THIS week marks the 15th anniversary of the terror attacks in London on July 7, 2005. That day began with heavy showers. The early morning rush in London started as normal, but at about 8.50am there were three almost simultaneous explosions on the London underground. An hour later, at 9.47am, there was a fourth explosion on the top deck of a London bus. Fifty six people, including the four bombers, died in the terrorist attacks and 784 people were injured, with many sustaining life changing injuries.

In its report into the terrorist attack, the Intelligence and Security Committee noted that more needed to be done to understand radicalisation in Britain, with police representatives informing the committee “we were working off a script which had been completely discounted from what we know as reality”.

Radicalisation occurred through a dynamic relationship of its three main causes: Political, chief amongst them the issue of Palestine; theological and ideological, particularly the rise of a violent Wahhabi-Salafi form of Islam; and finally socio-economic causes including discrimination and Islamophobia. Each of these causes in themselves could form a basis for radicalisation, but taken together they provided a powerful and dangerous interplay upon which murderous intention found shape and cause.

There were warning signs. Two years previously, during the mass anti-war protests that accompanied the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the journalist and commentator Fuad Nadhi wrote of the potential radicalisation of a generation of young Muslims who saw the Iraq war as a war against Islam, felt dislocated from the rest of society and had stopped attending mainstream mosques whose message of patience and tolerance they rejected. In a warning about what was to come Nadhi wrote: “Nobody has a clue about what kind of theology these young Muslims are developing. But informed more by rage than the message of peace within traditional Islam, the results are likely to be dangerous.

“In their dark underground world, these young angry people have, like our government, lost their sense of what is legal, moral or humane.”

Fuad Nadhi was convinced that the issue of Palestine had been a consistent recruiting sergeant for those seeking to spread a violent message of radicalism: “from the scholarly pulpits of Al-Azhar to the mosques of Birmingham and Derby, young people speak only of Palestine. It is the great religious transformation of our age. And if you talk to these new zealots, you will find that anger over Palestine has been the catalyst which radicalised them.”

The recent announcement by the Israeli Government of its plans to further annex parts of the West Bank later this month has already led to churches in the Holy Land to warn that such plans would bring about the loss of any remaining hope for the success of the peace process. Israeli security analysts have warned that the move could lead to the collapse of the Palestinian Authority.

The need for unambiguous support for the fundamental right of Israel’s citizens to live in peace and safety cannot be achieved through annexation. Such an outcome would underline the false belief that progress comes only through brutal force and might, a belief that sits uncomfortably close to those radicalised to violence.