By Haras Rafiq and Rashad Ali, who are Directors of CENTRI, an organisation that specialises in countering extremism.
Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, the Stockholm suicide bomber, spent a short though eventful period at the Luton Islamic Centre, a Salafist mosque, about which the Observer revealed more details on Sunday. By their own admission, they found that he was a takfiri - a branch of Salafism identified almost exclusively with Al Qaeda and jihadist terrorism.
But although they identified it, they were unable to persuade him that he was wrong. Furthermore, they say that they did not recognise his potential for violence, and therefore did not report him to the police. The reason they gave was that, if they took such action, their strategy in tackling extremism would fail.
As the Centre’s press release states: "Rather than come to us and give us the opportunity to clarify their misconceptions, these individuals would go underground and associate only with like-minded people.”
Excuse us if we’re missing the point, but isn’t that exactly what happened with al-Abdaly?
We don't blame the Centre for the terrorist attack in Stockholm. But how on earth could it have de-radicalised the bomber when material published on its website, featuring scholars that it promotes, propounds much the same set of beliefs?