“Suspected of inciting terrorism abroad and raising money for terrorists.” By Robin Millard for Agence France-Presse:
LONDON (AFP) – British police arrested six men in pre-dawn anti-terror raids Tuesday, including radical Muslim Abu Izzadeen, known for calling western leaders “terrorists” and heckling Home Secretary John Reid.
The men, aged between 21 and 35, are suspected of inciting terrorism abroad and raising money for terrorists. They were arrested in and around London and are in custody in a central London police station.
A well-known figure towards the extreme end of British Muslim opinion, convert Izzadeen called Reid “an enemy of Islam” and “a tyrant” when he repeatedly disrupted a speech by the interior minister in east London last September.
“Six men have been arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 in connection with inciting others to commit acts of terrorism overseas and terrorist fundraising,” a Metropolitan Police spokesman told AFP.
“A number of searches are ongoing in connection with the
“The arrests form part of a long-term pro-active and complex investigation into alleged incitement and radicalisation for the purposes of terrorism, as well as alleged provision of financial support for international terrorism.”
The BBC said it understood that the arrests were connected to an alleged incident at a mosque in 2004.
The men, aged 21, 24, 27, 28, 32 and 35, were arrested at four addresses in east London, one in the Southall suburb in west London, and one in Luton, a town north of the capital.
The men were arrested at 5:00am (0400 GMT) by the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command and local police officers.
They were being held at the high-security Paddington Green police station in central London, Sky News television reported.
Izzadeen, a former electrician, is said to be an ex-spokesman for the radical Islamist group Al-Ghurabaa, an offshoot of the now disbanded Al-Muhajiroun led by radical cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed, both of which are now banned in Britain.
He came to prominence for refusing to condemn the deadly July 2005 suicide bombings in London and has described Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W. Bush as the “real terrorists” for military action in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He was arrested on February 8 on suspicion of encouraging terrorism but was freed on bail.
Former Al-Muhajiroun spokesman Anjem Choudhury, also said to be a prominent figure in Al-Ghurabaa, confirmed that his “close friend” had been arrested.
“They are saying it’s in relation to something around November 2004, allegedly collecting funds for terrorism, inciting terrorism,” the scolar said.
“People collect a lot of money for orphans and widows at Ramadan, but we know Muslims are guilty until they can prove themselves innocent.
“All these arrests must be seen in the light of the crusade which the Blair regime has launched against the Muslim community, trying to justify their foreign policy through demonising Muslims, and targeting ordinary innocent Muslims who have the fortitude to speak up.
“Abu Izzadeen and other individuals are completely innocent, they do not support any terrorist activities, in this country or abroad.”
There’s that term again, which so many find so usefully vague.