Religious Tensions Increase as Al-Qaeda Makes Britain Top Target

Britain has been made Al-Qaeda's top target, terrorism officials have reported. The BBC has been told that the terrorist network is now operating a cell structure in the UK, similar to that of the IRA group previously.

Particularly harrowing is that the network operating in the UK sees the 7 July bombings as just the beginning.

|PIC1|According to reports, each terrorist cell has a leader, a quartermaster dealing with weapons, and volunteers. Each cell works on separate, different plots, with masterminds controlling several different cells. In addition, the sources have explicitly explained that terrorist training is taking place in the UK and Pakistan.

Security officials are now concerned the group is targeting universities and the British community, and are now "less worried" about mosques, the report reveals.

According to the Guardian newspaper, recruits are put through a "psychologically compelling" indoctrination of weekend and evening briefings. It commences with Islamic religious lectures, but moves gradually to more radical teachings and political discussions about the position of Islam in relation to the Western world.

BBC Security Correspondent Gordon Corera has said that a general view was that Britain was particularly vulnerable because "it may be easier for al-Qaeda to strike the UK than other targets".

"There is hard evidence behind it, rather than just theories. That's based partly on what they are seeing, in terms of the types of activity, and partly based on the coincidence, that al-Qaeda's leadership is based in the tribal areas of Pakistan where there are links to the UK and flows of people going back and forwards. It makes it easier to make the UK a target than the other countries it might wish to target," Corera said.

He continued, "The leadership of al-Qaeda does appear to have been re-grouping and to be more coherent and organised than had been thought in recent years. The view is it clearly was an organised group before 9/11, but the campaign in Afghanistan disrupted that leadership very heavily.

"But in recent years, particularly in the tribal areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the al-Qaeda leadership has been able to re-group and re-organise itself. In doing so it's able to open up channels of communication, contact, recruitment and planning around the world, and operate those in a more coherent fashion than maybe we were seeing three years' ago."

The announcement will be sure to stir further tensions and unrest between faith communities, who are already debating a number of heated faith-related issues, and how a person's faith affects those around them.

In the past week a British Airways check-in worker was suspended for refusing to hide her cross under her uniform, due to fears it would offend customers. In addition, a Muslim teacher at a Church of England school was suspended for refusing to remove her veil, after children and teachers complained of not being able to understand her as it covered her face.