As British jihadists venture abroad to capitalise on the aftermath of the Arab Spring and then return to the UK, they are likely to bring a greater level of violence back home, Maajid Nawaz, the chairman of the Quilliam Foundation, suggested.
His comments follow incidents in which groups of Muslim vigilantes, dubbing themselves 'Muslim Patrols' have approached Londoners and demanded they behave in an Islamic way by not drinking.
They have also told women to put more clothes on, claiming they are entering 'Muslim areas'. Their actions could be “a sign of things to come” and are part of a pattern of extremism spreading across Europe in different forms, be it far right fascism or Islamism, Mr Nawaz said.
Writing in The Times, he said: “While this street-level problem festers across Europe, al-Qaeda and its affiliates are busy capitalising on the chaos of the post-Arab Spring world.
“Syria, Libya, Mali and Somalia are being ravaged by jihadist outfits, and all of them are attracting European-born Islamists seeking the thrill of real combat…"
“Scores of young European-born Arabs and Somalis are following in the footsteps of British Pakistanis in travelling to lawless conflict zones."