Abta17: Travel faces ‘a generation’ of terror threats, warns activist

The travel sector faces a generation of terror threats, Abta Travel Convention delegates were warned by activist Maajid Nawaz.

The LBC radio broadcaster, who now runs counter-extremist organisation Quilliam after having been radicalised as a teenager while growling up in Essex, was speaking ahead of the start of the second day of the convention in The Azores.

Nawaz, who rejected Islamist extremism after liaison with Amnesty International when imprisoned in Cairo, highlighted how recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels and London demonstrated that western capitals were just as likely targets as tourist destinations following atrocities in destinations such as Tunisia and Egypt.

Nawaz said attacks in cities were “inevitable” and pointed out: “There is absolutely nothing you can do about it. I can’t wave a magic wand and make terrorism disappear. It’s inevitable and we have to face it.”

He added: “We have to understand this is a phenomenon that’s going to be with us for a generation and we have to deal with that.”

Nawaz, a former Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for the constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn in London, called for a “measured and positive” response to destabilising forces.

“The best way to respond is to take a measured view with candid conversations, that’s how we get through this,” he urged.

Nawaz added that he had made progress with former prime minister David Cameron on encouraging a community-based response to radicalisation but suggested that Theresa May was not open to such an initiative.

“We need a full on community-based debate to tackle this problem but there is no-one responsible for co-ordinating government policy,” he claimed.

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