4 February 2011
The United States launched a secret campaign to reverse the radicalisation of young Islamists in Britain, amid American fears that this country had the most hard-line Muslim communities in Europe. The plan, backed by tens of thousands of dollars, followed secret warnings from MI6 to the US that Britain was struggling to cope with the “unique” terrorist threat from “home grown” extremists.
The fact that America sought to mount its own counter-extremism programme in Britain demonstrates Washington’s anxiety over the threat from British radicals who intended to attack the US. Dispatches from the American embassy in London, obtained by the website WikiLeaks, show that US officials were given a private tour of Finsbury Park Mosque, in north London, which was once the home of the notorious extremist Imam Abu Hamza al-Masri.
In 2007, Washington was engaged in a policy of “seeding” anti-extremism projects in countries around the world where radical Islam was seen as a growing threat.