Terror Attacks

As Britain recovers from yet another terrorist attack, why are politicians reluctant to admit the main cause of Islamist terror?


Westminster, Manchester, London Bridge. Three terrorist attacks in three months. Saying: ‘enough is enough’ is not enough, Prime Minister.

Hi. I’m Leon Hawthorne… as Britain recovers from another killing rampage, what is to be done?

Three men armed with a van and blades, a self declared army of Islam, attacked Londoners on Saturday night. It will not be the last time.

The Prime Minister’s response was the predictable platitudes about standing strong and not giving in to cowards. But what is her counter terrorism strategy?

She attacks social media companies for allowing jihadist material to stay online.

She attacks technology companies for not giving spies greater access to our personal data.

She’s quick to say jihadists have a perverted view of Islam. That’s the politically correct thing to say, but she is wrong. It’s all there in the Koran. Who is she to say their interpretation is wrong?

But this is not a problem of theology. The terrorists’ ideas may be expressed using religion, but first and foremost, their grievances are political. For them, there’s no difference between the two.

The single biggest reason why these people turn to terrorism is because of British foreign policy.


Tony Blair started the current problem by waging wars of choice against Muslim countries.

But our meddling in the Middle East dates back to the Cold War and our Imperial history.

We cannot change the past, but we can determine our future. We should stop starting wars. Stop propping up corrupt regimes like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. And stop selling them weapons to suppress their own people.

The blood of their torture victims is on our hands. And we make ourselves targets because of this insane foreign policy.

Here’s a question… how would our strategic interest be impacted if Islamic State were the government of Saudi Arabia? They would still sell us oil. Maybe the OPEC cartel would collapse and oil prices would fall.

That’s a bonus.

My point is – we have no strategic interest in who governs these countries. Let them get on with their civil wars and we will buy oil from whoever wins.


Many of the recent culprits had been on MI5 watch lists.

Clearly, there is something wrong with the criteria for these lists.

Either someone is a threat or he is not. If he is, he shouldn’t be on a list, he should be behind bars. The law should make it easier to convict these people for their actions.

For example, it should be a criminal offence for a British citizen to fight in any conflict unless he is a member of the British armed services on active duty.

If you go and fight for any side in Syria, Iraq, Libya… you are automatically committing a crime, for which the penalty should be a hefty prison sentence. 10 or 20 years.

If people are dual nationals and want to fight for another country, there should be an option for them to irrevocably renounce their British citizenship. Then they can go, legally, and never come back.


Many of the terrorists are 2nd or 3rd generation children of immigrants, born or bred in Britain. But they feel no affinity for this country.

Some have mental health issues and use terrorism to give vent to the voices in their head. If it weren’t Islamic State, it would be little green men telling them to kill.

But for those who are serious radicals, they highlight a massive failure of immigration policy.

We need to think about assimilation before we allow any more immigration.

Immigrants must fit into British culture, add to it, enrich it, but not live separately from it.

So, we should ban Muslim schools because they are effectively racial segregation.

Muslim girls must comply with normal school uniform policies, which means no head scarves or head-to-toe coverings in school.

We should extend sexual discrimination laws to cover religious organisations. They are currently exempt.

That would force so-called Sharia courts in Britain from discriminating against women.

If people don’t like these policies, they should go and live in Saudi Arabia. We are a liberal country and we should not worry about using the force of law to protect liberal values.

I’m Leon Hawthorne. Thanks for watching.

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Journalist, broadcaster, media executive, academic, author.