Ministers fear revival of Islamist extremism could be fuelling rise in anti-Semitism

A resurgence of Islamist extremism could be fuelling the increase in anti-Semitism on Britain’s streets, ministers fear.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Robert Jenrick, the Communities Secretary, said recent incidents of anti-Jewish hate showed “signs of something more pernicious” than “casual anti-Semitism” and warned of “extremist groups operating in our midst”. In that interview  Robert Jenrick asserts that the tide of ‘woke’ as shown by the campaign to topple historic statues and monuments, has turned. The comments generally think this is a premature claim, although it is good that he has noticed that something (much) is wrong. 

He pledged that the Government will “redouble its efforts” to deal with extremism, which will include ensuring that bodies such as police forces must “fully understand their responsibilities and [do] everything they can to tackle it”.

Mr Jenrick’s intervention came after Boris Johnson condemned the “shameful racism” of anti-Jewish abuse shouted from a car travelling through north London earlier this month. 

Separately, some protestors at pro-Palestine marches held placards displaying Nazi symbols and other anti-Jewish material. On Saturday, a synagogue in Luton advised its members to stay away from a pro-Palestine rally taking place in the town.

Amid growing government concern about a possible resurgence of Islamist extremism, The Telegraph understands that William Shawcross, the official reviewer of Prevent, the Government’s anti-extremism programme, is examining links between Islamist activity and anti-Semitic incidents across the country.

Sir John Jenkins, the former diplomat who led a government review of the Muslim Brotherhood Islamist network in 2015, said that there are “warning signs flashing everywhere” about the presence of Islamist extremists in Britain, urging the Government to “grasp the nettle”. 

Mr Jenrick’s remarks came as it emerged that Usman Khan was able to carry out the Fishmongers’ Hall terror attack in 2019 despite having a reputation as a dangerous extremist that led to the nickname “High Risk Khan”. I have not posted about that yet; a great deal to take in. 

Asked whether Britain was experiencing a resurgence of the sort of Islamist extremism highlighted by David Cameron more than a decade ago, Mr Jenrick said: “I think we have to be alive to that, because some of the themes we’ve seen in recent weeks are more than just casual anti-Semitism, or people who don’t understand what anti-Semitism is, and drift into it by accident.  “I think there were signs of something more pernicious – of extremism. . .”

Evidence submitted to Mr Shawcross’s review by the Community Security Trust (CST), which monitors anti-Semitic incidents, warns that “anti-Semitism can be a warning sign of extremism that threatens not only Jews but the whole of society”. The CST has warned of “a pattern of historically high anti-Semitic incident figures in recent years”. 

On Friday, Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, urged schools to act to counter a recent “abhorrent” spike in anti-Semitic incidents. In a letter to head teachers and school leaders, Mr Williamson warned of a risk of an “atmosphere of intimidation or fear” in some institutions.

Sir John criticised Mr Williamson for failing, until Friday, to step in to defend teachers such as the staff member at Batley Grammar . . The Telegraph has also learnt that there is mounting concern within the Government and among education leaders that “opportunist” pressure groups are jumping on disputes within schools to try and escalate tensions. (eg Allerton Grange in Leeds)


2 Responses

  1. “redouble” efforts — What efforts and When were efforts first doubled ? What are the metrics for assessing redoubled (quadrupled?) effort effectiveness? / “casual anti-semitism” — casual for the imposer or for the imposed upon? When was the poll for casualness taken and who was polled?

  2. All excellent questions Mr. Nelson…
    I’m sure you will soon have an equally excellent answer…

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