16th December 2015
CST has submitted evidence to the Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry into the fight against Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL), otherwise known as ISIS. CST is at the forefront in the fight against antisemitism, and this includes working with the government to support the Jewish community in matters of antisemitism, extremism and terrorism.
CST’s submission states:
“Government, Police and the Security Services have all assessed the serious terrorist threat that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) poses to the UK and its interests. A primary component of this comes from the security implications of British nationals who travelled abroad to fight with jihadist groups, returning to the UK skilled and potentially motivated to undertake attacks at home.”
CST’s primary focus is antisemitism and the evidence submitted specifically examines ISIL’s terrorist threat directed towards Jewish communities in the UK and worldwide. A key component of ISIL and wider Salafi Jihad ideology is antisemitism and incitement for violence. Tragically we have seen four attacks that have directly targeted Jewish communities in Europe since 2012: in Toulouse, Copenhagen, Paris and Brussels. These attacks were perpetrated by European Muslims who were followers and supporters of global jihadist organisations, including ISIL, al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban. Since 2010, the security services and Police in the United Kingdom have foiled and prevented at least three potential terrorist plots against Jewish communities in London and Manchester, though these were unrelated to ISIL.
ISIL specifically includes derogatory references to Jews in their social media, publications and video speeches and messages. These include the propagation of antisemitic conspiracy theories, including that the West and the Jews are part of the camp of the disbelief (the ‘Kufr’); that Jews control the world’s financial systems; and that Jews are colluding with Shia Muslims to undermine Sunnis. Since September 2015, ISIL supporters continued to use social media to disseminate antisemitism and violent incitement against Jews globally. In particular, they used the Arabic hashtag “Slaughter the Jews.” In October alone, over 80,000 messages used this antisemitic call for attacks.
CST’s written evidence submission to the Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry also analyses the potential for including Iran in the fight against ISIL. CST argues:
“While the current UK-Iran rapprochement may be a positive development in some policy areas, the prospect of including Iran as a partner in the fight against ISIL could have a negative effect on the UK Jewish community and undermine HMG’s policies on counter-extremism.”
Iran continues to engage in global state-sponsored terrorism, through its Al Qods force and proxy Hizbollah. This includes terrorism that directly impacts Jewish and Israeli communities internationally. The threat was made clear in the March 2013 trial in Cyprus of Hizbollah operative Hosem Taleb Yaacoub. He stated that, “I was just collecting information about the Jews. This is what my organisation is doing, everywhere in the world.”
The Foreign Affairs Committee will examine all the evidence submitted, by CST and others, and will determine the threat itself “including related challenges such as migration and sectarianism. It will also explore the policy and action of regional partners as well as the international coalition against ISIL, and the need for political and governance solutions.”
Read the full CST written evidence submitted here.
See the full list of published written submissions to the Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry here.