Dad of UK terror doc who was married with young child calls son a "good Muslim" "not fanatic"
July 2, 2007
UK ARRESTS: Mohammed Asha and his wife were among those arrested in the UK by British anti-terrorism police hunting those behind attempted car bombings in London and Glasgow, police say.
MIM: Apparently the theological nuance between what makes a "good Muslim" terror plotter and "a fanatic"one is whether or not the car bomb actually detonates to kill and maim the "nice and considerate" people they chose to live among because they treated them "with respect and dignity". As Mohammed's father stated "He prayed like a Muslim but was not a fanatic".
Father of UK suspect says son 'not a fanatic'
Reuters | Tuesday, 3 July 2007
The father of one of the suspects arrested in Britain in connection with the London and Glasgow car bomb plots has said his son was a good Muslim who had never shown any interest in political Islam.
"He was a devout Muslim but not strict," retired teacher Jameel Abdul Qader Asha, 55, said in Jordan.
"He prayed like any Muslim but was not a fanatic," said Asha, the father of eight children, including three doctors. He was seated at his home in the Jordanian capital Amman, holding a photograph of his serious-looking 26-year-old son, Mohammed.
"I am sure Mohammed does not have any links of this nature, because his history in Jordan and since he was a kid does not include any kind of activity of this nature," the father said.
Mohammed, who was born in Saudi Arabia but brought up and trained as a doctor in Jordan, was arrested with his wife as they were driving on a highway in northern England on Saturday.
They were detained hours after police in London discovered two cars loaded with fuel, gas canisters and nails that had been parked near a popular night club in the heart of the capital.
A mobile phone was left in one of the cars. It is believed police have been able to move rapidly to track down suspects connected to the failed bomb plots because of telephone calls made to and from that mobile phone.
Barely 36 hours after the London attacks were foiled, two men in Scotland rammed a four-wheel-drive vehicle into a terminal at Glasgow airport and set the car ablaze.
Police said the London and Glasgow attacks were connected. Another of those arrested was also a doctor, trained in Iraq, a police source has said.
Asha said his son had arrived in London in late 2004, accompanied by his wife, after finding a post to pursue postgraduate studies in neurosurgery at a British hospital.
By his father's account, Mohammed and his wife had settled in well in Britain and were happy with their lives. He said they had a son, Anas, who was born in Britain almost 18 months ago.
"He told us people were nice and considerate and did not discriminate against them on the basis of their religion or colour," the father said.
Mohammed was a bright child who won a scholarship from a special secondary school for gifted children, said Asha, whose family comes originally from the West Bank city of Hebron.
In recent days, the family had been unable to reach their son on his mobile phone and began to worry that something might be wrong.
'Our son is not a fanatic. This is a mistake'
Mohammed Asha, one of the doctors arrested in connection with the attempted car bomb attacks, was a star student who chose to live and work in Britain because it treated people with "respect and dignity", his family said yesterday.
Dr Asha, 26, originally from Jordan, excelled at the Jubilee School, an elite institution in the country's capital, Amman, for children who show academic promise.
After gaining straight As in 1998, he won a scholarship to Jordan University's medical school, graduating in the summer of 2004. He was again top of his class.
However, instead of taking up a post in his native country, he moved to Britain to complete his training.
He arrived first in Birmingham University with his wife Marwa, 27, before switching to Shrewsbury Royal Hospital and the Princess Royal in Telford where, as a junior doctor, he trained under a number of consultants.
After one year of training he took up his current post as a senior house officer at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, specialising in neurology. By now Dr Asha and his wife had a son, Anas, and the couple moved to a three-bedroom home in Newcastle-under-Lyme, on the edge of Stoke-on-Trent.
The picture painted of Dr Asha by his father and former college contemporaries yesterday was of a model student who always excelled and who prayed daily but was nevertheless a religious moderate.
Born on 17 September, 1980, he has five brothers and two sisters.
Speaking for the first time yesterday, Jamil Abdelqader Asha, 55, described his devastation at his son's arrest. "This is just so strange, so unbelievable," he said, as he sat shoeless in the modest four-storey family home in the Jbel Azhour (Mount of Flowers) suburb of eastern Amman.
"My son cared about his studies and his family but not politics. He was religious, yes, but not a fanatic. We only spoke last Thursday about his planned trip home to see us all on the 12th of July and all he wanted to know was what size clothes to buy for his mother as a present.
"It must all be a mistake and I trust in the fairness of the British judiciary and security services so this will be sorted out soon.
"He chose Britain because he thought it was a place where people were respected and treated with dignity.
"He trained as a general surgeon but he wanted to specialise and only 10 days ago he got the news that he had a job to specialise as a neurosurgeon, in Birmingham.
"He was really excited about the new job. He said it showed how people in Britain are chosen fairly for their talents."
Mr Asha, who comes from the Jordanian population of Palestinians made refugees by the creation of Israel, worked for 20 years as an Arabic language teacher in Saudi Arabia. The Asha family originally come from Hebron, a town in the West Bank, part of the territory occupied by Israel.
Azmi Mahafzah, an associate professor of virology who taught Dr Asha at the University of Jordan in Amman, said: "He was a genius."
According to his neighbours in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Dr Asha was always friendly and immaculately dressed.
Dan Robinson, 61, said: "He seemed a charming fellow and very articulate."