for legitimate resistance movements as an exclusion.
Q179 Chairman: Are you saying, for example, there is a difference between the bombing of Woburn Place, the bomb in the market place in Jerusalem and the bomb in the market place in Delhi?
Mr Jafar: That is the crux of the problem. Maybe you cannot legally separate those.
Abdurahman Jafar was right to drop his argument. All terrorist groups believe that they are engaged in “legitimate resistance”. Neo Nazis believe that they are fighting in a “legitimate” race war: Hamas and other jihadist groups believe that they are engaged in a “legitimate” religious war. What joins them together, however, is their pursuit of their goals by means of the deliberate and directed murder of civilians.
I hope that it will now be accepted that the struggle against domestic terrorism isn’t just about ‘persecuting Muslims’.