Maajid Nawaz: “Extra Van Checks Are Useless. This Is How We Defeat Terrorism.”

21 August 2017, 11:31 | Updated: 21 August 2017, 11:40

Maajid rubbished the new proposals and outlined his four point plan to fight terrorism effectively.

There are new calls for extra checks on people hiring vehicles after the van attack in Barcelona last Thursday and the attack near Finsbury Park mosque in June.

Maajid Nawaz says that the scale of the threat posed by Islamist terrorism, and the complexity of the relationships between those involved and those sympathetic to it, means the checks are essentially useless.

“If as our security services tell us we have 3,000 active, operational terrorists in this country, and we have 23,000 suspected jihadists that they would like to monitor but they can’t… those figures, they are eye watering.”

“Now around that, the 3,000 hardcore and the 23,000 suspected jihadists that the security services wish they could monitor, keep in mind around that will be thousands and thousands of fellow travellers. Those who subscribe to the Islamist ideology but don't necessarily believe in using violence, yet, to bring it about.

“So there'll be a bigger number around them, OK. And then of course around that bigger number there will be, as is the case in any insurgency, folks, there will be an empathetic ring that will refuse to report any suspicion because they are anti-establishment and deeply empathise with the cause.

“When you think about it like that, how on earth is things like just extra van hire checks going to stop this thing?”

On his mid-morning show, which he is covering for James O’Brien this week, Maajid said that people need to view these terror attacks in a different context: “We are indeed playing whack-a-mole, and what we need to do is get to grips with the fact that we are faced with an insurgency.”

Maajid, who has worked in the area of counter extremism for a long time, laid out his four point plan to effectively combat the terrorist threat.

“First of all recognise it for what it is, accept the fact that this is indeed a jihadist insurgency, name it, shame it and begin fighting the ideology behind it for the long term solution.

“Two, recognise that to implement that long term solution the government's Prevent strand does indeed need to remain.

“Three, once and for all introduce a government Prevent coordinator to coordinate all the different government departments around countering extremism. They're all singing to different hymn sheets at the moment, there isn't any one person coordinating all the government departments around this agenda.

“And finally recognise that if this is indeed an attack against our values our pluralism our democracy and our secularism, then rigorously defend those values in our answer back to these extremists.

“Don't violate those values. If that's what they hate, then in defiance stand by them even more.”