Intelligence officers have said they have identified 23,000 jihadist extremists living in the United Kingdom, according to a report by the Times of London on Saturday.
Of the 23,000 radical jihadists identified in the United Kingdom, the intelligence sources said about 3,000 are believed to pose a “threat” and are currently being investigated or actively monitored. “The 20,000 others have featured in previous inquiries and are categorised as posing a ‘residual risk,’” reported the Times.
The figures were released by sources in the United Kingdom’s central government on Friday.
The report surfaced less than a week after a suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, detonated an explosive device at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. Twenty-two people were killed in the bombing and as many as 64 were injured.
U.K. police have since arrested five people believed to be linked to the attack, and Abedi’s father and younger brother, Hashem, have been arrested in Tripoli, Libya. Hashem is said to have ties to the terror cell affiliated with the Islamic State that said it was responsible for the Manchester attack, according to a report by the Telegraph (United Kingdom).
Prime Minister Theresa May said in a speech on Tuesday, the attacker had a “warped and twisted mind.”
“We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children, not as a scene to cherish, but as an opportunity for carnage,” May said. “But we can continue to resolve to thwart such attacks in future, to take on and defeat the ideology that often fuels this violence, and if there turn out to be others responsible for this attack, to seek them out and bring them to justice.”
The radical Islamic ideology espoused by the attacker and other extremist jihadists has led some in the United Kingdom to call for fewer immigrants from Muslim-majority nations.
The Pew Research Center reported in 2016 there are about 2.96 million Muslims in the United Kingdom, about 4.8 percent of the total population. If the intelligence sources’ numbers and the figures presented by Pew are correct, that would mean about 0.77 percent of the U.K. Muslim population is believed to be a jihadist extremist. If that percentage is representative of the situation in other Western nations, it would mean France has roughly 36,200 jihadist extremists in its country and Germany has about 36,600.
Using the same formula, the United States has 25,400 jihadist extremists. There is a total of 3.3 Muslims in America, according to 2016 estimates released by the Pew Research Center.