Indians in UK face risk of radicalization by terrorists, says British Parliament

LONDON (TIP): Indian youngsters in UK face real time risk of being radicalized by Islamic terrorist organizations and handlers, says Britain’s House of Commons.

Keith Vaz, Britain’s longest-serving Indian-origin MP who was recently re-elected as chair of Parliament’s influential Home Affairs Select Committee told TOI in an exclusive interview that Indian families in UK need to be vigilant. Indians are the largest foreign-born group in London. Nearly 9% of all foreign-born residents in London are now Indian. In sheer numbers, this means 2.63 lakh persons born in India are now living in London.

Vaz told TOI “radicalization of our young people is at the forefront of our minds”.

He added “So far there has not been much evidence of young Asian and Indian individuals falling victim to the propaganda and extremist influence on the internet or via other means, but members of the community should remain vigilant. The government needs to be far better at working with communities, not against them”.

UK’s Office of National Statistics has confirmed that Indians had overtaken the Irish to become the largest foreign-born ethnic group in the whole of England and Wales. The latest census had revealed that the number of Indians went up by over 52%, from 4.56 lakh in 2001 to 6.94 lakh a decade later.

Britain’s International Centre for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR) says that a record number of foreign fighters have now been confirmed to have joined militant organizations in Syria and Iraq. It is now estimated that the total now exceeds 20,000 – of which nearly a fifth were residents or nationals of western European countries.

The largest European countries –France, the UK, and Germany – also produce the largest numbers of fighters. This has made the conflict in Syria and Iraq the largest mobilization of foreigner fighters in Muslim majority countries since 1945. It now surpasses the Afghanistan conflict in the 1980s, which is thought to have attracted up to 20,000 foreigners.

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