A leading Luton Islamic leader has denounced the town’s portrayal as ‘a hotbed of extremism’ by sections of the national media and warned it could lead to a rise in racial tensions.
Qadeer Baksh, chairman of the Luton Islamic Centre, was speaking after it emerged that the suspected Stockholm suicide bomber, Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, who lived in Argyll Avenue, Luton, had worshipped at the mosque for a brief period between 2006 and 2007.
And Mr Baksh expressed concern that Al-Abdaly’s death could lead to a backlash of anti-Muslim feeling, causing divisions in the town.
He said: “It’s very sad to hear Luton described in these terms.
“There are more than 20,000 Muslims in the town but probably a small handful of these have links to extremism.
“The vast majority of Britons are tolerant of all religions but we are concerned that incidents like this could cause people to turn against Islam, particularly in Luton, where the English Defence League have a visible presence.”