Telegraph : Father of terror suspect accuses Britain of discrimination

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Father of terror suspect accuses Britain of discrimination

The father of a suspect in the alleged Easter bomb plot to blow up shopping centres claimed his son is a victim of discrimination in Britain.

By Nick Allen, Duncan Gardham and Isambard Wilkinson | April 14, 2009

Abid Naseer, 23, is among 11 men still being questioned after a series of police raids in Manchester and Liverpool last week. Ten of the suspects are Pakistani nationals

His father Nasrullah Jan Khattak said: “My son prays five times a day and his only fault is that he has a beard. His only sin is that he is Muslim and Pakistani.

“I'm astonished how they could think that Abid has links with militant or terrorist groups. We are never involved in such activities. We only think about education and prayers and fasting and that's it.

“Ours is a religious-minded family but this doesn't mean that my son is part of a terrorist cell. He is peaceful, religious-minded and cricket-loving person.”

Mr Khattak, a contractor for the Pakistan government, was speaking at his home in Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province.

The Daily Telegraph understands that at least five of those being questioned are from the North-West Frontier Province, close to the Afghan border.

It is also understood that four of the suspects – Abid Naseer, Janas Khan, Umar Farooq and Hamza Shinwari - worked as security guards.

Mr Khattak said his son studied at the Islamia College in Peshawar before going to the UK on a student visa two-and-a-half years ago. The visa was due to expire in September this year.

He was studying for a master’s degree in information technology at Bradford Professional Study College, based in Manchester.

The college is based in a suite of offices on the top floor of a Manchester business park.

College spokesman Syed Naqui told the Daily Telegraph: “This is a genuine college. If anyone applies for one of our courses we check their passport, their qualifications and their right to be in this country. If they meet all our requirements we enroll them.”

The North West counter terrorism unit are still searching 10 properties in Liverpool, the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester, and in Clitheroe, Lancashire.

They have not found any explosives or identified a clear target for the alleged bomb plot.

Officers have found images of Manchester’s Arndale and Trafford shopping centres, the Birdcage nightclub and St Ann's Square, it is understood. One man, aged 18, has been released into the hands of immigration officials and will be deported.

In Pakistan Khan Mohammad Burki, whose son Abdul Wahab is one of those still being questioned, said: “This is nothing but discrimination. My son has been detained on mere suspicion as the police have no proof against him."

Haji Hazrat Ali said his son Mohammad Ramzan, 25, traveled to Britain in 2006 and was studying for an masters in business administration when he was arrested.

Mr Ali said "He is a very humble, gentle boy and always concentrates on his studies. I firmly believe he simply cannot be involved in any negative activity."