London terror attacker profiled

Khalid Masood, age 52, attacked London, driving a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and stabbing a police officer who was guarding parliament. 

Masood was not born into a Muslim family. His birth name was Adrian Russell Ajao. He was born in Kent to a 17-year-old mother. In school, he was interested in football and parties. 

Masood has two daughters with Jane Harvey, his partner with whom he lived in the mid-1990s. He also has a son with another woman.  

Most of his noted criminal acts occurred before his conversion to Islam.  He was convicted for criminal damage at the age of 18. He also had convictions for assaults, weapon possession, and disturbing public order. At least two of his convictions were for knife-related assaults.

It is unclear exactly when he converted to Islam. In 2004, he married a Muslim woman, Farzana Malik but they separated a few months later as a result of Masood’s abusive actions. By 2005, he was living and working in Saudi Arabia, where he earned qualification to teach English. A few months after returning to the UK from Saudi Arabia, he began to teach English to language learners in Luton.

It is also unclear when he was radicalised; however, he spent time in 3 prisons and told a friend that he had become Muslim in jail. 

In the most recent years, he has been moving around the UK with a notable lack of stability. In about the past 5 years, he has lived in Luton, Forest Glen in East London, and Winson Green in Birmingham. Some of that time was spent incarcerated.

At his death, he was married to Rohey Hydara who did not know of the attacks in advance. His wife and mother have both expressed their condolences to the families of the victims and anger at Masood’s actions. 

Extremism in Luton: Mosque launches anti-ISIS classes for Muslim children to combat online grooming

British Muslim children as young as 11 are being given classes to prevent them

being radicalised by violent Islamic State (Daesh) jihadists. This comes after

community leaders feared they were being targeted by extremist online

propaganda.

Imams and Islamic teachers warned a war of ideologies is currently being fought

in their own mosques, communities, and on social media following the rise of

terror groups in Syria and Iraq.

IBTimes UK visited one Islamic school in Luton – a town infamous for both far-

right and Islamic extremist groups – as it taught a new syllabus to tackle children

being groomed by IS fighters.

The Al-Hira mosque, home to one of the largest madrassas in Luton, is in its first

year of giving anti-Daesh classes for pupils aged 11 to 16.

Started eight months ago, the classes are described by the mosques leaders as

part of a new grassroots strategy which they say has become more effective than

the governments own anti-extremism programme.

Most of the young people from aged nine are on social media and they know

what Isis are – its very easy for them to go down the wrong path, Dawood

Masood, senior manager of Al-Hira, tells IBTimes UK.

http://www.ibtimes.co.in/extremism-in- luton-mosque- launches-anti- isis-

classes-for- muslim-children- to-combat- online-grooming- 682898

How to tackle the EDL

Those wondering how to respond to English Defence League marches this weekend can look to the example of tea and non-confrontation we set at York mosque

 

When we first heard about the English Defence League protest that was to take place outside our local mosque in York last Sunday, my colleagues and I sat down and thought about how we should behave. We are non-violent people and the EDL say they are too, so any notion of aggressive confrontation was ruled out immediately. We came up with a different approach. Now I hear that 50 more EDL protests are being planned across the country this weekend and I thought it timely to consider why the York response worked.

 

It was up to us to provide an atmosphere that was representative of our culture. When I say “our culture”, I mean all of us, including the EDL and the members of the mosque. We all think of sitting down with a cup of tea as something quintessentially English, so we thought that offering a cup of good old-fashioned Yorkshire tea and hospitality would be a start.

 

When we listened, we realised the EDL may have thought that we supported extremist behaviour and the Taliban. We pointed out that we condemned both in the strongest terms. Assumptions are dangerous, untested assumptions can be lethal. They were surprised, and they understood. The day ended in a game of football.

 

This weekend, we should try to put assumptions aside. Elements of the far-right are planning demonstrations across the country, including Birmingham, Luton and Leeds, in what has been described as a “day of hate”. But we should be careful about using such labels and consider instead sitting down with these groups to try to understand what has driven them to organise such events.

 

Lee Rigby’s family call for calm as far-right groups plan day of protest

Relatives say murdered soldier had friends of different cultures and would not want his death used as excuse for violence. The family of Lee Rigby have urged people to “show their respect”, saying the murdered soldier would not want anyone to exploit the event to cause division.

 

Their call came as far-right groups prepared for what could be their biggest mass mobilisation in years, including dozens of planned protests by the English Defence League (EDL) and a British National party (BNP) rally on Saturday in central London.

 

There has been a sharp increase in reports of Islamophobic incidents since Rigby’s death; more than 200 were reported to a hotline in the week following his murder in Woolwich, south-east London, on 22 May.

 

Anti-racist campaigners say there could be as many as 60 EDL protests around England on Saturday, making it the largest far-right mobilisation in 30 years. Some of the biggest turnouts are expected in Birmingham, Luton and Leeds, and police forces have held emergency meetings to work out how to maintain order.

 

Groups opposed to the far right, such as Hope not Hate, and faith organisations have been organising their own activities. On Friday, representatives of Greenwich Islamic Centre, which has no links to the alleged attackers but became a focus because of its proximity to the murder site, hosted an event in which Muslim community leaders joined representatives from the Jewish, Anglican, Catholic and Sikh faiths to lay a wreath spelling “Peace” at Woolwich barracks, where Rigby was based.

 

It was preceded by a “tea and biscuits” event at the Greenwich centre, modelled on the much-praised impromptu efforts of a York mosque to charm a gathering of EDL would-be protesters earlier this week.

 

Nick Clegg Distances Himself From David Cameron on Violent Extremism

3 March 2011

Nick Clegg has set out a rival government vision for combating violent extremism, striking a different tone from David Cameron’s month-old doctrine to disengage from extremists.

In a speech in Luton, Clegg disagreed with Cameron’s disavowal of multiculturalism, was hesitant about moves to ban extremist groups and said he did not share the prime minister’s wish to rule out engaging with non-violent extremists. He pointed to his decision to allow one of his ministers to attend the Global Peace and Unity conference – which occasionally hosts controversial Islamic scholars – while Tory chairwoman Sayeeda Warsi was forced to pull out.

In contrast to the timing of Cameron’s speech in Munich – the same day as an English Defence League rally in Luton – the deputy prime minister delivered his speech in Luton on Thursday, where he deployed a more emollient tone.

Muslim Resistance: The Struggle Within (video)

Documentary maker Masood Khan explores the Muslim community’s struggle against extremism. In the first of three videos, he goes to Luton to see how Salafi Muslims are rejecting the extreme rhetoric of al-Muhajiroun, despite still holding not-very-moderate views themselves. In the second part, Khan meets Kalsoom Bashir, a Bristol community worker who is challenging the conservative Islamic view of women. In the third video, Khan meets Hanif Qadir, who co-founded the anti-extremist youth group Active Change Foundation after training as a mujahid soldier and becoming disillusioned with extreme Islamist ideology.

Outlawed Islamic Group Recruits Near Swedish Suicide Bomber’s Luton Home

18 December 2010

MI5 and antiterrorist police are attempting to unravel what transformed the father-of-three into a terrorist.

But moderate Muslims in Luton, where Iraqi-born Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly lived for almost ten years, claim the authorities are to blame for turning a blind eye to the activities of hard core jihadi sympathisers in the area.

Unimpeded by the police, the group, now calling themselves “The Reflect Project” are accused of mounting a campaign of intimidation and violence against those who disagree with them.

Followers of the radical cleric Omar Bakri Muhammad, who is currently being held in jail in Lebanon on terror charges, the group are led locally by Ishtiaq Alamgir or “Sayful Islam” — Sword of Islam — a former inland revenue accountant.

Earlier this year Mr Alamgir helped organise the protest against the homecoming of troops from the town after their tour of Afghanistan, which ended in violence and several arrests.

Stockholm Bomber’s Mosque Website Carries Links to Extremist Preacher

19 December 2010

The website of the British mosque where the Stockholm bomber worshipped carries links to comments used to justify suicide attacks, and material expounding antisemitism and homophobia.

Preachers at the Luton Islamic Centre told last week how they had tackled Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, 28, the suicide bomber who blew himself up in Stockholm last weekend, over his extremist views.

However, the centre’s website carries a link to a lecture by Dr Bilal Philips, a Muslim preacher who was barred from entering Britain by the home secretary in July because of his extremist views.

Philips’s speech includes a passage during which he says that a person who kills him or herself is motivated by different instincts to those of a suicide bomber. “When you look at the mind of the suicide bomber, it’s a different intention altogether,” he says. Suicide is generally considered to be against Islamic law.

Other contentious material found on the Luton Islamic Centre’s site includes one publication on its website last week called “gay history and gay pride” that expounded homophobic views such as “sodomy is one of the most repulsive acts, even observed among beasts”, and said homosexuals should be executed.

Another was called “the prophesy of the utter destruction of the yahood [Jews] will only occur at the hands of the true worshippers of Allaah” in which Jews who try to make peace are portrayed as deceivers.

Anti-Muslim US preacher Terry Jones could be banned from UK

12 December 2010

The American preacher who planned a mass burning of the Qur’an on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks could be banned from entering Britain under incitement and national security laws.
Terry Jones, a pentecostal preacher, is to address the far-right group, the English Defence League (EDL), about “the evils of Islam” at a rally in Luton in February.
Theresa May, the home secretary, is under intense pressure to ban Jones and said she was “actively looking” at the case. She said Jones had “been on her radar for a few months” and, as home secretary, she could ban his entry if he was a threat to national security.
A statement on Jones’s website said: “During the protest, Dr Terry Jones will speak against the evils and destructiveness of Islam in support of the continued fight against the Islamification of England and Europe.” The EDL said it was “proud to announce” that Jones would be attending its “biggest demonstration to date”.

Sweden Suicide Bomber: Taimur Abdulwahab al-Abdaly was living in Britain

12 December 2010

Taimur Abdulwahab al-Abdaly tried to set off a car bomb packed with gas canisters in a busy shopping street in Stockholm. The car caught fire and the bomber fled the scene before blowing himself up 300yd away 15 minutes later, injuring two bystanders.
It emerged last night that Abdulwahab, who was due to turn 29 yesterday, is a former physical therapy student at Bedfordshire University in Luton, and that his wife and three young children still live in the town.
MI5 is now investigating possible links with extremists in Luton, whether the bomber was radicalised at the university and claims that he was helped by an extremist group in Yemen, the base for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.