7/7 inquest: Leeds bomber ‘cut shop ties over scholar’

Mohammed Siddique Khan.
Mohammed Siddique Khan.
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July 7 ringleader Mohammed Sidique Khan cut his ties with an Islamic bookshop after it refused to stop stocking lectures by a preacher who condemned suicide bombings, an inquest heard today.

The terrorist ended his involvement in the Iqra Islamic bookshop in Beeston, Leeds, in protest at the continued sale of cassettes of sermons by scholar Hamza Yusuf.

Khan took offence at a lecture Mr Yusuf made after the September 11 2001 attacks on the United States in which he described suicide bombings as “un-Islamic”.

Tanweer Akhtar, who worked at the Iqra bookshop for five months from December 2003, told the inquest: “What I was told is that Sidique Khan didn’t like this particular scholar and didn’t like what he had said, and said we should stop selling his cassettes...

“So as far as I know they had a meeting about him and they decided that the cassettes should stay, that there was nothing wrong with the cassettes, nothing wrong with what the scholar was saying.

“But he (Khan) disagreed so far as I know, he left the bookshop and basically didn’t come back after that.”

The inquest into the 2005 London bombings also heard that the authorities took no steps to stop youth workers with extremist views from radicalising children.

Khan, 30, was employed by Leeds City Council as a youth worker and organised activities for youngsters at a mosque in Hardy Street, Leeds.

He later worked as a primary school learning mentor and tried to indoctrinate a pupil aged 11 or 12 by telling him people would “pay” for what they had done to Pakistan, the hearing has been told.

Shabaz Fazal, who also helped children at the Hardy Street mosque, said youth workers in Leeds were “left to their own devices” by the council.

The coroner, Lady Justice Hallett, asked him: “Have you ever been aware of any kind of steps by any authority to try to ensure that anybody of whatever faith of extremist views doesn’t indoctrinate the young people whose care they have?”

Mr Fazal replied: “Nothing, to be honest with you. I don’t think there was any involvement from the council or any authority.

“They were just left to their own devices.”

He added: “In terms of having extremist views, I don’t think there’s anything there to stop them, most definitely not.”

Mr Fazal said he stopped his community work after the July 7 suicide attacks on three Tube trains and a bus in London, in which 52 innocent people died.

“It was just like a turning point for me in my life,” he said.

“I had seen Sidique’s picture in the newspaper, I remember distinctly tears came to my eyes to think I’ve grown up with these people and it’s ended up that they have taken innocent lives.

“It was just shocking and it’s put me off youth work to be honest with you.”

Saphieh Ashtiany, the equality and employment lawyer

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