Pavlich: Failing to act on extremism

Pavlich: Failing to act on extremism
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As the country is well aware, the third terror attack in the U.K. since March occurred over the weekend in London. Three Islamist men strapped on fake suicide vests, armed themselves with knives and hopped in a van they would use as their ultimate weapon against innocents walking along the London Bridge. It happened just a week after the British government lowered the terrorism threat level from critical to severe. It was originally raised after a suicide bomber, who had traveled to Libya, detonated himself at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

The attack was quick, lasting just a few short minutes. Yet the damage was severe. Seven people were killed, including a Canadian woman who moved to the city to start a life with her fiancé and future husband. Instead, she ended up dying in his arms. Dozens more were severely injured.

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Outside of carnage, fear was instilled once again. The fake suicide vests were meant to cause maximum panic and ensure death from police, resulting in the terrorists’ sick vision of martyrdom.

But as the details of the attack and the backgrounds of the terrorists began to unfold in the following days, even more frustration, anger and disbelief set in. The jihadists responsible were hardly flying under the radar.

All three of the attackers came from a London neighborhood known for breeding Islamic extremism. It’s where Anjem Choudary spent much of his time before being arrested and finally put in prison last year after decades of inciting violence. According to reports, Choudary influenced the attack from behind bars, and at least one of the terrorists was close to his associate, Mohammed Shamsuddin. In the aftermath of the attack, 12 additional suspects were arrested in a raid.

Pakistani-born suspect Khuram Shazad Butt, who died from police fire, was featured front and center in the documentary “The Jihadist Next Door,” alongside Shamsuddin. In the film, he’s seen with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria flag promoting death to infidels. Authorities did nothing to stop him.

The Guardian reported that Italian-born suspect Youssef Zaghba told Italian police, “I’m going to be a terrorist,” yet was allowed to immigrate to the United Kingdom.

“Propaganda videos and religious sermons found on his phone confirmed his wish to join Islamic State. An Italian official confirmed to the Guardian that Italian authorities alerted their British counterparts when Zaghba moved to London,” the paper found.

For the sake of diversity and inclusion, Zaghba was let it.

As Prime Minister Theresa May finally came around to in a speech Sunday, the U.K. has tolerated Islamic extremism for far too long.

“While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is — to be frank — far too much tolerance of extremism in our country. So we need to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out across the public sector and across society. That will require some difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations,” May said. “But the whole of our country needs to come together to take on this extremism, and we need to live our lives not in a series of separated, segregated communities, but as one truly United Kingdom.”

The suspects in the most recent attack, like many attacks before it, were known to authorities and to members of their community. It was only a matter of time before they did exactly what their ideology demanded of them. Mosque members reportedly warned about the violent potential of at least one suspect.

If citizens and those in the communities where Islamic terror festers are willing to take the risk of engaging and reporting suspicions, authorities have an absolute obligation to take their concerns seriously. Failing to act out of fear for hurt feelings or to uphold politically correct narratives is irresponsible, especially when lives are at stake.

Home in America, citizens are told by authorities if they “see something, say something.” The concept is a good one. It encourages people to remain vigilant, to pay attention and to be aware of their surroundings. But what good is a “see something, say something” program if authorities don’t follow up on reports?  

America must keep jihad out, especially when we know exactly where it is coming from.

Pavlich is the editor for Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor.


The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.