The Muslim population of Britain surpassed 4.2 million in 2018 to become around 6.3% of the overall population of 64 million, according to data extrapolated from a recent study on the growth of the Muslim population in Europe. In real terms, Britain has the third-largest Muslim population in the European Union, after France, then Germany.
The rapid growth of Britain's Muslim population can be attributed to immigration, high birth rates and conversions to Islam.
Islam and Islam-related issues, omnipresent in Britain during 2018, can be categorized into several broad themes: 1) Islamic extremism and the security implications of British jihadists; 2) The continuing spread of Islamic Sharia law in Britain; 3) The sexual exploitation of British children by Muslim gangs; 4) Muslim integration into British society; and 5) The failures of British multiculturalism.
January 1. Four British jihadis, sentenced to life in prison for planning a major terror attack in Birmingham, received nearly £800,000 (€900,000; $1 million) in taxpayer-funded legal aid to cover their failed defense, according to information obtained through a freedom of information request. Khobaib Hussain, 25, Naweed Ali, 30, Mohibur Rahman, 33, and Tahir Aziz, 38, received £790,485 to pay for lawyers. Some £635,822 went to the trial lawyers; each of the defendants was represented by a Queen's Counsel and junior barrister. The billing process is not yet complete; the final figure likely to be higher.
January 3. Each lone child migrant in Britain costs taxpayers nearly £70,000 a year — £67,634 — according to the Association of Directors of Children's Services. Expenses include £50,716 for residential placement and linked care costs, £4,805 for education, £3,915 for healthcare and £3,826 for social workers. For each lone child migrant, councils also typically pay £440 for interpreters and child advocates, £480 for English language lessons, £70 for dentists and £20 for doctor registration. Home Office statistics show that there are currently at least 4,500 unaccompanied youngsters seeking asylum in Britain — and costing taxpayers more than £300 million a year. Town halls are legally responsible for all costs associated with each child under their care until they are 25.
January 4. Police investigating the sale of illegal cigarettes, drug dealing and human trafficking in Nottingham were warned to stay away from a "Kurdish street," said to be under the control of Middle Eastern gangsters. Police Constable Lee Wilson told Nottingham Magistrates' Court:
"Illicit tobacco was being used to fund criminality, primarily drug supply and human trafficking. Senior members of Kurdish organized crime have been using it to fund criminality in the Radford Road area. A Kurdish businessman offered us £5,000 (€5,500; $6,400) a month to cease the tobacco investigation. With others involved in the operation, we had a search dog and were told, 'police are not welcome on the street.' It was described as a 'Kurdish street.'"
January 5. Security Minister Ben Wallace admitted that the British government had lost track of the whereabouts of hundreds of Britons fighting for jihadi groups in the Middle East. He told BBC Radio 4's Today program that around half of the estimated 850 people from the UK who went to Syria and Iraq have returned home, but that the government "does not know where" to find those still in the region.
January 8. Rabbnawaz Ali of Leeds was sentenced to 19 months in prison after pleading guilty to racially aggravated threatening behavior, arson, assault and criminal damage. Leeds Crown Court heard how Ali threatened to kill a group of army cadets, aged between 12 and 16, and blow up their barracks after they had been selling poppies for the Royal British Legion. The court also heard that Ali had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. The court ordered him to be made the subject of an indefinite hospital order under the Mental Health Act, combined with a 19-month prison sentence.
January 12. Northumbria Police launched a probe into offensive comments on social media about Operation Shelter, a police investigation into the sexual exploitation of girls and women in Newcastle's West End by a Muslim sex gang. The police received a complaint after a number of comments were left on the force's Facebook page. The comments referred to the race and religion of the perpetrators in the case. After an investigation was launched, the police tracked down six people who were behind the posts, deemed to be offensive and potentially criminal. Northumbria Police warned users of its Facebook page that offensive comments will not be tolerated.
January 13. The British Army released a new advertisement, called "Keeping My Faith," which showed a Muslim soldier praying. The ad was the latest in the Army's "This is Belonging" campaign, telling recruits they are allowed to be emotional and reassuring gay people that if they sign up, they will be accepted. The ads have been criticized by some commentators including Colonel Richard Kemp, who said the new campaign showed an Army "being forced down a route of political correctness." Retired Major General Tim Cross said recruits needed to know that "we are not going to be soft and we are not going to be nice to people."
January 16. Government inspectors found serious deficiencies at the Olive Tree Primary School, an Islamic day school in Luton, which instructs nearly 80 pupils between five and 11 years of age. Ofsted inspectors found "inappropriate books" that "did not promote British values," The report also raised concerns about health and safety standards in the school:
"Pupils bring their own food to school because there is no facility for the school to provide food for pupils; Pupils wash their cutlery in the toilet basins (sinks), where only tepid water is available; Pupils do not have the necessary resources to be hygienic when using the toilets; Boys do not have toilet tissue, soap or hand-drying facilities available in the toilets; They have to ask an adult in class for toilet tissue; Girls have discarded food out of their toilet windows, and the debris is rotting in the security bars; Toilet tissue has been thrown on to the ceiling in the girls' toilets and has been left there."
January 17. Mohammed Akhtar, 50, of Hartmann Street, Accrington, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a woman at a public swimming pool in Mercer Hall, Great Harwood. Akhtar's defense attorney, Raj Chopra said the father of five was deeply ashamed and embarrassed by his appearance in court but said an application for him to be banned from any swimming baths where females were present would be "draconian." Chopra added: "He has been assessed by the probation service as being at low risk of further offending. It was a brief incident and these things are forgotten about in two or three days." The remark caused a stir in the courtroom. Akhtar was banned from all swimming pools in Lancashire for 12 months and placed on the sex offender register for two years.
January 19. Adil Sultan, a 39-year-old Pakistani living in Middlesbrough, was sentenced to 17 months in prison for grooming a child for sex. Sultan had posed as a 25-year-old and used a fake online name when he came to the attention of the pedophile hunters, Guardians of the North. He was arrested as he travelled to Sunderland to meet the 14-year-old girl for sex. The court heard that Sultan had believed "it was okay" to have sex with young girls. Sultan's lawyer said it would be unsafe for him to return to Pakistan, and that he would apply for asylum in Britain.
January 22. Amena Khan, a British blogger who made history by becoming the first hijab-wearing model to star in a hair-product campaign for a major brand, stepped down from L'Oréal Paris after it emerged that she frequently espoused anti-Israel views on Twitter.
January 24. Lancashire County Council backed down after the threat of a legal challenge over a decision that schools should stop serving halal meat from unstunned animals. In October 2017, the council voted to end supplying schools with halal meat from animals that had not been stunned before slaughter — with the exemption of poultry. The Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM) threatened to sue the council on the grounds that it had failed adequately to seek input from the Muslim community before reaching the decision. The council subsequently reversed its decision and said it would continue the current contracts to supply meat from unstunned animals to 27 schools across the county.
January 24. The British government rejected a petition calling for a Free Speech Act to codify the citizens' right to freedom of speech without government intervention. The petition stated:
"For several years now the government has been infringing peoples' most basic rights to speak freely on matters, by deeming their speech 'offensive' or 'hateful' and declaring that such speech, even online, warrants being fined or jailed. This is an outrage.
"We demand the legal right to Free Speech, in an Act which will bring an end to the ludicrous notion that 'hate speech' and 'offensive speech' deserves people be imprisoned or charged. In short, an Act to codify the citizens' right to freedom of speech without government intervention.
"Ideas must be fought with other ideas, not with force. Naturally this precludes that the current laws criminalizing 'hate speech' be rescinded.
The government responded:
"The Government is committed to upholding free speech, and legislation is already in place to protect these fundamental rights. However, this freedom cannot be an excuse to cause harm or spread hatred....
"A hate crime is any criminal offense, for example assault or malicious communications, which is perceived [emphasis added] to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person's actual or perceived race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity."
January 25. Sara Khan was appointed to head up the government's newly-created Commission for Countering Extremism. Khan, a women's rights campaigner, said:
"I will create a Commission that is forthright in challenging extremism in the name of our shared values, fundamental freedoms and human rights. To those in our country who recognize the harm and threat extremism continues to pose in our society, I am eager to collaborate and engage.
"I extend my hand out to you to work with me in supporting the Commission's work in building a Britain that defends our diverse country while demonstrating zero tolerance to those who promote hate and who seek to divide us."
Muslim groups immediately called on Khan to resign because of her support for the Home Office's counter-terrorism strategy known as Prevent, which critics say unfairly targets Muslims. A petition by an anti-Islamophobia campaign, Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend), said her appointment "will further damage relations between the government and Muslim communities." Lady Warsi, the first Muslim woman to serve as a British cabinet minister, said that many British Muslims saw Khan as a "mouthpiece" of the government and warned of "destructive and dangerous games" being played.
January 25. Knife crime surged by 21% in the 12 months to September, and gun crime increased by 20%, according to quarterly crime statistics published in the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW). Police chiefs said that the increase in crime — including a 32% rise in domestic burglary and an 18% rise in vehicle-related crimes, alongside the sharp rise in violent crime — marked a turning point after more than 20 years of sustained decreases in these categories.
January 25. Hundreds of crimes involving honor violence and forced marriage are going unpunished in London, according to new statistics obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Data showed that police recorded 759 honor violence crimes and 265 forced marriages in the capital between 2015 and 2017, but that only 138 people were charged with an offense. The statistics also showed that prosecution rates for both honor violence and forced marriage have fallen during the past three years. Diana Nammi, executive director of the Iranian & Kurdish Women's Rights Organization, which provides refuge for victims, said:
"As honor-based violence is perpetrated by the victim's own family and community there is a lot of pressure on victims to drop cases and too often justice is not seen. London must not be a safe haven for perpetrators of these horrific, damaging crimes. We need to see much more action from the Mayor of London to tackle "honor" based violence."
January 26. There were a record number of acid attacks in London in 2017, according to police data obtained through a freedom of information request. The London Metropolitan Police recorded 465 such attacks in 2017, up from 395 in 2016 and 255 in 2015. The attacks have increased six-fold over six years. The eastern borough of Newham, as it has every year since 2013, experienced the highest number of acid attacks, 85, in 2017. Every year, neighboring Barking and Dagenham have come in second every year.
January 26. A judge threatened to send a 17-year-old Islamist from Ilford to prison unless his family prove that they are doing all they can to stop him from promoting jihad. The teenager admitted to creating flyers titled, "Become martyrs for the sake of Allah," which were found in prayer rooms in two of London's biggest hospitals. Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot said: "This boy is nearly 18. This is a very serious offense. If there's no family stopping this from happening, I'm going to lock him up, quite frankly."
January 27. Sandeep Samra, an 18-year-old convert to Islam from Coventry, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for planning to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State. Samra, originally from a Sikh background, became radicalized in online chatrooms. She told the court her "jihad" would have been working as a nurse in Syria. In a social media message shortly before her arrest, Samra wrote: "May Allah give me death in the cause."
January 28. Neena Lall, the headteacher at St. Stephen's Primary School in Newham, was bullied by angry parents into reversing a decision to ban girls under eight from wearing a hijab in class. Angry parents compared Lall to Adolf Hitler and demanded her resignation. In one Facebook post, Salim Mulla, a serving Labour councillor in Blackburn, wrote: "Work needs to be done to get this evil woman out of school. She must go. She is a racist bigot."
January 29. Al-Imran Ali, a 34-year-old Pakistani who arrived in Britain eight years ago on a student visa, since expired, was sentenced to ten months in prison after being caught in an online sting. After spending twelve days swapping messages with someone he thought was a 12-year-old girl, Ali turned up to a meeting at Salford Quays with a condom and a hamburger from Burger King. In reality, he had walked into a trap set by an online group, "Silent Justice," which uses fake internet profiles to detect would-be sex offenders. Ali's defense attorney, Lindsay Orr, said it was "highly likely" that he would be deported after serving his sentence.
January 29. A High Court judge in London prevented a father from taking his six-year-old daughter out of Britain over her mother's fears that she may be subjected to female genital mutilation in Guinea. Ms. Justice Russell imposed an FGM protection order on the girl after concluding that her father may come under pressure to have the child "mutilated." The couple at the center of the legal case are separated. The girl lives in south-east England with her British mother, who is in her 40s and has a "white English Christian heritage." Her father, who is in his 30s, was born in Conakry, Guinea. He has a "black African Muslim heritage" and travelled to Britain to study more than a decade ago.
February 1. Foreign Office officials invited 1,800 female staff members to wear taxpayer-funded Islamic headscarves to mark World Hijab Day. The officials claimed that the headscarves symbolized "liberation, respect and security." Critics, citing the compulsory veiling of women in Islamic countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, countered that headscarves are a symbol of male oppression. Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said, "I'd like to know whose bright idea this was. It is ridiculous, a complete waste of taxpayers' money and not the business of a government department. I can't see the Foreign Office promoting Christianity or the handing out of crosses."
February 1. Max Hill QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said that it is "fundamentally wrong" to use the phrase "Islamist terrorism" to describe attacks carried out in Britain and elsewhere. Hill said that the word terrorism should not be attached "to any of the world religions" and that the term "Daesh-inspired terrorism" should be used instead. Tory MP Philip Davies blasted Hill for "pandering" to political correctness: "It might not be acceptable in the trendy metropolitan circles he moves in, but all he's doing is showing how out of touch he is with the public at large. I suggest this politically-correct snowflake gets out more."
February 1. The Home Office published a report based on an 18-month independent review into the application of Sharia law in Britain by so-called Sharia councils. The review, chaired by Professor Mona Siddiqui, a professor of Islam at the University of Edinburgh, proposed legislative changes that would require Muslim couples to undergo a civil marriage before or at the same time as their Islamic ceremony. Such a requirement would provide women with legal protection under British law. The review said that nearly all those using Sharia councils were females seeking an Islamic divorce. As a "significant number" of Muslim couples do not register their marriages under civil law, "some Muslim women have no option of obtaining a civil divorce." The report also recommended that Sharia councils be subject to regulation.
February 4. Paul Song, a 48-year-old pastor, was fired from his job as a chaplain at Brixton prison in London after the managing chaplain, Imam Mohammed Yusuf Ahmed, accused Song of promoting "extreme" Christian views. Song, who said he was ousted on the basis of false claims by a Muslim prisoner, said the imam was intent on changing "the Christian domination" inside the prison.
February 4. A British intelligence agent warned that hundreds of Islamic State jihadis have returned to Britain and are intent on recruiting more jihadis to carry out attacks in the United Kingdom. He said that most of the returnees have taken cover in areas with large Muslim populations, including Birmingham, Leicester, London and Luton. "The best place to hide a tree is in a forest, and this is what those who have fought for ISIS are doing," he said. "They have basically relocated their HQ from Syria to the UK. The fear is they will begin recruiting and will wage terror on British soil."
February 8. The number of sheep slaughtered in Britain without first being stunned has doubled to more than three million, according to official statistics. The increase was attributed to the Muslim community eating more sheep meat and "an enhanced religious observance."
February 8. Mohammed Farooq, a 44-year-old man from Croydon who threatened to "blow up" the Crescent Primary School in Selhurst, walked free after his defense attorney persuaded the court that "he was not aware of what he was doing." The court heard that he had been drinking as a result of the break-up of his 18-year marriage, and that he was "stressed out" because he had not seen his children. Farooq received a four-month suspended prison sentence.
February 9. Ahmed Abdoule, a 33-year-old Somali living in East Hull, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for raping a teenage girl. Hull Crown Court heard how Abdoule threatened to kill the victim if she told anyone. Judge Mark Bury told Abdoule: "She told you she was a virgin to try and get you to stop. You said to her, 'You cannot be, you are white.'"
February 10. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamud, a 31-year-old terror suspect with 17 aliases, was found to be working at London's Heathrow Airport. An investigation discovered that Mohamud lied about his criminal past — he has multiple convictions for robbery, sexual assault and money laundering — and that no full background check was conducted before he was granted access to the airport's tarmac.
February 11. Brian Walker, a 63-year-old scout master from Bristol, was ousted for comparing a Muslim scout leader who wore a face-covering niqab to the Star Wars villain Darth Vader. Walker complained after Scouting magazine, the Scout Association's official publication, featured the scout leader who it said "cut a striking figure" "in her full Islamic veil" "when she takes the girls out canoeing." Walker emailed: "Canoeists don't dress like this; they need all-round unobstructed vision so they protect the group. They will most likely drown wearing that Darth Vader tent!" Walker also accused the association of increasingly promoting political correctness.
February 13. The British government unveiled a tool it says can accurately detect jihadi content and block it from being viewed. Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the BBC she would not rule out using the law to force technology companies to use it.
February 13. Maajid Nawaz, a counter-extremism activist, blamed Britain, not Islam, for creating the "Jihadi Beatles," four Britons who tortured and executed foreign aid workers and journalists in Syria. On LBC radio, he said:
"We, the United Kingdom, produced Jihadi John. We, the United Kingdom, produced his other acolytes around him in the so-called Jihadi Beatles. Something in our cities and towns, something in the atmosphere within our communities in this country have produced the most infamous terrorists, at least in my lifetime. We need to start asking that question: what is it in our culture, in our cities, in our towns that is producing these sorts of monsters."
February 14. Sir Michael Wilshaw, the former head of the Ofsted education regulator, said that there are 150 schools in Britain which require children to wear hijabs, and that the government was too politically correct to crack down on the problem.
February 18. More than 200 mosques in Britain opened their doors to non-Muslims to mark Visit My Mosque Day, an "interfaith initiative" of the Muslim Council of Britain, a group linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
February 18. London Modest Fashion Week showcased the latest styles in hijabs, abayas and long hemlines. The event was aimed at "breaking down stereotypes" in the fashion industry.
February 19. Blackburn Cathedral announced that would host a seminar called "Jihad of Jesus" which aims to "create a safe space to explore common ground and discuss the differences between the Muslim and Christian faiths." The announcement of the seminar came after the BBC aired a documentary questioning the relationships between religious communities in Blackburn. Senior Anglican clergy said that the BBC Panorama program "White Fright" did not paint an accurate picture of Blackburn.
February 22. Zana Abbas Sulieman, a 27-year-old asylum seeker living in northwest London, was sentenced to nine years in prison for various terrorism offenses, including possessing and sharing a bomb-making video. Police said they found 32 Facebook accounts linked to Sulieman that contained terrorist-related material.
February 23. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said in a new book, Reimagining Britain, that Sharia law should never become part of the British legal system. He said the Islamic rules are incompatible with Britain's laws, which have developed over 500 years on the principles of a different culture. Welby also said that the arrival of large numbers of Muslims in Britain has led many to challenge the values of the majority population:
"Sharia, which has a powerful and ancient cultural narrative of its own, deeply embedded in a system of faith and understanding of God, and thus especially powerful in forming identity, cannot become part of another narrative.
"Accepting it in part implies accepting its values around the nature of the human person, attitudes to outsiders, the revelation of God, and a basis for life in law, rather than grace, the formative word of Christian culture."
Welby's position reverses the one taken by his predecessor Lord Williams, who backed incorporating Sharia into the British legal system.
February 23. Munir Mohammed, a 36-year-old Sudanese asylum seeker from Derby was sentenced to life with a minimum of 14 years, and his partner, pharmacist Rowaida el Hassan, 33, of Willesden, was jailed for 12 years. The couple, after meeting on a dating website called SingleMuslim.com, plotted an Islamic State-inspired bomb or poison attack over the Christmas holidays. Mohammed, who arrived in Britain in the back of a truck and claimed asylum in February 2014, had ricin and bomb-making manuals when he was arrested in December 2016. In a Facebook chat with an ISIS commander, he had volunteered for a "lone wolf" mission in the UK, and enlisted the "strong-willed" mother-of-two, Hassan, who became his "wiling" partner.
February 23. Ruzykhan Sayadi, a 23-year-old Afghan asylum seeker, was sentenced to 20 days in a rehabilitation program for threatening to plow a car into a group of white people and go on a knifing rampage. Sayadi's lawyer successfully persuaded the judge that his client was frustrated at the slow pace of Britain's asylum process and had not intended to follow through with his threat. "He is in a pretty low state at the moment," Peter Du Feu said. "He is really at a low point because of his determination to achieve asylum status in this country." During the sentencing, Judge Ian Pringle said, "You do need some assistance and some change if you are going to establish yourself as a lawful citizen of this country in due course."
February 25. Islamic charities vulnerable to extremists receive £6 million ($8.3 million) a year from taxpayers in gift aid, according to a report by the Henry Jackson Society. The charities are accused of promoting hardline speakers by giving them platforms, spreading their literature, providing them with credibility and enabling access to beneficiaries and the general public. The report accused charities of supporting "the spread of harmful non-violent extremist views that are not illegal; by providing platforms, credibility and support to a network of extremists operating in the UK."
February 25. The National Crime Agency (NCA), which is investigating child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, needs 100 more officers to tackle the unprecedented scale of abuse, according to the Guardian. The NCA has identified more than 1,500 potential victims and 110 suspects. Paul Williamson, the senior investigating officer on Operation Stovewood, said his team of officers had been able to contact only 17% of the possible victims because of a shortage of specially trained detectives. The operation is believed to have cost about £10 million ($14 million) to date.
February 26. Turkan Lowmani, 33, of Bradford, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for stabbing his wife 21 times, after he wrongly believed she was having an affair with another family member. Judge Neil Davey told Lowmani: "This was a determined and sustained attempt to kill a defenseless mother of three young children which very nearly succeeded. You have not shown a scrap of remorse for what you did."
February 26. Mohammed Kamal Hussain, a 28-year-old Bangladeshi national who had overstayed his visa and was living in London, was sentenced to seven years in prison for encouraging terrorism and supporting a proscribed organization. Detectives trawled thousands of messages sent by Hussain, including Facebook posts encouraging people to join ISIS and launch attacks, and that included a speech by leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Police only discovered his activities after a man outside the UK emailed the Home Office in March 2017, and noted that he had received a Facebook message from a stranger inviting him to join ISIS. "This investigation started with one conscientious individual trusting his instincts and reporting something suspicious," Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command, said. "He could have ignored the message Hussain sent him but instead he took a screenshot of the message and contacted the UK authorities immediately. It is in great part thanks to him that police were able to bring Hussain to justice."
February 26. Ten members of a Muslim sexual grooming gang appeared at Bradford Crown Court on charges of raping a 16-year-old girl. The men were arrested after a friend of the girl called the BBC, which had just aired a report about Muslim sex gangs in Rotherham.
February 26. Aryan Rashidi was sentenced to 14 years in prison for raping a pregnant woman at knifepoint in her bed after climbing into her house through an open window. Rashidi, an Afghan national who had entered Britain illegally in a truck, said he did not know his birth date and claimed to be 15 or 16. A dental examination showed Rashidi to be at least 22 years old.
February 26. The number of anti-Muslim hate crimes in London increased by almost 40% in 2017, according to Scotland Yard. There were 1,678 anti-Muslim hate crimes reported in London the capital in 2017, up from 1,205 the year before. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan warned perpetrators that under a "zero-tolerance" approach, they face arrest and prosecution.
February 27. Gary Staples, a 50-year-old convert to Islam, was sentenced to three years in prison for posting homemade videos on YouTube that glorify the Islamic State. The father of four, who is unemployed and lives on welfare, was convicted of seven charges of encouraging acts of terrorism and one charge of disseminating terrorist material.
February 27. Radio Dawn, a Muslim radio station based in Nottingham, was fined £2,000 ($2,750) for broadcasting a nasheed (an Islamic chant) stating that violent acts committed against non-Muslims would bring honor to Islam. The nasheed, which was recited in Urdu by a young boy, also included pejorative references to non-Muslims, who were repeatedly referred to as "Kuffar," the Arabic word for disbeliever, and, "Kaafir I Murdaar," meaning filthy disbeliever in Urdu. Ofcom, the British communications regulator, said the nasheed constituted hate speech. Station manager Sana Tariq said he did not agree with the song: "I was in disbelief, I couldn't believe something like this had been played. It's not something Radio Dawn believes in. Islam gives the message of peace and that's what we try to present."
March 2. Lloyd Gunton, 17, from near Llantrisant, South Wales, was ordered to be held indefinitely at a youth detention center for plotting to commit mass murder in an Islamic State-inspired vehicle attack. Gunton was "hours away from committing an act of atrocity" against a Justin Bieber concert in Cardiff's Principality Stadium. When arrested, the teenager was found with a gutting knife and a hammer in his school rucksack, and a "martyrdom letter" said he was a "soldier of the Islamic state" and "more attacks will follow." Judge Mark Wall QC told Gunton:
"At the time of your arrest you were within hours of committing an act of atrocity on the streets of Cardiff. It is not possible to estimate how many people would have been murdered or seriously injured by your actions as the attack was foiled before you could undertake it. I am sure that you planned not just the killing of one person but rather mass murder."
March 3. Aram Kurd, 33, from Leicester, Hawkar Hassan, 32, from Coventry and Arkan Ali, 37, from Oldham, were charged with manslaughter and arson with intent to endanger life. Five people died when a blast ripped through a Polish convenience store and a home in Leicester, turning the building into rubble.
March 5. A judge at Manchester County and Family Court prevented a mother from taking her two-year-old child to India because the child was at risk of female genital mutilation. Judge Robert Jordan made the "FGM protection order" after social workers learned that three other girls in the family had been subjected to the procedure. He described FGM as "utterly unacceptable" and a "gross abuse of human rights" and said the little girl's mother had "facilitated" the mutilation of her three older daughters. "The effect of the cultural pressure overrode the mother's maternal instinct," he said. "As a consequence of religious and cultural pressure the mother facilitated the mutilation of her children."
March 8. Two Muslim brothers, aged between 11 and the mid-teens, were removed from their father's care after the High Court in London ruled that he had groomed them as "religious warriors." Social workers said the boys were living in a "radicalized Islamic household." They were "at potential risk of dangerous activities" because of the parenting of their father, who was born in Uganda, the High Court heard. Photographs seen by the Family Division judge Mrs. Justice Parker showed the boys in Islamic "fighter poses" wielding swords. The family, including a girl in her mid-teens, were stopped at a ferry port in Harwich, Essex, amid police fears they were bound for Syria.
March 8. Asif Mohammed, 30, of Aylesbury, was sentenced to nine years and eight months in prison for running over two people with his car. The victims were serving soldiers in the British Military; both were hospitalized, but neither were seriously injured. On arrest, police found Mohammed was carrying a knife, and tests revealed him to be over the limit for alcohol. He was also carrying cannabis. Mohammed was driving without a license, had no insurance and was using fake number plates.
March 9. The Independent Press Standards Organization (IPSO), the UK's largest press watchdog, ruled that a claim in The Spectator that "there are an estimated 32,000 Muslims eager to commit the next terror atrocity" constituted a "significant inaccuracy." The comment piece by James Delingpole, published on September 23, 2017, shortly after the Parsons Green Tube bombing, carried the online headline: "We can never accept terrorism as the new normal." It shared the author's belief that we should not "keep calm and carry on" in response to terror attacks. It also claimed another 100,000 Muslims were prepared to give "moral support" to the would-be terrorists. Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, complained that the article breached Clause 1 (accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice. He said the claim that 32,000 Muslims were eager to commit the next terror atrocity had no basis in fact and referred to figures from MI5 and the Metropolitan Police regarding individuals who pose a terror threat. Versi said those figures indicated that 3,000 individuals posed the biggest threat, while the authorities "continue to be concerned about" another 20,000. He said there was no basis for claiming that all of these 23,000 individuals were Muslims, or for claiming that 100,000 were willing to give "moral support" to terrorists. The Spectator issued a correction. Delingpole responded with sarcasm:
"My main resolution in 2018 is to avoid again upsetting Miqdaad Versi, ever-vigilant assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain.
"After a careless misreading, I claimed that 'there are an estimated 32,000 Muslims eager to commit the next terror atrocity, with another 100,000 prepared to give them moral support.' I would like to apologize unreservedly.
"The current figure, according to EU counter-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove, is that there are only up to 25,000 Islamist extremists in Britain, 3,000 of whom are worrying to MI5 —500 of them so worrying that they are under constant and special attention."
Versi said that Delingpole's correction was "sarcastic" and therefore not adequate to address his complaint.
March 11. The Sunday Mirror reported that up to 1,000 children could have been sexually abused in Telford, where Muslim sex gangs targeted girls as young as 11. An 18-month investigation revealed abuse on unprecedented levels: Social workers knew of abuse in the 1990s but police took a decade to launch a probe; council staff, according to previously unseen files, viewed abused and trafficked children as "prostitutes" instead of victims; authorities failed to keep details of abusers from Asian communities for fear of racism; police failed to investigate one recent case five times until an MP intervened; one victim said police tried to stop her from finding out why her abusers had not been prosecuted because they feared she would talk to the media.
March 12. A judge ruled that a Muslim man married a woman with a severe head injury in a bid to improve his immigration status. Mr. Justice Baker analyzed the case at a hearing in the London-based Court of Protection, which considers issues relating to people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions. Baker decided that the Islamic marriage, solemnized by an imam at the Northampton Islamic Center, was "arranged entirely" by the man and the woman's father. He said a ceremony had taken place at a time when the woman was vulnerable to influence and ruled that under English law, the marriage is not valid. "The man's primary motive for marrying the woman was to achieve an improved immigration status," Baker wrote.
March 13. Justice Secretary David Gauke said he was preparing British prisons to cope with an influx of British jihadis returning from Iraq and Syria. He said their arrival would create a "very significant" problem and suggested that the most dangerous extremists would be held in two new specialist segregation units. Police have estimated that about 100 of the 850 jihadis who travelled to the war zone may be alive and have the right to return to Britain.
March 13. Secretary of State for Communities Sajid Javid revealed that 770,000 people who live in England cannot speak English. Most of those people — up to 70% — are women, most of whom are of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin. Javid said the government planned to spend £50 million ($65 million) to boost integration: "If you don't speak English then there is no way you can take full advantage of the opportunities that modern Britain has to offer you."
March 13. Dame Louise Casey, who was commissioned by David Cameron and Theresa May to find out why segregation is such a big problem in the UK, warned that the Britain was "sleepwalking into becoming an increasingly segregated country." She added:
"The government must start to take meaningful action in our communities — especially in places such as Bradford, Birmingham and Blackburn that my report identified as often being highly segregated and very poor....
"The government must not shy away from tackling difficult issues because of a well-meaning but politically correct fear of being labelled a racist.
"We need to crack down on all forms of hatred, abuse and extremism — be that racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism or homophobia — and we must call out regressive religious and cultural practices.
"We must talk about Sharia law. It is a core British value that you are free to live how you choose as long as you respect our democracy and rule of law. But tiptoeing around issues or turning a blind eye to abuse gets us nowhere.
"Look at what happened in Rotherham when the police and council did not want to take action on child sexual exploitation because the abusers were mostly of Pakistani heritage. It only made things worse for the local Muslim community."
March 14. Three anti-Islam activists from Austria, Canada and the United States were barred from entering the United Kingdom. Brittany Pettibone and her boyfriend, Martin Sellner, were refused entry to the UK when they landed at Luton Airport on March 9. They were detained for two days, and then deported. Another activist, Lauren Southern, was refused entry by the Border Force near Calais on March 12. She had planned to meet with the couple and the former leader of the English Defense League, Tommy Robinson. A Home Office spokesperson said: "Border Force has the power to refuse entry to an individual if it is considered that his or her presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good."
March 14. A taxi company was investigated after a driver left a group of children alone in a car while he went to pray in a mosque. A driver for taxi company Tiger Taxis, based in Clitheroe, was accused of "negligence" after a group of children, between 12 and 14 years of age, were left alone in one of the firm's taxis while dropping them home from Coal Clough Academy, in Burnley. Tiger Taxis is contracted by Lancashire County Council to provide transport for school children from the academy.
March 16. Scottish Transport Secretary Humza Yousaf called on a Labour councillor to resign after he made an Islamophobic comment about him. Dumfries and Galloway councillor Jim Dempster was suspended from the party after reportedly saying that if Yousaf had visited the region, "no one would have seen him under his burka." Yousaf said:
"For this kind of slur which is so brazen, not something which simply slips off the tongue, to make that kind of Islamophobic slur from a senior elected councillor in front of my transport officials, so knowing that it would easily come back to me, and in front of members of the public I should say as well, just goes to show how far we've got to go and just how emboldened some feel about making Islamophobic remarks. You don't need diversity training to know not to say to a Muslim you are hiding under a burka."
March 18. More than 2,000 pupils were reported missing from schools for substantial periods of the academic year across Black Country and Staffordshire, according to data from councils in the region. Children were recorded as "missing from education" if they were of compulsory school age and authorities were unable to locate them for more than four weeks. Liberal Democrat Ian Jenkins said his party was concerned that some young people were missing out on education and at "serious risk" of abuse and exploitation: "All children missing education are very vulnerable. They are likely to under-achieve academically, and evidence suggests they may also be at greater risk of abuse, exploitation and neglect than their peers. They are also at serious risk of forced marriage, female genital mutilation and even radicalization."
March 19. Mohammed Abdul, 21, Deptford, South East London, was charged with attempted murder after he drove an SUV into a group of people at Blake's nightclub in Gravesend, Kent. The court heard how victims were left with injuries, including broken or dislocated knees and pelvises.
March 12. A 50-year-old lawyer was acquitted of arranging female genital mutilation on his daughter when she was nine. The defendant, who was not named for legal reasons, denied the charges against him. At the trial at London's Old Bailey, the jury deliberated for more than six hours before finding the defendant not guilty of two counts of FGM, two alternative counts of wounding with intent and three counts of cruelty to a child. This was only the second case to be brought under FGM legislation introduced in 1985. There have been no successful prosecutions.
March 22. Safe and Secure, an anti-radicalization program billed as an alternative to the government's Prevent strategy, was launched at the London Muslim Center, part of East London Mosque. The new strategy, backed by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), is apparently intended to address the same issues as Prevent as an answer to those who say Muslims are not doing enough to counter the threat posed by extremists.
March 23. Ahmed Hassan, an 18-year-old Iraqi who illegally entered Britain and then applied for asylum, was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 34 years for planting a bomb on a Tube train at Parsons Green. Hassan's device partially exploded, injuring 51, in September 2017. Mr. Justice Haddon-Cave told Hassan:
"There is no doubt that you are a very dangerous and devious individual. You quietly went about planning and executing this terrorist bomb attack with ruthless determination and almost military efficiency, whilst pretending to be a model asylum-seeker.
"Your intention that morning was to kill as many members of the British public as possible by planting the IED [improvised explosive device] on a busy commuter Tube train.
"You will have plenty of time to study the Koran in prison.... The Koran is a book of peace.... Islam forbids breaking the law of the land. Islam forbids terror."
March 24. Seven men — Assad Hussain, 37, of Oxford; Kameer Iqbal, 39, of Oxford; Khalid Hussain, 38, of Oxford; Kamran Khan, 36, of Bolton; Moinul Islam, 41, of Oxford; Raheem Ahmed, 40 of Oxford; and Alladitta Yousaf, 48, of Oxford — were found guilty by Oxford Crown Court of grooming and sexually abusing teenage girls, aged between 13 and 15, "on a massive scale." The gang was convicted of more than 20 offenses including rape and indecent assault.
March 27. Umar Ahmed Haque, a 25-year-old religion teacher from London, was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 25 years for preparing terrorist acts. He had planned to use guns and a car bomb to hit 30 targets including Big Ben in London. Haque also showed Islamic State beheading videos to 16 children at the Ripple Road Mosque in Barking, London. Mr. Justice Haddon-Cave said Haque groomed children to join a "mini militia," unbeknownst to their parents who had paid for after-school classes at the mosque.
March 28. The supermarket chain Sainsbury's apologized after a customer service officer, responding to a question about whether it sold non-halal Easter eggs, replied that all of its eggs were halal. That statement quickly generated anger on social media, with one Twitter user posting a picture of Easter eggs accompanied with the text: "Remember, boycott halal eggs. Don't give in. Use Thornton's." Sainsbury's later wrote: "Apologies my colleague gave out the incorrect information. None of our own brand chocolate eggs are halal certified. Really sorry for any confusion caused."
March 30. Two surviving members of the ISIS cell known as "The Beatles" accused the British government of violating international law by stripping them of British citizenship. In an interview from the prison where they were being held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), they denied being members of the group headed by the executioner "Jihadi John." El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey told the Associated Press they were the victims of "propaganda" and would not receive a fair trial. Both Elsheikh and Kotey were declared "specially designated global terrorists" in 2017 for their roles in the Beatles, with British officials holding the cell responsible for beheading at least 27 hostages and torturing many more.
April 1. The National Union of Teachers (NUT) delegates condemned efforts by Ofsted, the chief regulator of British schools, to ban the hijab, a Muslim head covering, in primary schools. Ofsted said the measure was aimed at promoting the integration of Muslim pupils. Teachers blasted the policy, announced by Ofsted director Amanda Spielman, as "racism dressed up as liberalism."
Kauser Jan, a Muslim activist and teacher in Leeds, described the hijab policy as "Islamophobic" and said she would not comply:
"We have taken regressive steps where our children are now being made to feel that must leave their cultural and linguistic and religious identity at the door. I know Muslim girls and men that have shaved off beards, taken off their hijabs so they can anglicize themselves, so they can fit in and not feel they are part of the problem."
Mehreen Begg, a British Muslim from Croydon, described Ofsted's stance on the wearing of hijabs in primary schools as "unwarranted" and "draconian." She added:
"It is wholly inappropriate for Ofsted inspectors to question primary-age Muslim girls on their choice of dress. This is an act of intimidation by a powerful adult on a young child and has no place in our education inspection system. Whilst wearing a hijab may not always be a choice, both here and internationally, it is not for Ofsted to intervene in this debate, which is a debate within the Islamic community."
Latifa Abouchakra, for Ealing, said:
"I say shame on Ofsted for victimizing young girls for choosing to wear religious items of clothing. There is no such measure made for other religions or other articles of religious wear. This stance has other ramifications. It signals to the British public...that women are oppressed by Islam.
"We are an easy target. This decision by Ofsted has ramifications beyond the school gate and must be seen in the context of increased attacks on the Muslim community, and perpetuates the outdated notion that Muslim women are victims."
A spokesperson for Ofsted responded:
"There is nothing political about ensuring that schools and parents aren't being subject to undue pressure by national or community campaign groups. Head teachers need to be able to take uniform decisions on the basis of safeguarding or community cohesion concerns, and Ofsted will always support them in doing that."
April 5. The Economist, citing the Moroccan newspaper Al-Ousboue, reported that Queen Elizabeth II is a descendant of the Islamic Prophet Mohammed:
"Al-Ousboue traced the queen's lineage back 43 generations. Her bloodline runs through the Earl of Cambridge, in the 14th century, across medieval Muslim Spain, to Fatima, the Prophet's daughter. Her link to Muhammad has previously been verified by Ali Gomaa, the former grand mufti of Egypt, and Burke's Peerage, a British authority on royal pedigrees.
"Prince Charles (bin Philip), is intrigued by Islam.... He is said to want a multi-faith coronation and to be ordained as "defender of faith," not "the [Christian] faith."
The late Harold Brooks-Baker, publishing director of Burke's Peerage, once warned: "The royal family's direct descent from the prophet Mohammed cannot be relied upon to protect the royal family forever from Moslem terrorists."
April 6. Aweys Shikhey, a 38-year-old Dutch national originally from Somalia and living in London, was sentenced to eight years in prison for preparing acts of terrorism. The court heard how Shikhey, a delivery driver who has two wives, one in The Netherlands and one in Kenya, was planning to elope with his Somali-Norwegian jihadi fiancée and travel from London to Turkey, and then on to Syria. The court also heard how he talked to other jihadis about attacking Queen Elizabeth, shooting Jews in Stamford Hill, north London, and football fans as they left Tottenham Hotspur's stadium.
April 8. The Scottish government issued a guidance, warning teachers against using the phrase "British values" when discussing terrorism with pupils because it might be offensive. "The concept can cause offense and could play into the hands of groups who seek to assert that there is an inherent conflict between being British and being Muslim." The British government's anti-terror Prevent strategy defines extremism as "the vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values" such as democracy, the rule of law and tolerance. The Scottish government advised teachers to use the words "shared values" instead. The guidance also urged teachers not to use the terms "war on terror," "Islamist extremist/terrorist," "jihad/jihadist" or "radical" in current affairs lessons. The guidance cautions: "There is always a danger in using 'Islamist' as non-expert audiences are likely to hear 'Islamic.' All audiences will make a connection to the Muslim faith. This phrase is best avoided."
April 8. Nearly two-thirds of "child" refugees who were questioned about their real age after coming to Britain were found to be adults, according to a report by David Bolt, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, into the Home Office's treatment of lone child migrants. The statistics showed that Britain's generosity towards genuine child victims of war, terror and humanitarian disasters is open to wide abuse.
April 9. Almost two cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) a day on average are being identified by doctors in the Birmingham area alone, according to an analysis of data compiled by the NHS. In 2017, there were 620 cases just in Birmingham and environs where a woman was newly recorded in the FGM dataset.
April 10. Shamsu Iqbal, a 61-year-old former Home Office employee, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration. Iqbal was the "lynchpin" of a £6 million ($8 million) scam that falsified the records of at least 437 illegal migrants so they could remain in Britain. The potential loss to taxpayers was assessed by Home Office statisticians as £56 million ($76 million), based on the amount the 437 illegal immigrants could falsely have claimed in benefits during the six years of the fraud.
April 11. Delegates to the annual conference of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) agreed to a resolution calling on the government to prevent parents from withdrawing their children from classes about Islam. Richard Griffiths, from ATL's Inner London branch, told conference attendees that "parents with certain prejudices including Islamophobia" are pulling their children from Religious Education classes because they do not want them to learn about Islam. This, he said, is "significantly hindering" the ability of schools to "prepare a child for life in modern Britain."
April 12. Ibrahim Hussain, a 35-year-old man from Bradford, was sentenced to 23 years in prison for grooming, abducting and repeatedly raping a 12-year-old girl. Hussain later took the girl to a house in Leeds, where she was gang-raped by five unknown men. Judge David Hatton QC said the girl was raped by "essentially a pack of ravenous wolves." Hussain was already on bail for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl he had met through Facebook.
April 13. ITV News reported that Alexanda Amon Kotey, a British jihadi who previously belonged to the infamous four-member Islamic State cell known as "The Beatles," helped to organize a plot to execute soldiers and police officers in London. Kotey and other jihadis are suspected of guiding and funding the would-be attackers in Britain. They apparently helped to organize the plot "by remote control" from Syria. Kotey, the London-born son of a Ghanaian father and Greek-Cypriot mother, reportedly converted to Islam in his early 20s after falling in love with a Muslim woman. He was arrested by Syrian Kurdish fighters in January 2018 while attempting to smuggle himself back to Europe.
April 14. A YouGov poll found that a large minority of Britons believe that multiculturalism has failed and different communities generally live separate lives. The poll found that 43% predicted relationships between different communities in Britain will deteriorate over the next few years compared to 14% who feel things will improve. More than one third of those who took part in the survey believe that Islam is a threat to the British way of life; 51% believe that immigration is putting pressure on schools and hospitals.
April 18. Ahmedeltigani Alsyed, a 20-year-old Sudanese-born jihadi from Hounslow, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison for plotting to fight alongside terror groups in Syria. Police said that his younger brother Yousif Alsyed, 18, also aspired to become a jihadi. Commander Clarke Jarrett, of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, said:
"The evidence we recovered showed the clear intent of the Alsyed brothers to go to Syria, where they would join Daesh. It is patent to me that their intention, once they had joined the terrorist group, was to fight alongside it as the brothers had invested time in training in the UK, including spending time at a paintballing camp and joining a gym.
"The brothers shared with each other gory videos and images glorifying Daesh. They had their hearts set on joining their fight but our investigation stopped them."
April 18. Shahid Ali, a 43-year-old Washwood Heath man previously convicted of terror offenses, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for deliberately running over a pedestrian's head in a road rage incident. Ali, who apparently became enraged because he thought his victim, a 35-year-old Irish national, was holding up traffic, fled the scene and later abandoned his car. The incident was captured by a motorcyclist who had a GoPro camera attached to her helmet. Ali was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent. In his defense, the court heard how he "prayed twice" soon after the incident that his victim "had not been affected in the worst way."
April 18. Rotherham Council was ordered by a government ombudsman to apologize for retaliating against Jayne Senior, a whistleblower who helped expose the town's Muslim rape gangs. Senior revealed how the council, police and social services turned a blind eye to the sexual abuse of at least 1,400 children by men mainly of Pakistani origin. Local officials kept silent about the abuse for more than a decade, apparently due to a fear of being charged with racism.
April 18. Exeter Mosque in Devon accepted donations totaling nearly £250,000 ($340,000) from Sheikh Sadiq Al-Ghariani, an extremist Muslim cleric who is on a terrorism watch list due to his support for al-Qaeda-linked jihadi groups in Libya. An online petition called on those who run the mosque to clarify how much money was received and what it was spent on. Trustees of the mosque said they "do not have any links to any form of extremism." Ghariani said the money was to be spent on "completing construction of the [Exeter] mosque," which he said represented "moderate Islam, free of extremism."
April 19. Adam Wyatt, a 48-year-old convert to Islam, was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison for disseminating jihadi propaganda and posting on social media that jihad was an obligation for all Muslims. Wyatt, of Salford, admitted owning booklets, including one called "The Mujahedeen Poisons Handbook."
April 20. Taiyab Hussain, Mohammed Hizar Rizwan, Shaheem Ratyal and Sohail Raja Ali, all from Burton, were collectively sentenced to 17 years in a young offender institution for sexually abusing five girls, aged 13 and 14. Judge Jonathan Gosling, said: "It is clear the girls meant nothing to them whatsoever. They were simply an agency to satisfy their adolescent lust of these men. One girl had only just passed her 13th birthday." Nevertheless, Gosling ordered that the men be released after serving half their sentence, which had already been reduced by 155 days, because the men were not "predatory paedophiles" but "schoolboys."
April 24. The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims called for a "working definition" of "Islamophobia," one that can be "widely accepted by Muslim communities, political parties, and the Government." The APPG is chaired by Sayeeda Warsi, the first Muslim woman to serve in the cabinet. She described then-Prime Minister David Cameron's pro-Israel policy as "morally indefensible" and resigned from government in 2014. She then demanded that the government impose an arms embargo on Israel. More recently, she said that British citizens who volunteer for the Israeli army should be prosecuted.
April 25. Wokingham Mayor Peter Lucey resigned after a "member of the public" complained that he had shared "politically incorrect" articles from Gatestone Institute, Dutch politician Geert Wilders and Canadian author Mark Steyn. In a statement, Wokingham Town Council said: "Councillor Peter Lucey has today resigned from Wokingham Town council for personal reasons."
April 25. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it was investigating 33 current and former police officers for potential misconduct in the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal. Operation Linden, the IOPC's operation looking into the allegations, grew to 98 investigations by the beginning of April 2018 compared to 62 investigations at the same point in 2017.
April 25. The home of a family member of a victim of a Muslim sex gang in Telford was set on fire, allegedly to stop the woman from cooperating with police. The arson attack appears to have achieved its objective: The woman, now in her 30s, decided against sharing the names of the members of the gang that operated in the 80s and 90s as she apparently fears for the safety of her family.
April 27. Doctors, nurses and teachers are still nervous about being branded racist if they speak to families about female genital mutilation (FGM), according to Hazel Barrett, a professor at Coventry University and expert in FGM. In an interview with the Evening Standard, Barrett said that despite campaigns, many professionals are still unaware of their legal responsibilities, nervous about how to broach the issue, and concerned about being called racist and rejected by communities with which they work. The Serious Crime Act 2015 requires healthcare professionals, social workers and teachers in England and Wales to report to the police if they think a girl aged under 18 is at risk of FGM.
April 27. Komar Uddin, a 68-year-old Bangladeshi imam living illegally in Britain, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for raping a 19-year-old woman during an exorcism. Judge Timothy Spencer QC said:
"She was 19 years old...young enough to be your granddaughter. She was very vulnerable...grieving for (a family member) who had died. She, like the rest of her family, had a deep belief in the spirit world and in djinns (spirits). You encouraged the belief that you were skilled in ridding believers of bad spirits; evil djinns.... You were invited to their house and it was supposed to be for you to help that young woman with her distress, to rid her of the evil spirits. You used your power over her to violate her for your own sexual gratification and did nothing to assist her distress — you greatly added to her distress. You showed no restraint whatsoever. You had her completely at your mercy and you raped her. It's a shameful betrayal of your religion and the position you held within the Islamic community."
The Leicester Mercury was the only publication to identify Uddin as a Muslim. The BBC referred to the man as a "bogus faith healer." The Daily Mail called him a "spiritual healer."
April 27. Rabar Mala, a 33-year-old Iraqi living illegally in Britain, was sentenced to eight years in prison for helping hundreds of jihadis in Iraq, Syria and Turkey communicate online by activating mobile phone Sim cards for them in the UK. Mala, who lived in Warrington, became what amounted to an IT support worker for the Islamic State. Police determined that Mala had registered and activated 360 Sim cards and used them to help jihadis who had no easy means of registering social media accounts without drawing attention to themselves. Mala was caught only because police linked him to extremist material posted on YouTube.
April 30. Sajid Javid, a 48-year-old first-generation Briton of Pakistani origin, was named Home Secretary of the United Kingdom. As the first-ever British-Muslim to hold the post, the most important cabinet position after that of the prime minister, Javid will be in charge of the UK's immigration, security and counter-terrorism efforts.
May 1. Rana Irfan Aslam, a 51-year-old shopkeeper from Dundee, was sentenced to one year in prison for grooming a 12-year-old girl for sex during an 18-month period 20 years ago. The judge said it was the maximum possible sentence for the crime as Aslam did not engage in sexual intercourse with the girl. The court heard that Aslam gave the girl gifts of money, perfume and alcohol before sexually abusing her at various locations in Dundee, Angus, Perth and Kinross and Fife between August 1998 and August 2000. In a blog post, Natasha Phillips, an expert on family law, explained that nuances in sentencing guidelines for non-recent abuse are resulting in unduly lenient sentences: "There are very real concerns about the way offenders of non-recent abuse continue to be sentenced and which bolster the view that unmerited leniency has managed to find its way into the system."
May 1. Karen Sunderland, a Tory candidate for Town Council in Lewisham, London, was suspended after comparing Islam to Nazism. Her offending tweet read: "Love your optimism. The thing is, religion undermines the hard fought for values and tolerances of progressed countries...suppresses free speech and is auto immune from criticism. This is toxic and where the hostility comes from. Religion is totalitarian. Islam has become the new Nazism."
May 2. Jamie Janson, a 42-year-old British aristocrat who travelled to Syria to fight against the Islamic State, was arrested when he arrived back in Britain on a bus from France. Janson volunteered with the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and fought against the Islamic State in Syria. Pro-Kurdish campaigners were angered by the arrest, which came after two other Britons were charged for fighting with the YPG. Mark Campbell, of the Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign, accused the British government of weakening the fight against ISIS and other jihadi groups: "Theresa May should spend more time opposing Turkey's aggression against the best fighters against ISIS, the Kurds, and less time attempting to criminalize UK anti-ISIS volunteers on behalf of the Turkish regime."
May 2. Mohammed Zahir Khan, a 40-year-old shopkeeper from Sunderland, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison for encouraging terrorism, disseminating a terror publication and stirring up religious hatred. Newcastle Crown Court heard how Khan, who is originally from Birmingham, shared messages on social media in which he said that Shia Muslims should be burned alive. He also posted on Facebook a statement about martyrs and an image of the Islamic State's flag.
May 2. The Women's Wellbeing Clinic at Cardiff Royal Infirmary became the first clinic in Wales to provide medical and psychological help to victims of female genital mutilation (FGM). An estimated 2,000 women and girls in Wales are living with FGM. According to the BBC, one case of FGM was discovered on average every three days by maternity staff in Wales in 2016.
May 4. The Independent Press Standards Organization, the independent regulator for the newspaper and magazine industry in Britain, ordered the Daily Star, a tabloid newspaper, to publish a correction for an article that wrongly claimed that a "hijab row" would force all McDonald's restaurants in the London borough of Islington to close. The Muslim Council of Britain, a Muslim umbrella group, complained that the article's headline was misleading.
May 6. Melanie Phillips, a conservative columnist, ignited a firestorm of criticism after she said on BBC TV's Sunday Politics that there is no equivalence between anti-Semitism and Islamophobia:
"Anti-Semitism is not just a form of racism, it is a unique derangement that is based entirely on lies and demonization. The same cannot be said of what is considered Islamophobia. The term Islamophobia itself is used to cover-up legitimate criticism of Muslims or the Islamic community."
May 9. The International Glaucoma Association (IGA) warned Muslim glaucoma patients not to stop taking eye drop medication during Ramadan because stopping drops even for a short period of time can cause permanent loss of vision. Some Muslims have stopped using their eye drops during Ramadan, believing that using them will break their fast. IGA Development Manager Subhash Suthar said:
"We want to reassure the Muslim community that drops can be taken before dawn and after sunset (known as Suhoor and Iftar), when food and drink can be consumed. We also suggest that patients close the tear duct when taking eye drops (known as punctual occlusion) as this means that fluid stays in the eye and does not drain into the throat and so cannot be tasted."
May 9. The Sentencing Council, an independent body responsible for developing sentencing guidelines for courts to use when passing a sentence, published changes for public order offenses, which include stirring up hatred against people on the grounds of race, religion or sexual orientation. If approved, judges would be able to increase punishments for offenders who are "in a position of trust, authority or influence and abuse their position to stir up hatred." The Independent reported that having a high number of followers on social media, such as Twitter or Facebook, could be among the factors considered when making sentencing decisions. The Telegraph noted that the changes would give courts more power when sentencing Islamic hate preachers. The changes, however, could also be used to silence outspoken critics of Islam.
May 9. The Sunday Telegraph paid "substantial damages" to Mohammed Kozbar, the general secretary of Finsbury Park mosque, after it falsely portrayed him as a supporter of violent lslamist extremism, according to the Guardian. Finsbury Park mosque was once run by the radical preacher Abu Hamza before it was shut down in 2003. Kozbar said he has since worked to rebuild the mosque's reputation and sued the Telegraph in order to take a stand against "Islamophobic media coverage." The Telegraph removed the article from its website, published a ruling accepting that the article was defamatory, and paid damages of around £30,000 (€34,000; $40,000) to settle the case.
May 10. The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU), a specialized agency of the Home Office, reported 1,196 cases of potential or actual forced marriages in Britain in 2017. The victims in around 80% of cases were female; 256 of the victims were male. Where the age was known, 15.6% of cases involved victims below 16 years of age, and 29.7% involved victims below the age of 18. The largest proportion of cases (17.9%) involved victims between the ages of 18 and 21. In 2017, children residing in Britain were sent to 65 different countries to undergo forced marriages. The top four countries with the highest number of cases in 2017 were: Pakistan, 439 cases (36.7%); Bangladesh, 129 cases (10.8%); Somalia, 91 cases (7.6%); and India, 82 cases (6.9%). In 2017, 120 (10%) of the cases had no overseas element: the potential or actual forced marriages took place entirely within Britain.
May 10. Yousef Abdul Latif Jameel, a businessman and philanthropist, donated £850,000 (€911,000; $1,075,000) to support scholarships at Cardiff University's Centre for the Study of Islam. The center, part of the University's School of History, Archaeology and Religion, was established in 2005 for research and teaching about Islam and Muslims in Britain.
May 21. Quilliam, a London-based counter-extremism group, in a new report — "FGM Legislation in Britain: A National Scandal" — noted that Britain has failed to bring a single perpetrator of FGM to justice, even though the practice has been outlawed there since in 1985. "The fact that we've been collecting detailed FGM data for some years now and still haven't seen a single case brought to justice is a shame and utter disservice to the thousands of young girls and women who have undergone this horrific practice," the report said.
May 22. Religious advisers at the Masjid Ramadan Mosque in Dalston said that bitcoin, the cryptocurrency, is halal (permissible according to Islamic law) for donations if it is "transacted in a lawful manner." The mosque, also known as Shacklewell Lane Mosque, will accept donations in two different cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum. Zayd al Khair, a religious adviser at the mosque, said: "Any money or currency is neither halal, permissible, nor haram, impermissible. Guidance is about the value which it represents. If money is transacted in a lawful manner, then it is halal. We do not always know the source of cash donations, but we take these in good faith too."
May 22. Farooq Rashid, 43, of Bradford, was sentenced to two years in prison for possessing and sharing jihad-related material online. "Terrorist groups such as Daesh [ISIS] rely heavily on their propaganda being shared online to encourage support, radicalize, and provoke individuals to carry out attacks abroad and in the UK," said Martin Snowden, the head of Counter Terrorism Policing in North East England.
May 23. A mother who forced her daughter to marry a relative almost twice her age was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison. It was the first time a case of forced marriage — an offense punishable in Britain since 2014 — case was successfully prosecuted in an English court. Birmingham Crown Court heard how the woman duped the then-17-year-old into travelling to Pakistan to wed the man, 16 years her senior.
May 23. The Daily Mail reported that Amazon, the online retailer, was selling terrorist recruitment material and bomb-making manuals: "Many of the books, which have radicalized thousands of international terrorists, are available for next-day delivery. Some can be downloaded instantly as Kindle editions anywhere in the world. The inflammatory titles are sold by third parties using Amazon's platform, allowing them global reach and lending them an aura of legitimacy." Labour MP John Mann said: "This is Amazon giving assistance to terrorists and putting lives at risk. We've just had the anniversary of the Manchester bombing. They need to be held to account. Amazon is allowing terror material to circulate. Free speech arguments don't apply when it comes to terrorists trying to recruit. There must be a full police investigation into Amazon."
May 24. Baroness Cox and other members of the House of Lords called on the British government to "respond urgently" to a 2015 review on Sharia courts by drafting a law to protect vulnerable Muslim women. Lord Elton said that the problem of Sharia councils "seems to me bigger and more urgent than Her Majesty's Government are giving it credit for." Baroness Flather accused Whitehall of not taking the issue seriously. Baroness Cox asked whether the government "will make it a priority to respond urgently with appropriate legislation." In April 2015, Baroness Cox authored a 40-page report — "A Parallel World: Confronting the Abuse of Many Muslim Women in Britain Today" — which documented how Muslim women across Britain are being systematically oppressed, abused and discriminated against by Sharia law courts, which treat women as second-class citizens. The report warned against the spiraling proliferation of Islamic tribunals in the United Kingdom.
May 25. Tommy Robinson, a 35-year-old anti-Islam activist, was arrested and jailed for contempt of court after livestreaming footage of participants in a criminal trial outside Leeds Crown Court. The trial involved members of a Muslim pedophile gang charged with sexually exploiting young girls. Outrage ensued after Judge Geoffrey Marson ordered a media blackout on Robinson's arrest and incarceration.
May 29. A Pew Research Study found that 73% of Britons identify as being Christian, but only 18% attend church. In the UK, 45% of church-attending Christians say Islam is fundamentally incompatible with British values and culture, as do roughly the same share of non-practicing Christians (47%). Among religiously unaffiliated adults, 30% say Islam is fundamentally incompatible with their country's values. The poll found that 69% of those who identify as Christian were in favor of reducing the levels of immigration, compared to 32% of non-affiliated adults.
May 29. A couple was convicted of forced marriage for luring their 19-year-old daughter to Bangladesh in an attempt to force her to marry her first cousin — so that he could obtain a British visa. Leeds Crown Court heard how the girl's parents had told her they were going on a six-week holiday to Bangladesh to visit relatives. Just days after arriving, however, she was told by her father that he had found a husband for her. The victim, who was not named for legal reasons, told the court: "He said, 'I have planned this for years, the guy is really suitable, I've given him money for university, and he's a really attractive guy for round here.' He was trying to get me to say yes, but at no point did I say yes. I thought it was disgusting because it was my first cousin and stood my ground." She was rescued by British authorities before the marriage took place. The judge told the two defendants that they should expect an "immediate imprisonment" when they are sentenced on June 18.
May 29. The trial began of Anthony Small, a 36-year-old former boxing champion who converted to Islam in 2007, for terrorism offenses. Prosecutor Karen Robinson told the Old Bailey that Small "implored Muslims to take violent action against the West." On his YouTube channel, Small described himself as "a former professional champion boxer who now works to take mankind out of the oppression of democracy and liberating themselves with Islam/Sharia." In the video, he spoke out against McDonald's and Coca Cola and other symbols of Western culture. He said the choice was to "either accept the flame-grilled burger or we are going to flame grill you from the sky."
May 30. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) called on the Conservative Party to conduct an inquiry into allegations of Islamophobia within the party, after five Tory candidates were suspended for making anti-Islam comments. On April 17, for example, Alexander van Terheyden, a council candidate in Hackney, was suspended after he called Islam, a "violent political ideology" comparable to fascism and communism. In response to allegations of Islamophobia, Van Terheyden said: "I've stated Islam is a violent political ideology. Note the word 'political' and not religious. Note I do not refer to Muslims, I refer to the political ideology. My views have always been public. If you mean the fact that I'm happy to voice my discontent for communism, fascism, Islam and other extreme political ideologies there is no secret to this." In December 2015, a government report found that the MCB is "secretly linked" to the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic fundamentalist group committed to a "civilizational jihad" aimed at undermining liberal democracies in the West.
May 31. Khurram Javed, 35, of Rotherham was sentenced to two years in prison for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl. The trial was part of the National Crime Agency's Operation Stovewood, which is investigating child sexual exploitation and abuse in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.
May 31. Husnain Rashid, 32, of Lancashire, pled guilty at Woolwich Crown Court to three terrorism offenses, including one in which he called for an attack against Prince George, son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and third in line to the throne. Rashid will be sentenced on June 28 for the offenses spanning from October 2016 to April 2018.
May 31. Mohammed Aslam Rabani, a 61-year-old twice-married former imam, was sentenced to five years in prison for sexually assaulting a teenage boy in the attic of a mosque in Nottingham. Rabani repeatedly assaulted the boy between June 1990 and June 1993. The victim, who is now married and a father, said: "He was a father figure to me and everyone. Not even my own family would believe what he was doing to me. I was scared, because beatings at home and at the mosque were commonplace in our community. Children just did as they were told and adults were always right. As a result, I didn't speak out. Additionally, I thought it was normal, because I also believed that Rabani should be trusted. I assumed that because he was the imam, that whatever he did was right and that he was closest to God."
June 1. Karam Majdi, a 19-year-old failed asylum seeker believed to be from Egypt, was sentenced to seven years in prison for raping a 14-year-old girl he met online. Majdi met the girl and a friend at East Croydon train station in 2017 and raped her in a nearby youth hostel. Majdi claimed to be an unaccompanied minor from Syria when he arrived in the UK in 2016.
June 2. A group of up to five "Asian" males drove over a teenage rugby player and beat him with a golf club in an incident police described as a hate crime. Police said Littleborough RUFC player Matthew Hayden, 17, suffered a fractured skull in the unprovoked attack in Rochdale. Littleborough RUFC said that a car in which Hayden was riding was rammed by another car. When Hayden got out of the car, another car struck him; he was then hit on the head with a golf club. The attackers shouted racial abuses during the assault, which is being treated as a hate crime. Detective Mark McDowall of Greater Manchester Police described the attack as "brutal," "unprovoked" and leaving Hayden with "life-changing injuries."
June 3. Paigham Mustafa, a Scots-Muslim writer, was threatened with death after he wrote in a Facebook post that fasting between dawn and dusk during the month of Ramadan is not decreed by the Quran. In a series of threatening messages under the post, one critic said:
"Shut up or else you will get your head chopped off...shut up or else you will be beheaded...shut up you kafir [disbeliever] dog... you will get beheaded... we will kill you kafir."
A message sent by another critic said: "Quran says kill people like you. You deserve to be killed. We will kill you." Mustafa replied:
"I think it is important to emphasize that it is not Islam that I am against. I simply want to make people aware of those rituals that are not in the Quran. I did not say that it is wrong to fast, but ritual fasting is not decreed."
Mustafa and his family were offered police protection.
June 3. Pubs across Britain removed Saudi flags during World Cup soccer games after offended Muslims complained that Islam bans drinking alcohol. The brewery giant Greene King supplied decorations featuring the national flags of all 32 teams to celebrate the World Cup, but because the Saudi flag features Arabic words from a sacred Islamic text, Muslims complained to the company that flying it outside pubs offends their religion.
June 3. London's Southwark Cathedral hosted an iftar dinner — a meal after sunset during the month of Ramadan — as part of the program of events to mark the anniversary of the London Bridge attack. The Bishop of Southwark, Christopher Chessun, spoke about "a city of peace" and "a community of peace" before inviting those gathered at the cathedral to exchange a sign of peace with one another. A local community activist, Amir Eden, said:
"This event is another opportunity to bring people together, of different religions and of no particular religion, to celebrate our love and compassion for each other."
June 4. Safaa Boular, an 18-year-old woman from Vauxhall, was found guilty of plotting a jihadi attack in London. She was accused of plotting a gun and grenade attack at the British Museum after her attempts to become a jihadi bride were thwarted. Jurors at the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales, commonly referred to as the Old Bailey, heard how Boular decided to become a "martyr" after her Islamic State fighter fiancé was killed in Syria. The plot made her one of the youngest females to be charged and convicted of terrorism offenses in the UK. Her older sister, Rizlaine Boular, 22, and their mother, Mina Dich, 44, both previously pled guilty to planning a knife attack in London. It was the first all-female jihadi cell in Britain linked to the Islamic State.
July 4. Home Secretary Sajid Javid said that jihadis were "twisting their faith." Javid said that after the attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris in 2015, he had a heart-breaking conversation with his 11-year-old daughter trying to explain what had happened:
"I had to explain that these murderers called themselves Muslims. That they were invoking the religion of my parents, and my grandparents, and countless generations of Javids before them.
"Of course, I know they are not true Muslims, but there's no avoiding the fact that these people self-identify as Muslims."
June 6. Home Secretary Sajid Javid lashed out at critics who said that he is "not Muslim enough" after he rejected claims of widespread Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. He said he had been branded a "Coconut" and "Uncle Tom" and some people had even questioned whether he was "really Muslim or not." Javid, a "non-practicing" Muslim, insisted that "Muslims come in all shapes and sizes."
June 10. During the 2018 Quds Day rally in London, Sheikh Mohammad Saeed Bahmanpour of the Islamic Centre of England sent a message "to the Jewish people of Palestine": "You can be sure that the resistance will come, free Palestine, and wipe Israel off the map." He added:
"My message to the Zionist bunch, who are occupying Palestine, your days are numbered, either you go yourself or we will try, we will drive you away. We will kick you out of Palestine, that is a promise. I may be old, and I may not see that day, but I promise the young people who are here, you will one day see that day and you will march into Al-Quds."
June 11. A protection order was issued in Sheffield for three sisters, aged one, four and six, considered at risk of female genital mutilation. Detectives from South Yorkshire Police's child abuse investigation and safeguarding department were granted the order for the three girls after they were identified as being at risk of being taken out of the country for the procedure.
June 12. Oxford Against Cutting, a female genital mutilation charity in Oxford, launched a summer campaign across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire to raise awareness among girls who may be at risk. Posters were displayed at bus stops, schools, hospitals, community centers, billboards and on buses.
June 13. Members of the Church of England clergy in Worcester East Deanery lent their support to an ambitious £3 million (€3.4 million; $4 million) bid by the Worcester Muslim Welfare Association to build a new mosque in the heart of the city. Under the proposals, the association wants to build the new mosque to cater to its growing number of worshipers. Senior figures from St. Nicholas Church, St. Barnabas with Christ Church, St. Martin's, St. John the Baptist in Claines and All Saints Worcester all showed their support for construction of the new mosque, which they said would promote interfaith relations.
June 14. Non-Muslim police officers took part in an 18-hour fast for Ramadan to help boost relations with the Islamic community. Northamptonshire Police said the move was to "show unity" and "gain a better understanding" of the local community during the Muslim holy month. Chair of the Northamptonshire Association of Muslim Police, Sophia Perveen, said:
"When organizing this event, I didn't expect officers or staff to fast, as it can be quite a shock to the system, however it was really encouraging to see them give it a go.
"This helped to send a powerful message to the local community that officers are willing to try different approaches to gain a better understanding of different communities, their needs and how it impacts their lives."
June 15. Omar Mohamad, a 62-year-old man from Reading who hit a police officer in the face with a cane at a Tommy Robinson rally in Hyde Park, was spared a prison sentence. Sergeant Guy Rooney was severely bruised in the face in the attack. Passing a 26-week suspended sentence, District Judge Richard Blake said:
"While you do need that stick to walk with, you very much used it by wielding it around as a weapon. You brought the stick round and struck the officer in the face. There is no doubt that this was a very significant injury that you caused with your stick.
"You're a man of sixty-two and of good character. You have got to sixty-two without committing an offense. Given your poor health and your previous good character it will be a suspended sentence."
June 16. A security camera caught a fast food delivery driver for a Bangladeshi restaurant in Southgate ripping a Christian cross from a woman's front door and throwing it on the ground before delivering her food. Georgia Savva, a 48-year-old Greek Orthodox finance worker, had just been about to leave for work when she noticed the Palm Sunday cross that had been on display on her front door had been torn into pieces and left scattered on her doormat. She said:
"It doesn't matter what your personal view is, you do not treat people like that. People are all too aware of things that are anti-Muslim, or anti-Semitic, but there isn't even a name for things that are anti-Christianity."
June 18. The trial began of Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, a 27-year-old man from Luton, for driving his car at a police van and reaching for a blade in London in August 2017. The court heard how he attacked police with a samurai sword outside Buckingham Palace out of hatred for the Queen. Chowdhury shouted "Allahu Akbar" ("Allah is greatest") as two officers grappled with him. The court also heard the contents of a suicide note he sent to his sister:
"Tell everyone that I love them and that they should struggle against the enemies of Allah with their lives and their property. The Queen and her soldiers will all be in the hellfire. They go to war with Muslims around the world and kill them without any mercy. They are the enemies that Allah tells us to fight."
June 18. Sikander Khan of Park Hill in Rochdale was sentenced to four years in prison after a jury found him guilty of trespassing with intent to commit a sexual offense. The court heard how the victim was asleep at her home with her children and Khan went into the house without permission and made his way upstairs with the intent of sexually assaulting her. He went into the woman's bedroom, but the victim woke up and confronted him. Police said he "fabricated a web of lies" to talk his way out of it.
June 22. Khawla Barghouthi, a 21-year-old who came to Britain from Tunisia a decade ago, was sentenced to two years and four months in prison for failing to tell police that Britain's first all-female jihadi cell was plotting an attack in London. Barghouthi was friends with Rizlaine Boular, 22, who had planned an atrocity in London with her younger sister Safaa Boular, 18, and mother Mina Dich, 44. Judge Mark Dennis QC said:
"You appear to be a caring and intelligent person. However, not only did you fail to report the matter or fail to raise the alarm with anyone in the days before your arrest, thereby helping to save others from harm including your friend herself, but you appear to have done little, if anything, actively to dissuade her from her violent course."
Barghouthi was also told she faces automatic deportation when she completes her prison term.
June 22. Mustafa Musa, the principal of an Islamic boarding school dubbed the "Muslim Eton," was fired after police uncovered weapons and more than £400,000 (€450,000; $530,000) in cash at his son's apartment at the facility. Armed police were called to the Darul Uloom school, an independent Islamic school in Chislehurst, after reports of a man brandishing a firearm. Musa was subsequently arrested on suspicion of money laundering. The Department for Education, citing concerns over the safety of its 155 pupils, filed a lawsuit to shut down the school. Westminster Magistrates' Court ruled that the school could remain open after agreeing that Musa and his son will have "no involvement whatsoever" with the school in the future.
June 23. The Mail on Sunday reported that up to 80 of the 193 people convicted of terrorism offenses between 2007 and 2016 would be eligible for release in 2018.
June 25. Shamraize Bashir, 34, of Bradford, avoided prison after he blamed smoking cannabis during Ramadan for an anti-Semitic tirade. Bashir was arrested at Manchester airport after disembarking from a flight from Tel Aviv. He reportedly reduced fellow passengers to tears with a barrage of anti-Semitic insults. A probation report read to the court said:
"He suggests cannabis use prior to the flight and particularly during Ramadan might have affected his behavior. But there is a low risk of serious harm and a low risk of reoffending."
June 26. Khalid Ali, a 28-year-old plumber-turned-bombmaker from Edmonton, was convicted of planning a terror attack in Westminster and making bombs for the Taliban. Prosecutors said Ali, who was arrested in April 2017, was caught carrying three knives for use in a "murderous attack" on politicians and police. Ali said he wanted to deliver a "message" to British authorities, but claimed that the knives were for protection. An Old Bailey jury convicted him of preparing an act of terrorism in the UK and two counts of possessing an explosive substance with intent. Ali will be sentenced on July 20.
June 27. Sameena Ahmed, a 47-year-old woman from Thornhill Lees, pled guilty to charges of assault and assault by beating. She said that she assaulted her pregnant neighbor because she was suffering from a headache due to fasting during Ramadan.
June 29. The Charity Commission, the charities regulator, announced that it had opened an investigation into the Fazal Ellahi Charitable Trust, which operates a mosque in Birmingham. An imam at the mosque was convicted of six counts of encouraging terrorism and two counts of encouraging support for a proscribed organization in a series of sermons and classes for children.
June 30. Mubarek Ali, a 35-year-old ringleader of a grooming gang in Telford, was released from prison less than halfway into a 14-year prison sentence. Ali was sentenced to 22 years in prison in 2013 for running a "squalid" grooming gang targeting vulnerable young girls, some just 13-years-old, and selling them for sex around the country. Telford MP Lucy Allan expressed outrage over a decision:
"Victims and members of the public would have expected a 22-year sentence to mean that the community could have time to heal and victims would be able to get on with their lives.
"What we see in this case is that the one of the main perpetrators is being released into the community only five years after the trial.
"What is unacceptable that in this case there was no attempt by the authorities to reach out these young women and prepare them for this wholly unexpected event.
"Worse still is the prospect that this person may be returned to Telford and naturally this has caused huge anxiety to victims."