Police are investigating a fire started by intruders at an Islamic boarding school on the south-east outskirts of London as suspicious, amid continuing fears of reprisals after the Woolwich murder of Drummer Lee Rigby. Two boys were treated for smoke inhalation after fire broke out at the Darul Uloom Islamic School in Chislehurst, Kent, on Saturday night.
In a statement the police urged the public to remain calm and not to speculate on the cause of the fire. It said extra police had been deployed to other “potentially vulnerable” buildings in the area. It but did not elaborate.
Darul Uloom Islamic School is about six miles (10 kilometres) from Woolwich, where Rigby was killed last month. It is a £3,000-a-year, boys’ boarding school, was established in 1988. Students wear salwar kameez and skull caps, typical of Pakistan, and study a mixture of the national curriculum and Islamic studies. The school was established in 1988. Its website says it aims to “prepare Muslim students to be good Muslims and responsible citizens; to embed in the student a sense of discipline; to enable them to grow up to become upright, respectable and worthy citizens of their respective countries.”
Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan police chief commissioner, said: “These are difficult times for London’s communities. The Met is now investigating suspicious fires at two locations within the Islamic community which have happened in the past few days. Fortunately no one has been hurt, but we know that fires can often prove fatal.
Four teenagers have been arrested over the fire which saw 182 staff and pupils evacuated and two treated for smoke inhalation. The four – two aged 17, and two aged 18 – were arrested on suspicion of arson late last night, the Metropolitan Police confirmed. They are currently in custody at a south London police station.
The incident is the second suspected arson attack perpetrated against a Muslim institution in the capital after graffiti reading “EDL” was found at a burned out Islamic Community Centre in Muswell Hill. Met Police investigators are still trying to establish the causes and circumstances of the school fire. They appealed for calm and asked people not to speculate as to the cause of the fire.
The leader of the far Right British National Party Nick Griffin has urged his followers to ignore a police ban on the organisation’s planned march near the scene of the brutal murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich. The call comes despite police warnings that any BNP members who try to demonstrate in south east London on Saturday risk arrest.
Mr Griffin posted on Twitter: “Ignore reports of march ban. See you there on Saturday.” He called the ban, which was issued under the Public Order Act, a “police abuse of power”.
“The right to protest is a fundamental part of our society, however, such an evocative mix of views being expressed in communities still hurting from Lee’s murder could have resulted in ugly scenes on our streets,” said Metropolitan Police Commander Simon Letchford.
The enforced change, if adhered to, raises the prospect of the two far Right rivals – the BNP and English Defence League – reaching the Cenotaph at the same time, along with anti-fascist groups. Speaking to The Independent tonight, Simon Letchford added that the Metropolitan Police was continuing to gather intelligence and would adapt its tactics in the event of any trouble.
Far-right groups march across UK in wake of Woolwich killing, while police in London arrest 58 during angry scenes yesterday after anti-fascist demonstrators clashed with British National Party members outside the Houses of Parliament. The far-right group’s march was one of around 60 planned across the country yesterday to mark the death of Drummer Lee Rigby, murdered in Woolwich last month.
Nick Griffin turned up around two hours later and, addressing reporters, said his supporters had come out to protest peacefully and to oppose any Islamic presence in Britain. And he claimed that the murder of Drummer Rigby would not be an isolated incident.
The Metropolitan Police said that the UAF faction numbered around 300 people and the BNP group around 150.
On Friday, the imam Sheik Maymoun Zarzour, 39, was found dead at the Muslim Welfare House in Finsbury park, next to the Finsbury Park Mosque. It then emerged that the imam – who was blind since a childhood accident – was killed after the morning prayers. A man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder. The Metropolitan Police does not believe it to be a faith hate crime; instead, some officers believed the suspect attended the mosque. Drawing on comments made by worshippers at the mosque, the Daily Mirror reports that the imam was killed after an unknown man walked up and talked to him. However, details have not been released yet.
Sheik Zarzour was born in Lebanon and came tot he UK in 2008, seeking asylum.
19 April 2011
A recently formed group, Muslims Against Crusade, have called for a forceful protest on the wedding day of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The group was formed after radical Islam4UK was banned last year, which in turn was a successor to the outlawed group Al Muhajiroun, and although radical Anjem Choudary plays a role in all three movements, Muslims Against Crusade claim to have no links with Al Muhajiroun. The group’s plans of protesting outside Westminster Abbey on 29 April – ironically together with the English Defence League – were banned by the Metropolitan Police. Muslims Against Crusade announced that they would still go ahead with their demonstration, possibly in a different location, in order to protest the Royal Family’s support of the war in Afghanistan.
The Muslim Council of Britain has strongly condemned the radical group’s plans, called them “silly antics” who disregarded the teachings and the ethos of Islam.
The Metropolitan Police has agreed pay £60,000 for violent attacks of police officers on a British Muslim. The high court had decided the officers were guilty of punching, kicking and throttling Babar Ahmad and of mocking his Islamic faith. Ahmad had been arrested in 2003 and again in 2004 and is accused of raising funds for terrorism. So far, the accusations have not been proven.
The case took five years to reach a court decision. It had earlier been investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and its predecessor, the Police Complaints Authority, who found the charges were unsubstantiated. It appears that the officers involved have been accused of 77 other cases in which they assaulted African-British and Asian men, but documented evidence on these allegations was “lost” before they could be treated in court. Meanwhile, Babar Ahmad is awaiting decision on the charges against him and whether or not he could be extradited to the US, who had requested his 2004 arrest.
The Scotland Yard men who shot dead Jean Charles de Menezes did not identify themselves as police officers before opening fire, according to three witnesses who saw the Brazilian electrician being killed. The evidence, given by passengers who were in the same train car as Mr. de Menezes when he was shot in July 2005, contradicts statements made by the Metropolitan Police.
Both of the armed officers who shot de Menezes have told the inquest they shouted “armed police” before firing. This claim has also been corroborated by other officers who were on the train on the day de Menezes was killed. But three witnesses have said there was no such alert. Their testimonies appear to lend weight to the accusation levelled by Michael Mansfield QC representing de Menezes’ family that the Metropolitan Police officers had “embellished, exaggerated, and lied.”
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Three Tunisian men wanted in Italy for alleged terrorist offences have been extradited from Britain, police say. Habib Ignaoua, Mohamed Khemiri, and Ali Chehidi were arrested in 2007 on a European Arrest Warrant. Italian authorities accuse the trio of recruiting young men to join the jihad in Afghanistan and Iraq. In July, they went to the High Court to try to block their extradition on the grounds they could face torture, but the judges rejected their case. The Metropolitan Police all three left Britain at 1500 GMT on Saturday. The Italian authorities say the men were involved in recruiting fighters between 1997 and 1999.
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A link between terrorism plots and hardcore child pornography is becoming clear after a string of police raids in Britain and across the Continent, an investigation by The Times has discovered. Images of child abuse have been found during Scotland Yard antiterrorism swoops and in big inquiries in Italy and Spain. Secret coded messages are being embedded into child pornographic images, and paedophile websites are being exploited as a secure way of passing information between terrorists.
British security services are also aware of the trend and believe that it requires further investigation to improve understanding of terrorists’ methods and mindsets. Concerns within the Metropolitan Police led to a plan to run a pilot research project exploring the nature of the link. One source familiar with the proposal said that this could eventually lead to the training of child welfare experts to identify signs of terrorist involvement as they monitor pornographic sites. Concerns have already been expressed at Cabinet minister level about the risk of vulnerable Muslim youths being exploited by older men. Officers have noted that child sex abuse images have been found during investigations into some of the most advanced suspected plots. However, it is understood that the proposed research project was never implemented because the AntiTerrorism Branch was overwhelmed by the sheer number of cases it was having to deal with. Richard Kerbaj and Dominic Kennedy report.
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London Daily News
The resignation of Britain’s top policeman has stunned the family of an innocent man shot dead by police officers who mistook him for an Islamic terrorist: Although the controversy surrounding Sir Ian Blair – who quit as commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London at the end of last week – remained focused yesterday on claims of political interference, there have long been doubts that he could have survived in his job after an inquest into the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. The inquest into the death of the 27-year-old Brazilian, who was working in London as an electrician when he was shot eight times as he sat on a tube train after being mistakenly identified as a suicide bomber, began just over a fortnight ago and is expected to end in the next three to four weeks. Immediately after the July 22, 2005 shooting, which occurred two weeks after four young Muslim extremists had detonated suicide bombs on London’s transport system killing 52 commuters, Mr Blair said during a press conference that Menezes was “directly linked” to a second group that had tried, but failed, to cause other explosions on buses the day before. In fact, as The Times, of London, pointed out last week, “everyone in Scotland Yard seemed to know that they had shot the wrong man – everyone, that is, except the man at the top”. David Sapsted reports.
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