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Arrests In UK “Beheading Plot” Anger Muslims

From Islam Online:

Men leave the central Mosque in Birmingham, central England after Friday prayers at February 2, 2007.

UK Muslims Decry Damaging Raids

BIRMINGHAM — Fearing a backlash, many British Muslims have warned that massive anti-terror police raids would tarnish the image of the minority and fuel anti-Muslim sentiments.

"These high-profile raids damage the community, the area and the relationship between the communities itself," Allah Dittah, the co-founder of the Alum Rock Islamic Center, told Agence France-Pressee (AFP).

Police arrested nine people in dawn raids in Muslim-populated areas of the central English city of Birmingham on Wednesday, January 31.

The arrestees, said to be Britons of Pakistani origins, are suspected of plotting to kidnap and behead a serving soldier, largely believed to be a Muslim.

Many young Muslims accused police of "grandstanding" – carrying out such high profile searches in full view of TV cameras.

"Every time they’re coming into Muslim areas, blasting open their doors," said 19-year-old Imran Khan.

"They wouldn’t like it if they dragged their mum and dad out of bed in the middle of the night. They’re scum," he added angrily.

Police had come under harsh criticism over its anti-terror swoops in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Some 1,047 people were arrested in high-profile raids between September 2001 and June 30 last year under the Terrorism Act 2000, according to Scotland Yard figures.

Only 158 – 10 percent of those arrested – have been charged with terrorist-related offences.

Last year, two British Muslims were arrested on suspicion of involvement in a terrorist plot after a dramatic anti-terror swoop on their home in Forest Gate, east London, which saw the shooting of one of the pair in his shoulder.

The brothers were later released without charges.

Wasim Raja, 25, doubts the charges against those arrested in Wednesday’s massive raids.

"I’ve known him since I was little… He’s not that type of person," he said referring to one of the arrestees.

"If they’ve got a proper lead, then OK. But you’ve got to be 100 percent. Maybe it’s wrong information," he told AFP.

The brother of Amjad, one of the arrested suspects, said his kid brother was innocent.

"This poor kid doesn’t even have a beard. I’m the religious one. He’s innocent. Any problems, he helps you," he told the Daily Mail.

"He works all hours in the grocery shop, up at 6am to go to the market and still working at 8pm every day. How has he got time for terrorism?

"Now the police have smashed their way into his home and the shop, and it’s terrible.

"My dad had a heart attack in the past few months and this will do him no good. My mum’s in the house crying."

The cousin of arrested suspect Azzar Iqbal was also angry.

"Since 9/11 over 1,000 Muslims have been arrested and 99 per cent of them have been found innocent," Pervez Iqbal told the Daily Mail.

"I thought in this country you were innocent until proven guilty."

He insisted Iqbal was "a very good person, a peace-loving person, a family person", with no fundamentalist views.

"He will be released because I know he hasn’t done anything."

Pervez said his arrested cousin, who once ran a snooker hall, "goes to the mosque but that’s hardly a crime."

"His wife is obviously shocked. She can’t believe it. Their three daughters couldn’t go to school today because they took his car."

Talking to the BBC, Mohamed Barber said the same about his cousin who was arrested in the raids.

"We can vouch for him he is innocent. He doesn’t even have time to go to Friday prayers – that’s how busy he is."

Muslims fear the anti-terror raids in the Muslim-populated areas would tarnish the image of the entire minority and fuel backlash.

"We’re going to get an even more vilified and disenfranchised community," Tahir Abbas, the director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Culture, told AFP.

He stressed that the result of the police raids would be creating more tension in "mono-ethnic, Muslim" areas already suffering from poor housing, health and education.

"We should follow the example of the Spanish authorities after the Madrid train bombings. They didn’t vilify or focus on Muslims. They just quietly got on with it carefully.

"The Muslims were then not perceived as a problem per se," he stressed.

Dittah, the co-founder of the Alum Rock Islamic Center, agreed.

"People don’t want terrorism. This is our home. Nobody wants this country to be damaged… but we need a balance: no high-profile raids. It creates fear, especially the lack of information."

An ICM/Guardian poll showed last year that 91 percent of British Muslims are "loyal" to Britain and 80 percent still want to live in and accept Western society.

Shabir Hussain — the vice-chairman of the Alum Rock Islamic Center, said there was a backlash immediately following the police raids.

"A car came by and someone inside shouted, ‘you f.. black bastards’ while I was on the television," said Hussain who has done the round of television news interviews all day on the raids.

"Even if this guy is not guilty tomorrow, people will not want to visit our shops, they won’t come to our area. This is damaging for integration and damaging for the community."

What’s all the fuss? Arresting folks for such things is just an attempt to make those who torture and behead people on the internet look bad.

The most telling quote:

This poor kid doesn’t even have a beard. I’m the religious one.

This young man couldn’t have been involved in a plot to kidnap and torture and behead a man on the internet. — He’s not even religious.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, February 2nd, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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