6th May 2009
Fears of a race war grew yesterday after right-wing extremists were accused of firebombing a mosque.
The Call To Islam Education Centre was gutted in a blaze which local Muslims have called an act of terrorism.
And they claim the attack in Luton, Beds, was revenge for a protest by a Muslim hate mob against returning Brit soldiers in the town in March.
Farasat Latif, the centre’s secretary, said: “We strongly condemn this violent Islamaphobic attack on our mosque. We believe that this attack was carried out by far-right extremists, an attack that could have led to many deaths.
“Over 90 children attend our centre daily. Had this happened at a different time, the results would have been catastrophic.”
Detectives have examined CCTV footage of two hooded men running to a car seconds after the midnight explosion.
The centre had received threats last week and a committee member said: “We pray here five times a day and often the last session goes on past midnight.
“Members sleep over, so people could have been in the room when the bomb was thrown through the window.”
The attack will inflame the town gripped by race tension since riot cops broke up a “Reclaim The Streets” rally aimed at police and council inaction over the taunting of the troops.
Controversial cleric Anjem Choudary, who lectures to Luton Muslims, said: “We don’t want to have a battle in the streets, but there’s no telling how young extremist Muslims will react.”
A “People of Luton” organisation, which wants Muslim extremists stopped, has set up a Facebook group called “Ban The Terrorists” with 1,400 members already.
It wants the council and police to stop Muslim hate-mongers recruiting for holy war in the town.
Facebook site member Mikey Birch, who opposes both BNP right-wingers and Muslim extremists, said: “I think this centre was firebombed because these Muslim extremists tend to hang out nearby.”
Last night a member of the centre condemned Muslim extremists.
Hussein Malik, 30, said: “Our mosque has always condemned terrorism and we disown these guys who support it. I want to know why they aren’t locked up.”
A Bedfordshire Police spokesman said that they were conducting a careful examination of the scene.
He said: “Although no one was hurt in the fire it caused considerable damage to the building.”
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