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"Jihadis' threat to UK exaggerated" -- report

LONDON, July 18 (KUNA) -- British "jihadis' threat" to UK is exaggerated, says a new report published here Friday.
British Jihadis are motivated by wanting to topple "Bashar Al-Assad's dictatorship in Syria," says the group which compiled the survey.
The group, "Cage," is critical of the British government counterterrorism policy.
Earlier, Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of the external intelligence service, MI6, had warned that the "Islamist threat" of violence had been exaggerated. Government and security officials have greatly exaggerated the dangers of British men fighting in Syria and returning to stage terrorist attacks in the UK, the report says.
The report, highlighted by the media here, says Britain's current policy is "confused and dangerous", and has created a climate of fear for Muslims. The report is in stark contrast with the warnings from the prime minister, police and security chiefs about the feared dangers of British Muslim men returning from fighting in Syria with the intent and increased know of how to stage terrorist attacks.
The report points out British policy has changed from one time hailing rebel groups: "If it wasn't for the narrow defeat of a government motion in the House of Commons on 30 August 2013, Britain could feasibly have been currently militarily engaged in Syria on the same side as those it now seeks to criminalise upon their return to the UK." The report, in part based on interviews with those fighting in Syria, says that those who go to fight "feeling that they can do something to aid the cause of those they consider to be their Muslim brothers and sisters, which does not interfere with their legal obligations to their countries of birth or naturalisation." The report includes a study of 66 people who plotted to attack the UK since 2001, which found only a small minority had "military" links abroad.
Just six people had trained overseas, such as camps in Pakistan, and two had fought abroad.
Cage says its analysis shows that the vast majority involved in plots had no training or experience of fighting in conflicts overseas: "In almost every single case of individuals having fought abroad, there is little to suggest that such training or fighting had resulted directly in the decision to carry out an act of political violence in the UK. What, however, is clear, is the correlation between foreign and domestic grievances against the UK government, and the decision by these men to be involved in some form of plot." The report says Jihadis in Syria did not want to attack the UK on their return: "Those that were spoken with did not envisage any tensions between travelling to Syria to join the civil conflict, and legal and moral obligations to Britain. However, due to the climate of fear that has been created, it appears that disproportionate measures have been incorporated to reduce the threat from foreign fighters." Cage has recently claimed it is being targeted and its officials harassed for their views.
One of its most prominent figures, Moazzam Begg, is currently awaiting trial on alleged offences linked to Syria.
There are around 1.8 million Muslims in the UK, the majority from India and Pakistan. (end) he.rk