Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer endorses right-wing think tank

Mark Rowley

Britain’s most senior counter terrorism officer Mark Rowley, the Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations in the Metropolitan Police, is to appear at an event hosted by the right-wing think tank The Henry Jackson Society (HJS) at Parliament on Tuesday.

The event will launch the HJS report “Islamist Terrorism: Analysis of Offences and Attacks in the UK,” which has been heavily trailed in the mainstream media with headlines such as “London ‘home to more Islamic terrorists than anywhere else in the UK.’”

The report says identifies and profiles all “Islamism-inspired” terrorism convictions and suicide attacks in the UK between 1998 and 2015 in order to provide detailed information and statistical analysis on the manifestation and development of the threat to British national security.

David Anderson Q.C, the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, wrote the forward to the report.

The HJS says in the report: “Islamism-inspired terrorism remains the principal terrorism threat to both the United Kingdom and British interests overseas. At the end of 2016, terrorism directed, approved or inspired by Islamic State posed the predominant threat to national security, while al-Qaeda and affiliate groups continue to aspire to attack Western interests. For more than two decades, militant Islamist groups have successfully recruited UK-based individuals for terrorist facilitation and training overseas, as well as directed or inspired involvement in terrorism at home.”

However, there are concerns in the Muslim community that prominent figures in policing, counter-terrorism and the media are now effectively endorsing a right-wing think-tank which has been repeatedly accused of having a neconservative and Islamophobic agenda.

A report by Spinwatch in 2015 argued that the HJS was the leading exponent of neoconservatism in the UK today and was grounded in a transatlantic tradition deeply influenced by Islamophobia and an open embrace of the “War on Terror.” The notorious Islamophobe Douglas Murray is currently the associate director of The Henry Jackson Society.

This report details how the HJS unflinching supports Israel and promotes Islamophobic policies, both domestically and internationally.

The report says: “These tendencies became even more pronounced in the HJS when the society merged with the anti-Muslim think tank the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC) in 2011, as well as absorbed many staff members of the now defunct pro-Israel media watchdog Just Journalism that same year. ..

“A right-wing politics is apparent not only in the ideas that the HJS promotes, but also emerges distinctly on examination of its funders. Although the society does not disclose its sources of funding, our investigation uncovers several donors, both in Britain and the United States, that have a strong track record of funding hardline pro-Israel/Zionist and Islamophobic causes.

“By solidifying a transatlantic alliance between anti-Islam groups and those unconditionally supportive of Zionism, the Islamophobia network has successfully tapped into the financial and political resources of the Israel lobby. In addition, the proponents of this agenda have sought to increase public support by conflating complex contemporary debates about immigration, austerity, multiculturalism and women’s rights with the anti-Muslim discourse associated with the ongoing War on Terror.

“The clear political bias of HJS is of particular concern because of its status as a registered charity. According to UK government guidelines, ‘a charity cannot exist for a political purpose, which is any purpose directed at furthering the interests of any political party.’

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