Robert Lambert of the Muslim Contact Unit with the Metropolitan Police in London was a guest speaker by the Danish Police intelligence services conference on terror, and the following is based on his talk.
Terror is not fought by contact with moderate Muslims. Instead the police looks for partnerships with the Salafists - the most radical Muslims that hold a most strict and primitive form of Islam. They have the necessary credibility among young Muslims who are intrigued by al-Qaeda.
Eight people are working daily in this special unit on plans to establish contacts in the Muslim society in the British capital.
He said that that is done by making partnerships with the Salafists. We will understand the extremists way of thought before they manage anything effective, and we can do that by making contact with the right people, who have the extremists and Salafist's trust.
In his own department, for example, there's a Salafist who's working for the police.
In recent years police succeeded in getting several known Al Qaeda sympathizers in jail, such as Al Qaeda preacher Abu Qatada, and Afghanistan veteran Abu Hamza, but often their influence grows among the prison walls.
Abu Hamza had for many years preached his hate towards the west every Friday, in his extremists mosque at Finchley Road in North London. Many were surprised that the police did not act towards his supporters, but Robert Lambert explains that they wanted to go after the real evil guys and not just after the young followers.
According to him today they have contact with some of those who had followed Hamza and they have changed careers. Today they play according to the democratic rules - perhaps to the annoyance of some in the political system - but that is more positive. Today they search for those of Mohammed Sidiqui Khan's type.
Isn't the police risking being misused by the extremists?
Lambert says such a risk exists and that they're accused of indulging the extremists, but that it will be cowardice not to take the chance. He continued saying that they certainly don't talk with terrorists but with people who have a whole other ideology than us.
Source: Berlingske (Danish)