Glasgow Muslims Fear Extremism Has Arrived in Scotland

Jul 5, 2007 10:34am

As more details into the latest terror attacks in London and Glasgow emerge, fear that radical extremism has come to Scotland is growing amid the Muslim community. "Relationships between communities has been so good, no-one was expecting anything like this to happen in Scotland," said Bashir Mann, the president of the Glasgow Central Mosque, the largest mosque in the city. "Things happen in London and England, but not here." This is not the first time, however, that concerns about extremism have hit Glasgow. There was a recent controversy surrounding the Madressa Al Arabia Al Islama Mosque, right outside of Glasgow. An Islamic school across the street from the mosque was shut down three years ago amid allegations that it was teaching extremists views. Now the mosque runs its own private school. A leader at the mosque refused to comment to or allow any of its teachers or employees to comment, saying that the media has "twisted the words" and statements of the mosque leadership and members in the past, but he did say that Islam is a "a peaceful religion." THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS Blotter Secret Document: U.S. Fears Terror ‘Spectacular’ Planned Blotter Exclusive: U.K. Terror Plot — Why the Bombs Failed Blotter Investigators: Scotland and London Bomb Attempts Linked to Same Two Men Click Here to Check Out Brian Ross Investigative Photos Bashir says the majority of the Muslim community in Scotland is moderate. "We have no radical young people, no extremists," he said. "The community is very well-educated, well-to-do, and most are professionals." British authorities have also said that they don’t believe that the suspects originated from Scotland, but rather traveled there to work and plan the terror attacks. That scares members of the community as much as the prospect of home-grown terrorism.  "You don’t know who to trust and who not," said Soran Ali, an Iraqi-Kurd immigrant who came to Scotland seven years ago and now runs a barber shop. "You talk to a guy, he talks to you about his dreams, his life, and seems like a normal person, and you don’t know he’s ready for suicide." Several Iraqi-Kurds voiced horror  at the thought that Iraqi suspect Bilal Abdullah could have been amongst them. "We come here for opportunity," said one man. "Scotland is a good and peaceful place, why would you want to kill people?" Many in the community told ABC News that they would never believe that the alleged suicide bombers came from Scotland. "It’s rubbish, and I won’t comment further," said one shopkeeper. Still others said they had been told by community leaders not to comment to anyone on the issue. Ali says that though the Scottish and British authorities have a responsibility to continue to monitor and crackdown on radical extremism, ultimately the Muslim community itself will have to take responsibility and speak out, if these attacks are going to end. "We ourselves have got to be very vigilant to see that no radicalization is allowed of our young people here," he said. "We have to also be vigilant that people from abroad do not come here to create any trouble." Do you have a tip for Brian Ross and the Investigative Team?

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