What life is like in the Caliphate of Birmingham
Khalid Masood, 52, the Briton responsible for the deadly attack outside Parliament last week ... had a connection to Birmingham, having moved almost a year ago to this city of 1.1 million, where more than than [sic] one in five residents declare Islam as their religion. ... [T]he police also announced Sunday that they had arrested an unidentified man in Birmingham as part of the investigation of Mr. Masood.Birmingham was the birthplace of Britain's first suicide bomber, the residence of a financier of the Sept. 11 attacks, and the place where Al Qaeda hatched a plot to blow up a commercial airliner in 2006. When a masked member of the Shabab, the Somali extremist group, celebrated the murder of the soldier Lee Rigby in a 2013 video, he listed Birmingham as the first source of its fighters.So many Islamist militants have been born in Birmingham – or have passed through – that the Birmingham Mail newspaper once lamented that the city had the dubious distinction of "Terror Central."Members of Birmingham's Muslim communities acknowledged the linkage between their city and Islamist extremism, which many attribute to poverty and drug abuse that make youths vulnerable to jihadist recruiters.
Part of Birmingham's allure to prospective militants is its diverse sprawl of Muslim neighborhoods where they can blend in easily, local activists said.
In the neighborhoods of Sparkbrook, Washwood Heath and Alum Rock, where many of Birmingham's Muslims live, mosques dot the cityscape, some offering Shariah councils for family matters. After-school madrassas serve a growing demand for parents who want their children to study the Quran. Even state-funded schools often accommodate religious demands, allowing for lunchtime prayer.
Birmingham's Green Lane Mosque, a red brick building with a clock tower that was formerly a public library, once had a reputation as an "incubator" of militants, Khalid Mahmood, a local lawmaker, said. Now the mosque seeks to counter them.