Media Talk: The Rise of the British Jihad

Talk Thursday 30th October, 2008

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MI5 says that some 4000 British Muslim extremists are a threat to national security and that another major terrorist attack is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’. The investigative journalist Richard Watson, who has been at the forefront of reporting terrorism and extremism for BBC Newsnight, presents the results of his major investigation into the rise of extremism in Britain, which has just been published by Granta.

David Henshaw is the executive producer of Channel 4’s Dispatches: Undercover Mosque films.
Sheikh Musa Admani was the first imam to be appointed to a British university in 2001. He has grass roots experience of countering radicalisation among the Muslim youth and has developed counter radicaliation programmes abroad. Sheikh Musa has participated in Madrid Seminar (2006 – building successful communities), Paris Three Faiths Forum (2005), Peace Research Institute (Oslo 2005) and the Forum Barcelona (2004) to name a few. His contribution at the international level has been towards promoting durable peace and encouraging Muslims to work in partnerships with international Institutions. All those concerned have come to learn the need for people of different faiths and no faith to come together and tackle international concerns that are paramount to the wellbeing of society at large.
Iftikhar Ahmed is head of the London School of Islamics. He is a retired teacher and is originally from Pakistan. He arrived in the UK on a work permit as a teacher in 1967 and worked for the ILEA as a teacher in the 60s and 70s. He founded the first Muslim school in 1981 in the London Borough of Newham and for the last 35 years has been campaigning for state funded Muslim schools. In the 1970s, he took the ILEA to the HIgh Court and the House of Lords for discrimination and racism for refusing to give him time off to attend the obligatory Friday prayer in the Masjid. He also took the British Government to the European Commission of Human Rights for the same reason.
Usman Raja is recognized internationally as one of the most accomplished trainers in the sports of Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts. Using this platform he has been working actively to aid social integration of Muslim youth through the understanding of Islamic principles. Experience as a Jihadist in his teenage years motivated him to become a passionate spokesman fully committed to furthering the cause of tolerance and understanding both outside and within the Muslim community.

Richard Watson is the BBC’s Newsnight correspondent