Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Cross-Atlantic Terror Raids produce varying results

Police authorities in the UK are expected to ask for an extension to question two brothers detained in a raid in east London last Friday. Mohammed Abdul Kahar, 23, and Abul Koyair, 20, have been held over an alleged terror plot since the raid on a house in Lansdown Road, Forest Gate. More than 200 police were involved in the raid which has divided the community. Many feel the number of police employed in the raid amounted to overkill and the leader of the Bangladeshi community has raised his concerns suggesting that some may “take the law into their own hands”. Recently-elected Muslim Council of Britain leader Muhammad Abdul Bari visited Forest Gate on Monday and urged police to give a "clear picture" of the operation [BBC]. A local Respect Party activist Yvonne Ridley has called on Muslims in east London to stop co-operating with police. Ms Ridley, who became a Muslim after being kidnapped by the Taleban in Afghanistan five years ago, has accused the police of being heavy-handed. "I don't think the Muslim community should communicate with the police any more until they start showing some respect to the community," she told the BBC. Besides having what the police say was “specific intelligence”, nothing has yet been found in the house connected to any form of terror attack. Prime Minister Tony Blair has meanwhile backed the police “101 percent” [BBC]. Mr Blair said it was essential the police took action if they received "reasonable" intelligence suggesting a terror attack. Reports in the UK press have been full of contradictions and salacious accusations. Sunday’s News of the World ran with a front page headline asserting that Abdul Kahar was shot by his own brother. Some reports suggested the device police were looking for was a ‘cyanide bomb’ whilst others suggested the device was set to disperse the lethal poison Anthrax, others that the device was to spray out Sarin. Both brothers maintain their innocence and have yet to be charged. Since 9/11 more than 1000 people have been arrested under the Terrorism Act, of which 121 have been charged and 23 so far convicted. On the other side of the Atlantic, Canadian authorities have arrested and charged 17 individuals in connection with a terror plot to blow up Canada’s parliament. The raids on Friday and Saturday, and involving 400 police officers, uncovered explosives and home-made detonators. One of the accused, a 25-year-old restaurant worker, is accused of planning to storm Parliament Hill, behead Prime Minister Stephen Harper, take hostages and behead them unless the group’s demands were met, according to his lawyer [Ottawa Citizen / Toronto StarPosted by Picasa

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