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Scotland Yard Chief: Muslim Scholars Must Step up Anti-ISIS Efforts | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Scotland Yard. AFP

London- Britain’s top police officer has said that Muslim scholars must step up their efforts to counter the violent ideology of the ISIS terrorist organization.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe warned that the group was continuing to lure recruits by claiming that Islam supported its actions and that the authorities needed the help of Muslim scholars and others to challenge this false narrative.

“The hardest part for the Western world is to interrupt this philosophy that Daesh [ISIS] is perpetuating which is that Islam in any way supports this horrific use of violence,” Sir Bernard told the Evening Standard.

“There is no interpretation I would argue that could say that, but some people are getting away with that. Muslim scholars have got to come up and be really challenging of that and be very clear that this can never be acceptable.

“There is no interpretation that can ever conclude it’s ok to kill people. We can’t be at all sensitive to religious beliefs. We have all got to say that is wrong.”

The Scotland Yard chief issued a new warning about the looming threat posed by “brutalized and militarized” extremists returning from Syria.

He said he believed that ISIS militants and terrorists were “political criminals” who were carrying out “horrific violence” which had no justification in the Muslim religion.

He said around 850 Britons had travelled from Europe to fight in Syria and Iraq and that police now faced the threat of battle-hardened militants returning home as ISIS moved closer to defeat.

“We are now seeing Daesh’s sphere of influence being reduced in Syria and Iraq and it looks as though it’s clear that they will lose and the other side will win,” he said.

“Some of those people are going to come home and that’s the threat that’s hanging there.

“The ones who return in reasonable numbers will put more pressure on us and will go to the top of the priority list in terms of looking at, because they will be brutalized, militarized, have friends and a level of organization that we don’t experience today. They are the ones that we most have to worry about and it’s hard to predict when.”

Sir Bernard added that he was “pretty confident” that those returning from Syria and Iraq would be identified either before or as they entered Britain.