Al Qaeda is biggest threat to Britain

London, July 5 (IANS) Al Qaeda remains the biggest threat to British security, a think tank says, adding Britons – many of Pakistani origin – were behind terrorist offences in the country in the last decade.

Over 2,000 people continue to pose a terrorist threat to the country, according to a think tank report, ‘Islamist Terrorism: The British Connections’, compiled by London-based Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC).

It says Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda-inspired terrorism ‘remains the biggest threat to the UK’s national security’, noting the government had increased the threat level from ‘substantial’ to ‘severe’ in January.

The CSC is a non-partisan think-tank that studies issues related to community cohesion in Britain.

The report profiles 124 individuals who were convicted for suicide attacks or terrorism offences in Britain between 1999 and 2009.

Of them ’40 individuals had links with terrorist organisations’, mainly the Al Qaeda and Al-Muhajiroun.

Just under a third had attended one or more terrorist training camps, ‘the most common location being Pakistan’, the report says.

Of the 124 individuals, 69 percent were those ‘holding British nationality’. Half of them had South Central Asian ancestry.

Twenty-eight percent of these had ‘some Pakistani heritage’ of whom 80 percent ‘were British nationals with Pakistani origins’, the report says.

The second and third most frequent regions of origin were eastern Africa (16 percent) and northern Africa (13 percent).

Nearly half of the 124 convicted people lived in London while the rest were spread over West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber region, an area on the east coast of northern England.

The report discounts any ‘correlation between terrorist activity and low educational achievement and employment status’.

It finds that 31 percent of the convicted had at ‘some point attended university or a higher education institute’.

(Venkata Vemuri can be contacted at [email protected])