Police raid bookshop as residents call for trouble makers to be rooted out

By Louise Male BAFFLED residents watched as an Islamic bookshop in Beeston became the latest building raided by police investigating the London bombings.

Officers smashed open the door of the Iqra Learning Centre and book store with a battering ram before searching the premises.

The building, in Bude Road, is around the corner from the home of Shehzad Tanweer, who killed seven people in the Aldgate blast.

According to signs outside the shop, the centre provides not only Islamic literature but media services, youth activities, orphan sponsorship and seminars and presentations. The Iqra Trust is a charity with outlets worldwide.

The bookshop is only a few hundred yards from a former community centre, which has also been raided. The Hamara Centre in Lodge Lane, is a meeting place for young Muslims, including three brothers whose former home on Stratford Street has also been at the centre of intensive police activity.

It is understood that one of the brothers worked at the Iqra bookshop. One local, who only wished to be known as Arif, said: "The bookshop has absolutely nothing to do with terrorism. It is just a place where people go to meet, have a chat and read books. I don't know why the police had to do this but it will only inflame local people." On the bookshop's website, which is www.iqraleeds.org.uk, its mission statement includes the words "Islam is a peaceful religion which covers every area of life".

Peter Hutchinson, 58, lives opposite Iqra learning centre in Upper Wood Place. "We all live together here side by side no matter what religion.

"I feel sorry for some of my neighbours who are really shocked by what has happened in the Muslim community. They fear for what will happen but I don't believe there will be any trouble in Beeston."

Peter moved into the area four years ago and visited the Iqra Learning Centre to buy an English translation of the Quoran.

"I wanted to read it. I am a Catholic but I have an inquiring mind. I am fascinated by different cultures.

"The suicide bombers had no connection to what Islam is about."

One businessman in Beeston said: "There was obviously a black magic behind these boys somewhere. These acts were not carried out in the name of Islam."

There is talk of retribution and fears about reprisals in Beeston but most residents believe it is only outsiders who want to cause trouble.

"There are always going to be those few who want hassle," said one 19-year-old Beeston man. "There is talk about revenge attacks but we are a strong community and this just makes us want to pull together more."

On Tuesday, police raided the home of Shehzad Tanweer on Colwyn Road and a nearby property on Stratford Street. A house on Stratford Terrace has also been the site of forensic examination.

Several computer hard drives were removed from a disused community centre on Lodge Lane, Beeston. Bomb disposal experts entered the building on Thursday and forensic teams have been combing the site since.

Raymond Manners.

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