- Mak Chishty said children have branded it 'haram' - forbidden by Allah
- Children refusing to shop at Marks & Spencer, mistakenly perceived to be Jewish owned, could be early sign of radicalisation, said Mr Chishty
- Islamic State claim to have funds to buy a nuclear weapon within a year
- Former army chief Lord Dannatt called for David Cameron to 'think the previously unthinkable' and draw up plans for sending troops to Iraq
Scotland Yard commander Mak Chishty said children had voiced opposition to marking the festive holiday – branding it ‘haram’, which means forbidden by their god Allah.
He said that parents need to address ‘all the ugly bit of the problem’, and ask how children had come to that view.
Mr Chishty also warned of a need for parents to spot early signs of radicalisation, which could include their sons and daughters refusing to shop in certain places, such as Marks & Spencer.
Scotland Yard commander Mak Chishty said children had voiced opposition to marking Christmas – branding it ‘haram’, which means forbidden by their god Allah
Bethnal Green schoolgirls Shamima Begum, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana - three of around 700 British Muslims thought to have been lured to Syria by IS propaganda
The store is mistakenly perceived to be Jewish-owned and in the past, Lord Sieff, chairman of M&S, reportedly made several statements in support of Israel’s military policies in relation to Palestine - recognised by over 130 countries as a state. In October last year MPs voted in favour of recognising Palestine as a state alongside Israel.
The House of Commons backed the move 'as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution'.
Mr Chishty said that Islamist propaganda should be countered with intensified monitoring to detect the earliest signs of anti-Western sentiment.
Refusing to shop at Marks & Spencer could be an early sign of radicalisation, according to Mr Chishty
These could include sudden negative attitudes towards alcohol, social occasions and Western clothing.
He said there was now a need for ‘a move into the private space’ of Muslims to spot views that could show the beginning of radicalisation far earlier.
‘We need to now be less precious about the private space,’ he said.
‘This is not about us invading private thoughts, but acknowledging that it is in these private spaces where this [extremism] first germinates.
‘The purpose of private space intervention is to engage, explore, explain, educate or eradicate. Hate and extremism are not acceptable in our society, and if people cannot be educated, then hate and harmful extremism must be eradicated through all lawful means.’
Asked to define ‘private space’, Mr Chishty said: ‘It is anything from walking down the road, looking at a mobile, to someone in a bedroom surfing the net, to someone in a shisha cafe talking about things.’
He said what is new about Islamic State is the use of social media to spread its message and urge those of the same extreme views to join the terror group or stage attacks in their home country.
And in a stark warning, he said there was no end in sight to the number of British Muslims, around 700 so far, being lured to Syria by IS propaganda.
The comments come after a Daily Mail investigation revealed how easy it was for British schoolgirls to be enticed into fleeing to Iraq and Syria to become ‘jihadi brides’.
An IS plot to lure a 16-year-old to Syria to marry a jihadist was foiled after the Mail passed on evidence that she was planning to run away to counter-terror officers.
They swooped on the girl’s home after it emerged she was being lured by her older sister, a prolific IS recruiter who fled London last year to be a jihadi bride.
The plot had been laid out in extraordinary detail in secret online messages, with timings and prices planned for every train, flight and hotel she was set to stay at on the way.
Mr Chishty, head of community engagement for the Metropolitan Police in London, said IS propaganda is so powerful that he has to be vigilant about his own children.
Directing his comments at other Muslim parents, he told the Guardian: ‘I am not immunised. If I feel the need to be extra vigilant, then I think you need to feel the need to be extra vigilant.’
Mr Chishty said friends and family of youngsters at risk of extremism should be intervening much earlier, watching out for subtle, unexplained changes, because those closest to them are best placed to do so.
He said they should challenge and understand what caused such changes in behaviour and seek help, if needs be from the police, if they are worried.
Mr Chishty said it did not make someone an extremist if they criticised ‘British values’, but friends and family should ask why.
He added that more work is needed to understand why young people are attracted to IS: ‘Some are bored, overqualified, underemployed… It is not a holy war.’