“The realistic future for Britain is Islamic.”
The Muslim population of Britain surpassed 3.5 million in 2016 to become around 5.5% of the overall population of 64 million, according to figures 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 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 2016, can be categorized into five broad themes: 1) Islamic extremism and the security implications of British jihadists in Syria and Iraq; 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 3. A jihadist with a London accent appeared in an Islamic State propaganda video after the group executed five men accused of spying for the UK. The masked gunman warned Prime Minister David Cameron that the West could never defeat the Islamic State. The video also showed a young boy, aged around four and with a British accent, threatening to kill non-Muslims.
January 4. British officials traveled to Sudan to stanch the flow of UK-born medics joining the Islamic State. More than a dozen British doctors studying at Sudan’s University of Medical Sciences and Technology (UMST) have joined the Islamic State to treat jihadists in Syria. Parents said they had sent their children to study in Sudan to reconnect them with their African and Islamic roots before returning to practice medicine in Britain.
January 4. The Jamiatul Ummah School in Tower Hamlets, East London, failed an inspection when investigators from Ofsted, the official agency that regulates British schools, found extremist material in its library, including books that call for stoning women.
January 5. Pastor James McConnell, a 78-year-old pastor from Belfast, was cleared of charges that he violated the Communications Act 2003 when, in a sermon broadcast on the internet, he described Islam as “heathen,” “Satanic” and “a doctrine spawned in hell.” Judge Liam McNally said: “The courts need to be very careful not to criticize speech which, however contemptible, is no more than offensive. It is not the task of the criminal law to censor offensive utterances.”
January 6. A man and a woman were arrested on suspicion of terrorism after attempting to board a UK-bound flight with fake Belgian passports. The pair, understood to be brother and sister, were arrested at Cristoforo Colombo Airport in Genoa, Italy, while trying to board the flight. Fears were raised that the pair, who claimed to be Syrian refugees, might be jihadis after police found violent images on their smartphones.
January 6. A House of Commons briefing paper on polygamy revealed that recent reforms to the social security system would allow migrants in polygamous marriages to claim additional benefits payments. Although polygamy is illegal in Britain, some 300,000 people are believed to be living in such unions in the country.
January 6. The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), which represents examination boards in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, reached an agreement with Muslim groups to reschedule crucial exams during the next three years to avoid clashing with Ramadan, when observant Muslim pupils would be expected to fast.
January 8. A Muslim woman who claimed she was assaulted in downtown Birmingham for wearing a hijab days after the Paris attacks was fined after video footage proved she fabricated her story.
January 8. Islamic extremists were allowed to tour British universities unchallenged, even though universities and colleges are legally required to prevent extremists radicalizing students on campus, according to the Daily Mail.
January 9. The Criminal Cases Review Commission, an official government body, was found to be helping asylum seekers overturn their convictions for illegal entry to Britain in order to allow them to receive refugee status and remain in the UK. MPs said the practice could “undermine deterrence” and lead to thousands more illegal arrivals.
January 15. London Police released video footage of a hijab-clad woman who tried to stab a 15-year-old boy on a bus in Lambeth.
January 16. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond revealed that some 1,500 Britons tried to join the Islamic State since 2012. An estimated 800 people, mostly jihadists and family members, successfully entered Syria; roughly half are still there. Another 600 were stopped, either as they tried to leave Britain, or after arriving in Turkey.
January 18. Prime Minister David Cameron announced a plan to invest £20 million (€33 million; $28 million) in English classes for Muslim women to reduce the risk of extremism. He said migrants to Britain who cannot pass an English test within 2-1/2 years of arriving may not be allowed to stay. British Muslim groups accused Cameron of demonizing their communities.
January 19. Muhammad Shamsuddin, a 39-year-old London-based Islamist, was featured in a new documentary called “The Jihadis Next Door.” Shamsuddin, a divorced father of five who lives on state handouts and claims he cannot work because he has “chronic fatigue syndrome,” was filmed preaching hate against non-Muslims on British streets.
January 19. The government launched a new website, “Educate against Hate,” aimed at helping schools and parents to tackle the “spell of twisted ideologies.”
January 22. The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, called on British clergymen to grow beards to reach out to Muslims in their areas.
January 24. Behar Kasemi, a 42-year-old refugee from Kosovo, was jailed for four weeks after he threatened to cut out his wife’s heart because she had become “too English.” He told police: “In my country it is for the women to obey their husbands and look after the children.”
January 25. One in five prisoners in Britain’s top-security prisons are Muslim. The eight Category A prisons contain 5,885 highly dangerous inmates and 1,229 — 20.8% — are Muslim. By comparison, 5.5% of the overall UK population is Muslim.
January 25. The Royal Air Force foiled a jihadist plot by two commercial airline pilots to bomb four British cities. The pilots, who were leaving Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport for a Middle Eastern country, were heard discussing attacks on London, Bath, Brighton and Ipswich. They were using the emergency “Mayday” channel in the belief they were not being monitored.
January 29. A judge in New York sentenced Mahdi Hashi, a 26-year-old Somali-born British citizen, to nine years in prison for joining al-Shabaab, a jihadist group based in East Africa. Hashi, who grew up in London, first came to Britain as a six-year-old when his family fled the civil war in Somalia. His British citizenship was revoked in July 2012 due to his “extremist activities.” He was later deported to the United States.
January 29. Ibrahim Anderson, 38, a convert to Islam, and Shah Jahan Khan, 63, were sentenced to a total of five years in prison for promoting the Islamic State on London’s Oxford Street.
January 30. Three Somalis who gang-raped a 16-year-old girl after luring her into a hotel bathroom in Manchester were sentenced to a total of 29 years in prison. The men, who showed no remorse for their actions, were said to be living according to the laws of Somalia, not Britain.
February 8. In a speech on prison reform, David Cameron said the government is considering placing all convicted Islamist terrorist prisoners in England and Wales in a single secure unit in order to prevent them from recruiting other prisoners.
February 16. A man in Scotland was arrested for posting a series of “offensive comments” about Syria refugees on Facebook. Twelve Syrian families arrived on the remote Scottish island of Bute as part of the Home Office’s Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement program.
February 16. Shabir Ahmed, the 63-year-old leader of a Rochdale child sex grooming gang, cited human rights laws as he launched an appeal against deportation from Britain. Ahmed —described by a judge as a “violent hypocritical bully” — wrote to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) claiming that his convictions for child sex offenses were a conspiracy to “scapegoat” Muslims.
February 17. At least 21 illegal Islamic schools were placed under investigation over fears of radicalization. Inspectors from Ofsted, the school’s regulator, found that the institutions were teaching “hate-filled, misogynistic, homophobic and anti-Semitic material.”
February 28. Sharia courts administering Islamic justice in Britain are run by clerics who believe some offenders should have their hands chopped off, according to Muslim scholar Elham Manea. She said that some clerics also believe girls can be married at the age of 12. She described the prevailing attitude as “totalitarian” and as more backward than some parts of Pakistan.
February 29. Girls in Britain as young as 11 are being forced into marriage via the internet while others are being secretly wed over the phone. Imams in Britain and abroad have been conducting ceremonies using Skype to marry British girls remotely to men abroad. The new husband is often promised that he will get a visa to come to Britain.
March 4. Ali Abdullahi, a 34-year-old migrant from Somalia who sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl at a train station in Torquay, told the Exeter Crown Court that the crime was a misunderstanding caused by “cultural differences.”
March 9. London is more “Islamic” than much of the Muslim world, according to Maulana Syed Ali Raza Rizvi, a prominent Shia cleric who was born in Pakistan. “I feel that London has more Islamic values than many of the Muslim countries put together,” he said.
March 9. An eight-year-old girl was taken into protective custody after a man and a woman were arrested at Heathrow Airport in connection with alleged female genital mutilation offenses. The girl was believed to have been taken Somalia to carry out FGM overseas.
March 11. Staff at a nursery in Luton referred a four-year-old boy to a de-radicalization program after the child drew an image of a man with a large chopping knife. Teachers said they believed he was saying “cooker bomb” instead of “cucumber.”
March 15. The Islamic Society at the London School of Economics held a gala dinner where men and women were segregated by a seven-foot screen so that attendees could not look at one another.
March 15. The Muslim Women’s Council in Bradford announced plans to build Britain’s first female-led mosque.
March 16. The High Court ruled that an 18-year-old girl who was born and raised in London and who ran away from home because her parents “were not strict enough Muslims” should be provided with government housing and a wide range of financial assistance until she turns 21.
March 17. A family court in London ruled that four children must be immunized after their Muslim mother refused consent because she said the vaccines contained pork gelatin.
March 20: A total of 3,955 people were referred to the Channel program, the British government’s de-radicalization scheme, in 2015, nearly triple the figure (1,681) in 2014.
March 28. Teaching children fundamental British values is an act of “cultural supremacism,” according to the National Union of Teachers (NUT), which wants to replace the concept with one that includes “international rights.”
March 31. The Islamic Tarbiyah Academy, a private Muslim school in Yorkshire, was accused of promoting Islamic extremism. The founder of the school, Mufti Zubair Dudha, belongs to the orthodox Deobandi sect, which is thought to control half of all mosques and madrasas in the UK. Dudha has warned Muslims not to adopt British customs, and told them they should be prepared to “expend … even life” to create a world organized “according to Allah’s just order.”
April 1. The first gym in Wales exclusively for Muslim women opened in Cardiff.
April 3. About 1,000 Muslim prisoners are at risk of being radicalized in British jails as part of “terrorist academies,” according to Lord Falconer, the shadow justice secretary.
April 4. Muslim extremists have turned part of the Gartree prison into a “no-go zone,” according to prison union leaders. They believe an entire block of the facility is being run under Sharia law.
April 13. A new study showed that a significant part of the British Muslim community is becoming a separate “nation within a nation.” The 615-page survey found that more than 100,000 British Muslims sympathize with suicide bombers. Only one in three British Muslims (34%) would contact the police if they believed that somebody close to them had become involved with jihadists. In addition, 23% of British Muslims said Islamic Sharia law should replace British law in areas with large Muslim populations.
April 18. Muslim preachers approved by the government are routinely distributing extremist literature in British prisons leaving hundreds of inmates at risk of radicalization, according to a leaked report.
April 22. Tarik Hassane and Suhaib Majeed, a pair of home-grown terrorists, were given life sentences for plotting to kill soldiers, police officers and civilians in a series of Islamic-State-inspired drive-by shootings. The judge said: “It is shocking, tragic and deplorable that you, two young British men, educated through the UK school system, undertaking university courses, should be so influenced by the bloodthirsty version of Islam presented by ISIS and other similarly minded groups.”
May 1. Mubashir Jamil, a 21-year-old man from Luton, was arrested on suspicion of attempting to travel to Syria to engage in “violent jihad” with the Islamic State.
May 2. A senior British jihadi who boasted of recruiting hundreds of Britons for the Islamic State was killed in a drone strike in Syria. Raphael Hostey, also known as Abu Qaqa al-Britani, left Manchester to join the Islamic State in 2013. The 23-year-old graphic designer became a key recruiter of British fighters and jihadi brides for the group.
May 4. The “Department of Theology” of the Blackburn Muslim Association ruled that it is “not permissible” for a woman to travel more than 48 miles — deemed to be the equivalent of three days walk — without her husband or a close male relative. The group also ruled that men must grow beards and women must cover their faces. The rulings were accompanied by the catchphrase: “Allah knows best.”
May 7. Labour Party politician Sadiq Khan was sworn in as mayor of London. He is the first Muslim to lead a major European capital. During the election campaign, Khan faced a stream of allegations about his past dealings with Muslim extremists and anti-Semites. British politician Paul Weston warned that Khan’s rise is a harbinger of things to come:
May 7. Mohammed Shaheen, a 43-year-old father of seven, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for raping underage schoolgirls. Shaheen, an immigrant from Pakistan, insisted he was a devout Muslim who had been framed by his victims.
May 8. Britain’s biggest Muslim charity branded hundreds of buses around the country with an Arabic slogan proclaiming “glory to Allah.” Islamic Relief said the initiative was an attempt to “break down barriers” during Ramadan and portray Islam in a positive light.
May 8. Six Algerian terror suspects with links to al-Qaeda were allowed to stay in Britain after winning a protracted legal battle. The government ruled that there was a “real risk” the men would be tortured by the Algerian security services if they were deported. This would have violated the Human Rights Act.
May 9. A Muslim man who was found guilty of threatening to behead a candidate of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) had his sentence overturned on appeal. Aftab Ahmed, 45, had been found guilty of making threats to kill David Robinson-Young, but a Newcastle Crown Court judge said he believed that Ahmed did not intend to act on his threat.
May 10. The Greater Manchester Police (GMP) apologized for a counter-terrorism exercise in which a mock suicide bomber shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is the greatest”). Eight hundred volunteers took part in the drill to make it as realistic as possible. A local Muslim leader, Syed Azhar Shah, said it was “shocking to portray Muslims as terrorists” and accused the GMP of “institutional racism.”
May 10. The trial began of three Muslims who plotted to behead British citizens after being inspired by an Islamic State order “to kill civilians everywhere in the West.”
May 11. Prime Minister David Cameron apologized to Suliman Gani, a Muslim extremist, for saying he is a supporter of the Islamic State. Cameron said he was referring to reports that Gani supports “an” Islamic state rather than “the” Islamic State. The Muslim Council of Britain called for an “urgent review” of Islamophobia in the Conservative party.
May 15. The BBC’s religious output is too Christian, according to Aaqil Ahmed, the BBC’s head of religion and ethics. He argued that that Muslim, Hindu and Sikh faiths should get more airtime.
May 16. The government confirmed that Sharia-compliant student loans will be offered for the first time in Britain as part of an effort to boost the number of young Muslims applying to university. The new finance model complies with Sharia law, which forbids Muslims from taking out loans on which they would be charged interest.
May 17. One-third of Muslim adults in Britain do not feel “part of British culture,” according to a new report on British multiculturalism. Nearly half (47%) of Muslims consider their Islamic faith to be the most important part of their identity.
May 17. Belmarsh, a maximum-security prison in London, has become “like a jihadi training camp,” according to testimony from a former inmate. “The problem is that Belmarsh is also a holding prison and so young people who are brainwashed and indoctrinated then go out into the wider prison system and create wider Akhi [brotherhood] networks.” Muslims comprise 30% of inmates at Belmarsh.
May 17. Brusthom Ziamani, a 20-year-old Muslim convert who was arrested in East London for plotting to behead a British soldier, had his sentence reduced. Judges reviewing his case said that “given his youth” his sentence was “too long.”
May 18. Ofsted, the government agency responsible for regulating British schools, admitted that it failed properly to inspect the Zakaria Muslim Girls’ High School in Batley because the inspector was “prohibited” from talking to pupils or staff. The school is run by the Deobandis, a conservative Muslim sect that is said to shun non-Muslims.
May 18. The Queen’s Speech, setting out the government’s program for the next session of parliament, unveiled a controversial new counter-extremism bill that included powers to gag individuals and ban organizations deemed as extremist. The bill did not, however, include a definition of extremism. Critics said the proposals risked creating “thought police.”
May 18. Akmal Afzal, a 23-year-old Briton of Pakistani descent who was arrested at the 2012 London Olympics after giving police a false name, filed a lawsuit for discrimination. He claims he was arrested because he was an “Asian man with a beard.”
May 22. The government was accused of burying a report on prison extremism. The report warned that staff have been reluctant to tackle Islamist behavior for fear of being labelled “racist.”
May 23. El Shafee Elsheikh, 27, was identified as the fourth member of the Islamic State execution cell responsible for beheading 27 hostages. The four guards, led by “Jihadi John,” were nicknamed the “Beatles” because of their English accents. Elsheikh, who was granted asylum in Britain when he was seven, left for Syria after being radicalized at a London mosque.
May 23. A British Muslim woman was jailed after she tried to take her children to Syria. Lorna Moore, 34, failed to tell police that her husband was a jihadist with the Islamic State. She was planning to take her three young children, one of them 11 months old, to the war zone.
May 23. A survey conducted by ComRes on behalf of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK found that 33% of British adults believe that Islam promotes violence in the UK. The study also found that 56% of Britons disagree with the view that Islam is compatible with British values.
May 24. A National Health Service (NHS) doctor left his wife and two children in Sheffield to join the Islamic State. Issam Abuanza, 37, a Palestinian doctor with British citizenship, was the first practicing NHS doctor known to have joined the Islamic State.
May 25. Police in West Yorkshire revealed that they were investigating 220 alleged cases of child sex grooming in Keighley and Bradford. The cases involve 261 suspects and 188 victims.
May 26. Home Secretary Theresa May established an independent review into the “misuse” of Sharia law in Britain. The review will not, however, examine whether Sharia law discriminates against women.
May 27. A British citizen who plotted to carry out a suicide bomb attack at Heathrow Airport was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Minh Quang Pham, 33, was sentenced in New York for travelling to Yemen to train with members of al-Qaeda. Pham, a Vietnamese born British convert to Islam, was extradited to the United States in February 2015.
May 29. Music festivals, sports venues and nightclubs were placed on “high alert” for potential jihadist attacks. Neil Basu of the Metropolitan Police warned: “These people are perfectly happy to target civilians with the maximum terror impact. Crowded places were always a concern for us, but now they are right at the top of the agenda.”
May 31. The trial began of Somalia-born Muhiddin Mire, 30, who tried to decapitate a random stranger in the London Underground. “This is for my Syrian brothers,” he yelled. “I am going to spill your blood.” Police found images on Mire’s cellphone of Islamic State hostages having their throats cut.
June 2. Aaqil Ahmed, the head of religion and ethics at the BBC, said Britons should admit the “uncomfortable” truth that Islamic State is made up of Muslims and their doctrine is Islamic: “I hear so many people say ISIS has nothing to do with Islam — of course it has. They are not preaching Judaism.”
June 2. A manual used by imams to teach prison inmates about Islam risks “turning people into jihadis,” Sheikh Musa Admani told the BBC. A section of the program on jihad said that taking up arms to fight “evil” is “one of the noblest acts.”
June 27. An article in the Economist magazine argued that some forms of female genital mutilation (FGM) should be allowed because “minor” forms of the practice might prevent girls from more extreme harm.
June 27. Shakeel Begg of the Lewisham Islamic Centre sued the BBC for libel over a broadcast which implied that he was a member of a “rogue’s gallery of extremists.” A lawyer for the BBC responded: “The basis for calling the claimant an extremist is short and simple. He has preached jihad as the greatest of deeds which in this context clearly means violence in the name of Islam.”
July 1. A Muslim taxi driver in Leicester refused to pick up a blind couple because they had a guide dog. “Me, I not take the dog,” the driver said. “For me, it’s about my religion.”
July 1. A judge in London ordered the deportation of Saliman Barci, a 41-year-old Albanian man who posed as a refugee from Kosovo and collected the full range of welfare payments in Britain for 14 years. It was discovered that in 2009, a court in Albania sentenced Barci in absentia to 25 years in prison for murdering two people.
July 2. Dahir Ibrahim, a 31-year-old Somali migrant, was sentenced to ten years in prison for raping two women in Birmingham. He had previously been sentenced to ten years in 2005 for raping a woman in Edgbaston. A judge had ordered his deportation after he served his first sentence, but he appealed and was allowed to remain in Britain. Ibrahim’s attorney, Jabeen Akhtar, successfully argued that he had a lack of understanding of what is acceptable in the United Kingdom.
July 3. Azad Chaiwala, a Muslim entrepreneur in Manchester, launched a campaign to “remove the taboo” behind polygamy, illegal in Britain, by starting two polygamy matchmaking sites.
July 4. A Muslim man was ordered to bring his nine-year-old daughter back to Britain after taking her to Algeria and leaving her there with his relatives. The man said he did not approve of his estranged wife’s new partner, a Christian.
July 5. The Labour Party reinstated Naz Shah, a Muslim MP from Bradford who was suspended over anti-Semitic Facebook posts that called on Israelis be deported to the United States.
July 6. Abdelhadi Ahmed, 39, appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on charges of forcing his wife to wear a headscarf outside her bedroom, banning her from speaking to other men and beating her.
July 7. Sana Khan, 24, who plotted a jihadist attack on a shopping center in Westfield had her sentence reduced for “good behavior.”
July 8. Mohammed Habibullah, a 69-year-old imam who leads prayers at a mosque in Dudley, was given a suspended sentence after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman. In determining the sentence, Judge Amjad Nawaz, a fellow Muslim, said that Habibullah was a man of “positive good character.”
July 8. Sir Michael Wilshaw, the head of the school inspection service Ofsted, warned that the “Trojan Horse” campaign to impose radical Islamic ideas on Birmingham schools has “gone underground.” He warned that Birmingham was failing to ensure that “children are not being exposed to harm, exploitation or the risk of falling under the influence of extremist views.”
July 10. More than 1,500 children — including 257 under the age of 10 — were referred to the Channel program, the government’s deradicalization scheme, during the first six months of 2015.
July 11. A Pew Research Center survey found that more than half (52%) of Britons surveyed said they believe that incoming refugees and migrants will increase the threat of terrorism in the UK. More than half (54%) of Britons also said that Muslims in the UK “want to be distinct from the larger society.” Nearly half (46%) said that migrants are an economic burden on the UK.
July 12. Residents in Manchester received leaflets in their mail boxes calling for a public ban on dogs. The leaflets, distributed by a group called “Public Purity,” stated: “This area is home to a large Muslim community. Please have respect for us and for our children and limit the presence of dogs in the public sphere. As citizens of a multicultural nation, those who live in the UK must learn to understand and respect the legacy and lifestyle of Muslims who live alongside them.”
July 12. Gavin Rae, 36, a former soldier with the British Army and a convert to Islam, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for trying to buy weapons for the Islamic State.
July 13. Ian Acheson, the head of a review into extremism in British prisons, warned that there is a hardcore group of jihadi prisoners whose “proselytizing behavior” among the Muslim inmates in England and Wales is so dangerous that they should be separated from the rest of the prison population.
July 18. Kelvin Mackenzie, a columnist for The Sun, wrote that Fatima Manji, a presenter for Channel 4 television, should not have been allowed to anchor new reports on the jihadist attack in Nice, France, because she is a Muslim and wears the hijab. The Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), the press regulator, said it had received more than 300 complaints about Mackenzie’s column.
July 18. The Independent Press Standards Organisation, the press regulator, ruled that the Mail Online was wrong to use the words “Islamic honor killing” in a headline because it wrongly suggested that the crime had been motivated by Islam.
July 20. Abdi Waise, 28, an illegal immigrant from Somalia, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for kidnapping a schoolgirl and attempting to abduct four others aged between 11 and 14 in North London over the space of two-and-half hours. The crimes occurred just three weeks after Waise was released early from an eight-year prison sentence for rape. He was not deported because, according to the British government, Somalia is too dangerous.
July 21. The government reported 5,700 new cases of female genital mutilation in England between April 2015 and March 2016. The statistics, the first to be published since the government introduced compulsory reporting for public hospitals. The most frequent age at which FGM was carried out was between five and nine. More than half of all cases relate to women and girls from London.
July 23. The Home Office confirmed that 550,000 teachers, nurses, child care providers and other public sector workers have been trained in the Prevent strategy, a counter-terrorism training program, to help them spot and report potential extremists in their workplaces.
July 25. Syrian refugees sent to the remote Scottish island of Bute complained that the area is “full of old people waiting to die” and they would rather be in Glasgow or Manchester “where there are more Arabic people.”
July 26. The makers of Fireman Sam, an animated television series for children, apologized after an episode which allegedly showed a character stepping on a page of the Koran. Muslim viewers claimed the episode “Troubled Waters” was Islamophobic because it showed a bumbling character named Elvis failing to respect the Muslim holy book.
July 26. The Home Office announced a £2.4 million ($3.2 million) “Hate Crime Action Fund” to “provide security measures and equipment for vulnerable places of worship that need increased protection.” The plan promises extra data collection and training to identify “anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, homophobic, racist and other bullying in schools.”
July 26. Two men of “Middle Eastern appearance” tried to abduct a serviceman at knifepoint at RAF Marham in Norfolk. The serviceman managed to fight off his attackers. Air Force personnel were warned to “keep a low profile” and told not wear their uniforms in public.
July 28. The BBC reported that five books regarded as “extremist” remained in jails in England and Wales after a review called for their removal. The banned titles were The Way of Jihad by Hassan Al-Banna; Milestones by Sayyid Qutb; The Lawful and Prohibited in Islam by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi; Towards Understanding Islam by Syed Abul Ala Maududi; and Fundamentals of Tauheed by Bilal Philips.
July 29. A Muslim street preacher in Birmingham was charged with public order offenses after he tried to enforce Sharia law on female passersby. Krissoni Henderson, 31, was arrested for allegedly shouting verbal abuse at a 38-year-old woman “for wearing tight jeans.”
August 1. Nearly 900 Syrians in Britain were arrested in 2015 for crimes including rape and child abuse, police statistics revealed. The British government has pledged to resettle up to 20,000 Syrian refugees in the UK by the end of 2020. “The government seems not to have vetted those it has invited into the country,” said MEP Ray Finch.
August 1. Male refugees settling in Britain must receive formal training on how to treat women, a senior Labour MP said. Thangam Debbonaire, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees, called for a “refugee integration strategy” so that men “understand what is expected of them.” She said it could help prevent sexual harassment and issues “including genital mutilation.”
August 3. Zakaria Bulhan, a 19-year-old Norwegian man of Somali descent, stabbed to death an American woman in London’s Russell Square. He also wounded five others. Police said Bulhan was mentally ill, but HeatStreet, a news and opinion website, revealed that he had uploaded books advocating violent jihad on social media sites.
August 4. A public swimming pool in Luton announced gender-segregated sessions for “cultural reasons.” The gender-segregated sessions are named ‘Alhamdulillahswimming,’ an Arabic phrase which means “Praise be to Allah.”
August 5. Egyptian members of the Muslim Brotherhood may be allowed to seek asylum in Britain, according to new guidance from the Home Office. The new guidance contradicted previous government policy, which stated that Britain would “refuse visas to members and associates of the Muslim Brotherhood who are on record as having made extremist comments.”
August 5. Stephen Bennett, a 39-year-old father of seven from Manchester, was sentenced to 180 hours of community service for posting “grossly offensive” anti-Muslim comments on Facebook. One of the offending comments: “Don’t come over to this country and treat it like your own. Britain first.” He was arrested under the Malicious Communications Act.
August 9. Tanveer Ahmed, a 32-year-old taxi driver from Bradford, was sentenced to 27 years in prison for the “barbaric, premeditated” murder of a shopkeeper in Glasgow. Ahmed, a Sunni Muslim, admitted to repeatedly stabbing Asad Shah to death outside his shop in March 2016 in a sectarian attack motivated by hatred of Shah’s religious views. Shah belonged to the Ahmadi branch of Islam, which believes Mohammed was not the final Muslim prophet.
August 11. Kadiza Sultana, one of three British schoolgirls who left their homes in east London to join the Islamic State, was killed by a Russian airstrike in Raqqa, Syria.
August 11. Muslim women are the most economically disadvantaged group in British society, according to a report by the House of Commons. The report also found that jobless rates in the Muslim community run at more than double the rate of the general population.
August 12. Voter fraud has been deliberately overlooked in Muslim communities because of “political correctness,” according to a government report. The investigation began after a scandal in Tower Hamlets, London, where Mayor Lutfur Rahman was removed and his election declared void after he was found by a court to have committed electoral fraud, including vote-rigging.
August 13. British schoolchildren should be required to make a regular US-style pledge of allegiance to the British flag, according to Khalil Yousuf, a spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. He said: “Not only should we raise the flag, but everybody in the Muslim community should have to pledge loyalty to Britain in schools. There is no conflict between being a Muslim and a Briton.”
August 14. London Police announced a £1.7 million “Online Hate Crime Hub” to investigate offensive comments on Facebook and Twitter. The so-called Twitter Squad, created by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, will identify online abuse and report it to the appropriate police force. Civil liberties groups worry the new unit could stop people expressing opinions for fear of arrest.
August 20. A British asylum judge revealed that only a tiny proportion — between five and ten percent — of the people whose asylum applications are denied are actually deported.
August 22. The Justice Ministry announced measures to combat Islamic extremism in British prisons. The move came after an official inquiry concluded that inmates acting as “self-styled emirs” were exerting a “radicalizing influence” over fellow Muslims.
August 23. Scottish Police announced that the hijab will become an optional part of its uniform. The move was aimed at encouraging more Muslim women to join the force.
August 24. Michael Coe, a 35-year-old convert to Islam and a close associate of Anjem Choudary, was found guilty of assault and battery after knocking a 16-year-old boy unconscious in East London because he was hugging a girl. Coe, also known as Mikaeel Ibrahim, left the boy unconscious and bleeding after kicking his head.
August 26. The BBC reported that the number of minors detained under the Terrorism Act more than tripled over two years. Forty-six were detained in 2015, compared to 13 in 2013, with the youngest aged only 13. The threefold rise is believed to be the result of police stopping unaccompanied minors on outbound flights to Syria.
August 27. A close associate of Anjem Choudary ran a series of front companies that received more than £1 million of taxpayers’ money to run computer training courses in libraries and job centers. That money was then transferred to key members of Choudary’s banned Islamist group Al-Muhajiroun (ALM). Even after the government learned about the associate’s links to Choudary, it continued to grant him money for another four years.
August 27. Police in Telford — dubbed the child sex capital of Britain — were accused of covering up allegations that hundreds of children in the town were sexually exploited by Pakistani sex gangs.
August 31. A YouGov poll found that a majority of Britons favor a burka ban: 57% support a ban; 25% are opposed. The only age group to oppose a ban was 18-24 year-olds; by contrast, the 65+ group supported a ban 78% to 12%.
August 31. National Churchwatch, a multi-faith organization dedicated to reducing crime in places of worship, issued a security warning for British churches after jihadists murdered a Catholic priest in France. The group sent a 12-page security guidance — Counter Terrorism Advice for Churches — to every church in Britain.
September 2. An official list of the most popular baby names in England and Wales in 2015 showed the top name as Oliver. The list shows Muhammad at number 12, followed by Mohammed at 29, Mohammad at 68 and Muhammed coming in at 121. When the different spellings of Mohammed are combined, however, the name was used 7,570 times, outstripping the 6,941 babies named Oliver on their birth certificates.
September 2. Ayasofia Primary School, a Muslim school in Whitechapel, East London, was shut down by Ofsted, the agency that regulates schools, after four inspections uncovered a raft of educational failings.
September 4. Peter Sutcliffe, a serial killer known as the Yorkshire Ripper, was “preparing to convert to Islam” in a bid to protect himself as part of Muslim prison gang, according to media reports. Sutcliffe, 70, was moved from the Broadmoor psychiatric hospital to Frankland prison after a tribunal found he no longer required medical treatment. Sutcliffe, who was convicted in 1981 of murdering 13 women and attempting to kill seven more, has faced daily death threats since arriving at the prison. Muslim gang members offered to protect him, but only if he converts to Islam.
September 6. Anjem Choudary, 49, one of the most notorious Islamists in Britain, and a top associate, Mohammed Rahman, 33, were sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison for inviting support for a proscribed terrorist organization, namely the Islamic State. Choudary, a lawyer by training, had for years managed to avoid prison by treading the fine legal line between the inflammatory rhetoric of Islamic supremacism and the right to free speech. The judge said he crossed the line by pledging an “oath of allegiance” to the Islamic State.
September 7. The government should impose financial restrictions on Islamists in order to control how they spend their money, according to Tom Keating, an expert in financial crime. The recommendation came after a judge revealed that Anjem Choudary had obtained £500,000 (€550,000; $610,000) in welfare benefits.
September 7. The BBC reported a sharp increase in the number of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in Britain. The number of asylum seeking children in the care of English councils rose 62% in a year. The largest group are boys aged 16 and 17, coming from countries such as Afghanistan or Eritrea.
September 8. Haroon Ali-Syed, 19, of Hounslow, West London, was arrested on suspicion of planning to carry out a mass-casualty terror attack on key London landmarks, including Buckingham Palace.
September 9. Four members of an alleged Muslim terror gang appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court on charges of intending to commit a terrorist act in Britain. Police searching a car linked to the group found a meat cleaver with the word “kaffir” (unbeliever) carved on the handle. They also recovered guns and bullets in a bag found in the car.
September 9. David Thompson, the head of West Midlands Police, one of the largest police forces in Britain, said he would consider allowing Muslim officers to wear the burka while on duty in a bid to boost diversity.
September 11. A former counterterrorism sergeant accused London’s Metropolitan Police of failing to tackle extremist views among some of its Muslim officers because of a fear of being labelled “Islamophobic.”
September 12. Ofcom, the media regulator, said it would not investigate complaints over an episode of the children’s program Fireman Sam, which Muslims said showed one of Sam’s mates trampling on a page of the Koran. Ofcom, which received 170 complaints, said it could not confirm the page was from the Islamic holy book.
September 14. A woman who teaches English to migrants with refugee status said her students are not interested in learning the language or getting a job, but rather in the benefits they can extract from British taxpayers.
September 15. The British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Simon Collis, completed the Hajj after converting to Islam. He is believed to be the first British ambassador to perform the pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam.
September 16. The Guardian reported that young Muslims living in Rochdale are increasingly turning to anti-Western sentiment and extreme interpretations of Islam. Muslim leaders interviewed by the paper described a “disturbing trend” of young Muslims adopting more fundamentalist beliefs on key social and political issues than their parents or grandparents.
September 17. Islamic State supporter Mohammed Syeedy, 21, was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Jalal Uddin, a 71-year-old imam at the Jalalia Jame mosque in Rochdale. Manchester Crown Court heard how Syeedy developed “a hatred” of Uddin for practicing Ruqya, a form of religious healing which involves the use of amulets and considered by the Islamic State to be punishable by death.
September 21. Alex Younger, the head of Britain’s MI6 foreign intelligence agency, warned that globalization, the information revolution, a deepening sectarian divide in the Middle East and failed states would ensure that Islamist terrorism remained a threat to the West for years to come.
September 28. Noor Walile, a 38-year-old imam at Rugby Mosque, Warwickshire, was sentenced to six years in prison for raping a boy in a toilet in between a lesson he was giving at the mosque.
September 28. Home Office statistics released to the Daily Express under Freedom of Information laws revealed that 12,000 migrants seeking asylum in the UK are missing. The data showed that of the 77,440 asylum cases in progress, one in six skipped their first interview with immigration officers and vanished.
September 28. A government report found that Muslims are the least likely of all faith groups in Wales to be employed. The report, “Creating a Faith-Friendly Workplace for Muslims,” encouraged employers to adopt Sharia standards — providing prayer rooms, having flextime to enable staff to leave early for Friday prayers, and serving halal or vegetarian food in canteens — to attract Muslim staff.
September 28. The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, opened an inquiry into the Stockwell Green Mosque for distributing literature that calls on members of the Ahmadi community to be killed. The leaflets demanded that Ahmadis should convert to mainstream Islam or face “a capital sentence.”
October 2. The Daily Mail reported that dozens of Islamic schools continue to operate despite inspectors finding that pupils are unsafe, exposed to extreme views or unaware of basic British values. The findings suggested that a government crackdown on extremism in schools has been ineffective.
October 5. Manchester Crown Court sentenced Imran Khan, 38, to life in prison for murdering his wife. He admitted to stabbing her in the presence of their five children because it was “not halal” for her to be working with other men.
October 7. Police launched a hate crime probe after literature saying those who insult Islam “must be killed” was allegedly handed out at a mosque in Walthamstow, East London.
October 8. A baggage handler at an unidentified British airport had an ISIS flag stitched to the inside of his glove. The discovery raised the prospect that staff at British airports could be operating as part of a jihadi sleeper cell.
October 11. The McAuley Catholic High School in Doncaster received an online threat: “We have our sights set on you, and by Allah we will kill every single infidel student at this school #McAuleySchoolMassacre”.
October 13. A Muslim bus driver stopped his vehicle in the middle of a busy road in Portsmouth for 10 minutes while he conducted his daily prayer. Some 50 children, parents and teachers from Meon Junior School in Southsea were returning home from a school trip to London when the incident happened. Parents said the driver put the lives of their children at risk.
October 13. ITV aired a new documentary, “Exposure: Islam’s Non-Believers,” which focused on the risks to Muslims who abandon their religion. A former Muslim told the documentary makers: “I remember saying to my mum, I don’t believe in God any more. And her saying, ‘you can’t tell anybody else because they’ll kill you, we are obliged to kill ex-Muslims.’ And that it would put me at extreme risk if anybody else was to find out, so that conversation ended there.”
October 18. A gang of Iranian men in Chelmsford sexually exploited and groomed vulnerable girls by supplying them with drugs and offering them free pizza. All three victims were allegedly targeted by the group which “farmed them out like cattle” to other men.
October 18. Nearly two-thirds of “child refugees” who claimed to be minors were found to be adults. Figures show that in the year to September 2015, 65% of the child refugees who had their age disputed were found to be over 18.
October 22. A 19-year-old “Asian” was arrested after police found a bomb on a train in the London Underground. The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre raised the threat level for transport in London to severe: an attack is highly likely.
October 22. A foster mother who took in a “child refugee” discovered that he was a 21-year-old jihadist. Rosie welcomed Jamal into her family after social workers said he was a 12-year-old orphan who had fled Afghanistan. Alarm bells rang when the family went swimming and Rosie’s 13-year-old commented on how hairy Jamal was. His last words to Rosie were: “I’ll kill you and I know where your children are.”
October 27. A man and woman, both aged 35, were arrested at Luton Airport on suspicion of terror offenses. The pair were attempting to travel to Syria.
October 30. The Sunday Times reported that the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, a prominent Sharia court, was “sabotaging” criminal proceedings to protect alleged perpetrators of domestic violence against women.
October 30. More than 25,000 signed a petition asking the government to allow public calls to prayer at least three times a day in areas with a high Muslim population. The petition stated:
October 31. A “child refugee” from Afghanistan who was sent to Britain from the Calais Jungle camp in France claimed he was 16 but actually was 22. According to the law, unless a person who is seeking asylum appears to be “significantly” over the age of 18 they should be “afforded the benefit of the doubt and treated as children.”
November 1. Sharia law courts are operating “everywhere in the country,” according to Ahmad Al-Dubayan, chairman of UK Board of Sharia Councils, a body set up to standardize the administration of Islamic law in the UK. He said it was impossible to know how many Sharia courts are operating in Britain.
November 4. Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, said that Britons have much to learn from the “vibrancy of the Muslim faith” of the refugees and migrants arriving in the United Kingdom.
November 4. Nissar Hussain, a convert to Christianity, was forced to flee his home in Manningham after being subjected to harassment and violence by Muslims. “This extreme persecution by certain people in the Muslim community because we are converts has broken us as a family,” he said. Hussain, a 50-year-old father of six, said that his family and he have endured a life of harassment, intimidation and fear at the hands of Muslim hardliners since 2008, when they appeared in a Channel 4 documentary about the mistreatment of Muslim converts.
November 7. Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is failing to prosecute honor crimes for fear of causing “unrest” in Asian communities, a Scotland Yard whistleblower alleged. He disclosed that “apathy” by prosecutors led to the collapse of what could have been the first conviction for forced marriage in England.
November 11. CPS failed to pursue a case involving an Asian woman whose family forced her to have an abortion, for fear of being labelled racist. It could have been the first conviction for sex-selective abortion, but CPS dropped the case amid fears of “political correctness.”
November 14. Sharia courts are ordering women to stay with abusive husbands, a rape victim told the House of Commons. The mother-of-two revealed that she had been beaten, robbed and raped by her estranged husband despite British courts having banned him from approaching her. But family pressure persuaded the British-Pakistani to try and obtain an Islamic divorce in a Sharia court. Expecting to be treated sympathetically, she was instead told to return to her violent husband.
November 16. Bedfordshire Police deleted Twitter posts about Islamophobia Awareness Month after users pointed out its logo was similar to a hand gesture popular with ISIS jihadis.
November 20. The National Health Service referred 420 patients and staff to police in England and Wales between July 2015 and June 2016 over concerns they were at risk of radicalization. Statistics show an average of 35 referrals a month, up from 21 a month the previous year.
November 24. The jihadists suspected of carrying out the terror attacks in Paris and Brussels used British benefits payments to fund their crimes. Kingston Crown Court heard how some of the most notorious and wanted terrorists in Europe had used British taxpayers’ money to fund their activities in Syria and elsewhere.
November 26. More than half of asylum seekers surveyed about the quality of taxpayer-funded housing they have been provided branded it as “completely inadequate.” Just 11% of people asked said the housing was excellent, 8% described it as good, and 14% said it was adequate.
November 28. Tareena Shakil, a woman from Burton who became the first female from the UK to be jailed for joining the Islamic State, received more than £132,000 in taxpayer-funded legal aid to pay for her defense.
December 5. A government-commissioned report recommended that migrants should swear an oath of allegiance as soon as they arrive in the UK. It said that Muslims living in the UK are increasingly identifying with a global Islamic “Ummah” (community), rather than with being British.
December 10. An asylum seeker described as the “very model of a modern al-Qaeda terrorist” was allowed to stay in Britain despite being jailed for plotting attacks in the country. The “sleeper agent” jihadist was about to be deported back to his native Jordan. But Home Secretary Amber Rudd changed her mind after the man’s lawyers argued that he would be tortured.
December 12. Six people were arrested in Derby, Burton on Trent and London on suspicion of preparing an act of terrorism. Counter-terrorism investigators said they disrupted what they believe was a “significant plot” to attack the UK that was inspired by the Islamic State.
December 13. The Black Health Initiative in Leeds warned that girls are being taken to female genital mutilation (FGM) “parties” in cities across England. The charity said that midwives from Africa are being flown into the country to carry out the illegal practice. West Yorkshire Police said they were aware girls were being subjected to FGM locally.
December 15. More than £600,000 (€700,000; $738,000) of taxpayers’ money is being spent every week so lawyers can give free legal advice to asylum seekers. A total of 38,005 cases were approved for free legal advice over the last financial year, often in cases where the applicant was fighting a decision where their asylum claim had already been denied.
December 17. More than 1,000 Muslims took to the streets of London chanting “Allahu Akbar” and demanding an Islamic caliphate. They gathered outside the empty Syrian embassy in Belgrave Square, London to protest American policies regarding Aleppo, the largest city in Syria.
December 20. Heavily-armed police officers were deployed to Canterbury Cathedral to guard the nativity scene against possible jihadist attacks.
December 21. Police in Bristol increased patrols in the city center due to concerns about “Islamophobia” in the wake of the Berlin terror attack.
December 23. Syed Hoque, 37, of Stoke-on-Trent, was convicted of two counts of funding terrorism. He used aid convoys to Syria to send thousands of pounds to his extremist nephew who was fighting alongside al-Qaeda.
December 24. Munir Hassan Mohammed, 35, and Rowaida El-Hassan, 32, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on charges of making explosives. Mohammed, an Eritrean who is seeking asylum in the UK, was also charged with being a member of the Islamic State.
December 25. The main course for inmates at HMP Bristol prison for Christmas dinner was halal chicken. Other prisons across the country also served halal options for Christmas. HMP Birmingham offered halal beef.
December 26. Sixty children are referred to the government’s Prevent counter-terrorism program each week. In 2015/16, there were around 7,500 referrals, a rate of 20 a day. Of those, 3,100 were aged under 18, and 61 were under the age of ten.