Canadian plot nets 2 men in UK - Arrest of grandson of "respected" Imam who was "vocal critic of terrorism" leads to Muslim riot threat
June 7, 2006
"...Everyone in the community is horrified and shocked and feeling very angry with the police. I was down there just after the raid, there were 300 people outside the house. Somebody shouted 'things are going to hot up' at the police..."(article below).
In Dewsbury, resident Mohammed Afzal said neighbours there were upset because one of the houses raided belonged to an imam, or a Muslim preacher. He said the teenager arrested lived in the same home as the preacher, and that the religious leader had not been arrested, but that he did leave with police.
"He's one of the most respected imams in our community," said Yunus Garja, who lives near the family, speaking about the preacher. "He's spoken locally and nationally at various seminars preaching against violence as a means for any purpose."
Residents said people at one of the other searched houses belonged to a well-known and well-respected family.
After the raid by police, some people were angry and wanted to organize a march, but a community leader asked them to stay calm, said resident Hanifa Darwan. · Community anger over raid on well-known family
Vikram Dodd, Martin Wainwright and Richard-Norton-Taylor
The 16-year-old was arrested in Dewsbury by police who also raided the home of his grandfather, one of the leading figures in British Islam, who has been a vocal critic of terrorism. Yesterday, Muslims in the town said that they were horrified by the arrest and raids, and were angry at the police action.
The 16-year-old was one of two people arrested in Britain in connection with the alleged terrorist plot in Canada. A 21-year-old man from Bradford was arrested at Manchester airport on Tuesday. Police subsequently raided three houses in Bradford in an operation which saw the local force joined by officers of the Metropolitan police and MI5. None of the officers involved was armed.
The 21-year-old is originally from Pakistan and had recently been there. He is understood to have links with the houses in Bradford, whose residents were moved out by police. Counter terrorism officials in Canada, US and Britain have been investigating links in cyberspace between alleged violent jihadists.
In Bradford, neighbours of the arrested man said he was studying law in the city and was part of "a nice, quiet family who are no trouble to anyone".
The arrests in Canada were made over the weekend after the alleged purchase of three tonnes of ammonium nitrate by a group which had been watched by local police for two years.
Canadian police have arrested a total of 17 people in connection with what is alleged to be a massive terrorist plot, the scale of which has stunned the country.
Police claim it involved taking the prime minister, Stephen Harper, hostage and decapitating him unless Canada's 2,300 troops in Afghanistan were withdrawn. Police also allege that there was a plan to storm and take over Canadian institutions such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
In Dewsbury, officers searched the Islamic scholar's house and other addresses which are understood to be the homes of other close members of the teenager's family. Local businessman Tahir Zaman said people were angered by the police raid on the house of such a revered religious figure: "The family is very, very, very respected.
"Everyone in the community is horrified and shocked and feeling very angry with the police. I was down there just after the raid, there were 300 people outside the house. Somebody shouted 'things are going to hot up' at the police." Shahid Malik, local Labour MP for Dewsbury, said: "I know the family of the 16-year-old very, very well; they are very respected. People have to accept the police are acting in good faith and have a job to do, people have to stay cool and calm."
British Muslim leaders say their communities are already tense after last Friday's huge raid in east London on a family house during which a man was shot; police said they had acted on intelligence that a chemical device could be at the property which was to be used in a terrorist attack on Britain. Days of searches at the address in Forest Gate have yielded no sign of the device. Police were yesterday granted warrants for detention until Saturday for the two brothers arrested in the raid.
Dewsbury has had problems in the past with community tensions and the British National party. At the 2005 general election the BNP received its largest vote in any constituency in Dewsbury, with some 5,000 people supporting it.