Where was the vast majority of decent, law-abiding British Muslims that we are hearing about these days from Prince Charles and Tony Blair while this recruitment was going on? Why didn’t they stop it? Why didn’t they act against the jihadists at this youth center long before the bombings? From The Globe and Mail, with thanks to Beila Rabinowitz:
LEEDS — The transformation of four young British men into terrorists appears to have taken place at a government-funded storefront youth centre in Leeds that, according to youth workers, was a hub of radical Islamist activity.
The centre was sealed off and searched by police yesterday after three of its workers said in an interview on the street outside that at least two of the suicide bombers had been “very regular” visitors at all hours to the Hamara Youth Access Point, and a third had been seen there occasionally.
“It had become so radical and so hateful that I asked if I could stop working there,” said one of the workers, who along with two others described the storefront drop-in centre as a hub of radical Muslim politics and a hotbed of Islamic organizing, routinely hosting mysterious figures to speak about extremist politics.
All three workers, two of them white British Christians, live in the poor Beeston area, which was home to two of the bombers, Shahzad Tanweer, 22, and Hasib Hussain, 18.
A third bomber, 30-year-old Mohammed Sadique Khan, also lived in this tight-knit community in Leeds until a few months ago, when he moved with his wife and their infant child to Dewsbury, not far to the south, where he worked as a well-respected primary-school teacher.
It appears that this modest youth centre is the point where these three young men converged with the fourth bomber and a leading figure who was being sought by police last night.
“It’s fair to say that there was some kind of recruiting going on here,” one of the workers said. “Some of the youth workers were really involved with it, and it got to the point where they were acting really hostile to anyone who wasn’t their kind of Muslim.”
As the interview was taking place on the street, police cordoned off the building, expelled people from neighbouring buildings and began a detailed search of the youth centre.
The centre receives funding from the British government and the European Union, as well as charitable funds, and as such is officially secular and non-political. But in practice, it was neither. On its walls were posters from the Respect Party, an extremist pro-Islamic party founded by MP George Galloway, that showed Israeli soldiers pointing rifles at Palestinian children. When some workers complained about these, they were harassed by other staffers….
Most people here feel that none of the mosques have adopted the highly radical, anti-Western politics that have turned some London houses of worship into Islamist recruiting centres. They say, however, that study groups have formed on the edges of congregations that may teach a much more political form of Islam.
Family and friends of the young men repeatedly said yesterday that they had seen no indication that they had adopted such influences. Although they had become more devoutly religious and travelled to Pakistan for study trips, it is not uncommon for naturalized children of immigrants in this part of England to become more devout than their secularized parents. Terrorism is another matter.