London: The UK government on Monday unveiled tough new measures, including a ban on insurance companies covering the cost of terrorist ransoms and stripping teenage jihadists of their passport, to counter the growing threat of terrorism.
The measures are the part of a new Counter Terrorism and Security Bill to be fast tracked in Parliament. Among the new measures is a ban on UK-based insurance companies covering the cost of terrorist ransoms. The government hopes firms and families will be deterred from paying ransoms if the money cannot be claimed back.
According to UK Home Office estimates, ISIS has raised 28 million pounds in the past 12 months. Home Office feels there has been an element of “uncertainty” about whether insurers were prohibited from paying claims made by companies and families who had met ransom demands.
Home secretary Theresa May said jihadists will be barred from returning for at least two years and teenage jihadists will be stripped of their passport. Internet companies will be required to store details linking individuals with IP addresses, and hand them over to police when asked to assist in identifying terrorists and paedophiles.
Charity boxes may be funding terrorism
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said that members of the public should be careful about giving money to charities because donations could be used to fund Islamist terrorists. He said that his officers had foiled four or five terror plots by Muslim extremists this year, compared with one a year normally.
Sir Bernard said that there was growing concern about “lone wolf” attacks similar to the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby close to an army barracks in Woolwich, southeast London, in May last year. He added that when an estimated 500 British jihadis who have gone to fight in Syria and Iraq returned to Britain they would be “militarised... have a complex network of people they know and they will have learnt tactics that they may want to use here”.
Sir Bernard said that Scotland Yard would seek public support to tackle terrorism, including trying to cut off funding for extremist groups. Reports earlier said that dozens of British Muslim groups are being covertly monitored by the Charity Commission because of concerns that they may be involved in radicalisation and extremism.
Five organisations are the subject of full statutory inquiries amid fears that they are being used as cover by foreign fighters to enter Syria. They include al-Fatiha Global, for which Alan Henning, who was murdered by Islamic State, was working when he was captured. The charity has insisted that it is a legitimate humanitarian group.