Westminster Terror Killer Was Public Contact Point for Extremist UK Mosque, Friend of Suicide Bomber
The Sunday Times has revealed that last month's Westminster terror killer, who murdered five and injured another forty-nine more victims, was a senior official at a known extremist hub, the Luton Islamic Centre.
This news comes as the fifth victim from the attack, 31-year old Romanian architect Andreea Cristea, died this past Thursday.
Cristea's name now joins the four other victims:
The Sunday Times reports that their killer, Khalid Masood, has been identified as the public contact point for the Luton Islamic Centre -- a hotspot for extremism in the UK associated with several prior terror plots. According to the Times:
The Westminster terrorist had a key role at a mosque that urges Muslims to take up weapons to gain “victory over the Jews and the rest of the enemies of Islam”.
Khalid Masood was a public contact person for calltoislam.com, the main website of the hardline Luton Islamic Centre mosque.
Masood’s name, a phone number that The Sunday Times has confirmed as his, and the calltoislam.com web address appear on stickers attached to leaflets on display at the mosque.
This is remarkable, since some UK media had reported that his former boss claimed he had no attraction to radical Islam:
However, the source of those claims reveals something interesting:
Westminster terrorist Khalid Masood was an “apolitical” man who showed no interest in radical Islam in the two years he lived in Luton, his former boss said.
Farasat Latif, a director at language school Elas UK where Masood worked between 2010 and summer 2012, said he knew Masood as a charming, friendly and professional employee who was open about getting his life back on track after a violent past [...]
Latif, a trustee of Luton Islamic Centre, said that during the time Masood worked with him, Latif was involved in confrontations with members of the radical Islamist group al Muhajiroun, on occasion driving them away from the street stalls they set up in Bury Park.
“He knew all of this and it went completely over his head, it didn’t interest him,” Latif said. “He must have come into contact with them, because they don’t stand there ... they will go up to you and they will be in your face, you can’t avoid them,” he said. “I remember he did once ask me about them, he said who are they.”
But he added: “Khalid was a middle-aged, middle-class, intelligent black man and these were young, highly unintelligent young Asians. There was no common ground between them. He was apolitical, they were politicised.”
So a mosque trustee for the Luton Islamic Centre assured us that Khalid Masood, who was also an official for the same mosque, was no extremist.
Further, this is not the first time Farasat Latif has spun a story after-the-fact about a former mosque attendee who turned to terror. In December 2010, former Luton Islamic Centre preacher Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, prematurely detonated a suicide bomb he was wearing while walking around a shopping area in Stockholm, Sweden -- the site of another terror attack this past Friday. He was the only one killed by his bomb. A will he left behind said he was conducting the attack in support of the Islamic State of Iraq, a precursor group to ISIS.
Mr. Latif went to the media back then to claim that al-Abdaly had been confronted by mosque leadership:
Farasat Latif, secretary of the Luton Islamic Centre, said the suicide bomber attended for a couple of months in 2006 or 2007.
He described how al-Abdaly was "bubbly" and "well-liked" but harboured increasingly radical and violent views.
Mr Latif said: "It was fed back to the committee of the mosque who explained that his ideas were incorrect. He seemed to accept it. We thought we had led him back to the truth.
"One day during morning prayers in the month of Ramadan -- there were about 100 people there -- the chairman of the mosque stood up and exposed him, warning against terrorism, suicide bombings and so on.
"He knew it was directed at him. He stormed out of the mosque and was never seen again."
Other Luton Islamic Centre leaders pitched several different versions of that story, including that they had thrown him out of the mosque:
But in fact he had been allowed to preach at the mosque. And it turns out that suicide bomber Abdaly was a close friend of Masood:
The Luton Islamic Centre itself has had no problem openly promoting extremist views:
The mosque has denounced UK government anti-terrorism efforts, joining with other Luton Islamic organizations just a few months ago to protest the Prevent program:
It does not appear that the Luton Islamic Centre invested as much time confronting extremism and radicalization under its own roof as it did confronting anti-terror efforts outside of it. Further, based on the evidence provided by The Sunday Times, the mosque has been actively promoting extremism and radicalization.
Having multiple terrorists involved in leadership in the same mosque will undoubtedly raise the thorny issue of mosque surveillance. In the wake of recent terror attacks, both France and Germany have closed extremist mosques.
Given the long record of extremism and terrorism coming from the Luton Islamic Centre, will the UK follow suit?