Muslim extremists were trying to recruit students outside the University of Bedfordshire during Freshers’ Week last week - and police were powerless to stop them.
Around 15 extremists, some of whom had abused soldiers during the Royal Anglian Regiment’s homecoming parade in Luton town centre earlier this year, set up two stalls outside the Luton campus in Park Street on Thursday morning.
New students walking through the university’s main entrance were handed leaflets, some of which showed a placard depicting former US President George Bush below a headline of ‘Terrorist Murderer’.
Having been made aware of the extremists’ presence, university officials contacted the police, who sent officers who asked what they were doing but took no action as ‘no laws were being broken’.
One of those giving out leaflets was Abu Safiyya, who admitted to abusing the troops during their parade in March when they were branded ‘baby-killers’ and spat at.
Mr Safiyya told our reporter: “We are giving out leaflets, talking to students, calling people to Islam. It is not extremism.
"I was there (in March) accusing the soldiers of crimes. They went in to fight and kill for war. It is not justified.
“You don’t want to believe in freedoms. Our whole argument is that Islam is superior. Every person is responsible for their own actions. They make their own decisions.”
Another man, who would not give his name, was asked how many extremists from the homecoming parade were there.
He said: “Some are here - not me. You may recognise some faces.”
The extremists also turned up at the Freshers’ Fayre on Friday afternoon outside the university’s Business School, in Vicarage Street.
On the leaflets it was stated they had been produced by ‘Islam4UK Publications’. On Islam4UK’s website it says ‘Islam4UK has been established by sincere Muslims as a platform to propagate the supreme Islamic ideology within the UK as a divine alternative to manmade law.’
It adds ‘the world has witnessed the tyranny of man-made law, whether that be from the apostate rulers in Muslim lands or the disbelieving leaders in the West’, while stressing Islam4UK does ‘not encourage any forms of terrorism on this website’.
The homecoming parade in March was organised by Luton Borough Council for Royal Anglian Regiment troops who had been in Basra.
The extremists demonstrated and chanted abuse at the soldiers, and then swapped insults with yobs who in turn protested against them. Lakhbir Singh, who was mayor at the time, was assaulted during the disorder.
The clash sparked a series of similar extremism-associated incidents in the town centre and Bury Park. A total of more than 20 people have since been charged in connection with all of the incidents.
In a statement the University of Bedfordshire said: ‘The university was aware of the group. They were on a public highway. We are not aware anyone from the university made an official complaint to the police.’
A police spokeswoman said: “A PCSO and two officers went down to speak to a group. No laws were being broken and there was no breach of the peace, so no action was taken.
“They were not causing an obstruction. We checked the leaflets and they are known to us. They give them out on a regular basis.”
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