President Donald Trump responded to a rebuke from British Prime Minister Theresa May for his controversial "anti-Muslim" tweet by saying the United Kingdom needs to focus its energy on "the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom." A new report validates Trump's concerns.
On Wednesday, Trump re-tweeted three videos — one of which was reportedly not accurate — from a right-wing group in the U.K. that prompted left-leaning British politicians to strongly condemn Trump’s actions. Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesperson said they "reject" the videos that Trump shared from the right-wing group Britain First because they are "the antithesis of the values this country represents, decency, tolerance and respect."
Trump responded to May’s remarks by telling her that she needed to focus on her Islamic terrorism problem.
The British newspaper The Guardian released a new report on Wednesday that validated Trump's shot at May as figures show that the U.K. has an unprecedented Islamic terrorism problem.
The Guardian reports:
The raids come as the number of people arrested for terrorism-linked offences rose by more than two-thirds to a record 379 in the 12 months to June – one of the most intense periods for terrorist attacks in recent history.
The figures were released by the Home Office, which said it was the highest number of terrorist arrests in a year since records began in 2001.
They included 12 arrests linked to the Westminster attack in March, 23 connected with the Manchester Arena bombing in May, 21 arrests following the London Bridge attack in June and one in relation to the Finsbury Park van attack soon after.
Of those arrested, 123 were charged – 105 with terrorism offences – and 189 were released without charge. The remaining 67 were either bailed pending further investigation, or faced alternative action.
This is hardly the first time that statistics and estimates from experts have shown that the U.K. is facing a serious problem with Islamic terrorism.
A report from Yahoo News in September showed that the number of Muslims in their prison system has increased by 50% over the last ten years.
In late August, Europe’s top anti-terrorism expert, Giles de Kerchove, said that "the U.K. is home to an estimated 35,000 Islamic extremists — more than any other country in Europe."
The terrorism threat in the U.K. is so severe that Kerchove said there are approximately 500 Islamic extremists that are under "constant and special attention" from MI5, the U.K.'s domestic counter-intelligence and security agency.
One of Trump’s main campaign promises was that he was going to destroy ISIS, a promise that is well underway; U.S. officials have noted the rapid turnaround his administration has brought towards the war on terrorism. The Washington Post reported in August:
Brett McGurk, the State Department’s senior envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition, said that steps President Trump has taken, including delegating decision-making authority down from the White House to commanders in the field, have “dramatically accelerated” gains against the militants.