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Islamic extremists seek to benefit from Britain riots: intelligence group

August 10, 2011

British Prime Minister David Cameron (R) meets with senior officers from the police, fire and ambulance services.

Islamic extremists are rallying forces to flood the web with anti-British messages after riots in several English cities, hoping to use the unrest to advance their cause, SITE Intelligence Group said Wednesday.

Postings on jihadist websites have urged followers to incite the rioters to further action via social media, perhaps leading to Arab-style protests in Britain, said the US-based organization, which monitors messages from extremist groups.

In a message on the Shumukh Al Islam forum posted Wednesday, one extremist says the riots could be “useful” for the jihadist cause, suggesting Britain could perhaps withdraw troops from Afghanistan and send them to London.

He advised jihadists to “infiltrate the British forums, Facebook and Twitter” with catchy slogans such as “We are all Mark Duggan”, a reference to the man shot dead by London police — the incident that triggered the violence.

“What is happening in London today is an opportunity for the mujahedeen to make a move and change the positions very easily,” said the post from Abu Al Harith Al Qandahari, according to SITE.

“The mujahedeen must start recruiting, because this is a very valuable opportunity, and they must prepare, due to the preoccupation of the British police with putting down the riots.”

Several posts on jihadist forums called on those most fluent in English to spread the slogans, with one reminding them to include the uk hashtag on Twitter to ensure their posts would be seen by a maximum number of people.

A jihadist who called himself Dabah Al Adeyaat suggested “No to walking behind American policies” and “No to spending money in colonial military missions” as other possible catchphrases.

On the Ansar Al Mujahedeen forum, jihadists provided links to the Facebook pages to top British football clubs such as Manchester United and Arsenal, urging followers to post key slogans on those pages, according to SITE.

Prime Minister David Cameron said a “fightback” had begun Wednesday against the riots. Three Asian men were hit and killed by a car while defending their community from looters in Birmingham, and the unrest spread to other cities.

Police have arrested more than 1,100 people across the country since the riots erupted on Saturday in the north London district of Tottenham after police shot dead Duggan – a father of four – two days earlier.

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