A LEADER of a mosque firebombed by extremists fears the same will happen in Swindon if the controversial Islam4UK march goes ahead.

Farasat Latif, 40, who ran the Masjid Al Ghurabaa in Luton, says officials should ban any demonstration by Islamic fundamentalists Al-Muhajiroon so Swindon and Wootton Bassett Muslims are not targeted by right-wing and racist extremists.

Mr Latif, of the Call to Islam Centre in Luton, will join Muslims in Wootton Bassett for a counter-protest against the march which Islam4UK leader Anjem Choudary claims will honour the Muslims “murdered” in Afghanistan.

Mr Latif said: “The irony here is that Anjem Choudary is abusing the very rights Britain has afforded him in order to carry out this protest. If he did this in Afghanistan he’d most likely end up in prison or dead. If he doesn’t like this country he should go home.”

Mr Latif condemned Islam4UK, a platform for Al-Muhajiroon, in March last year when members turned out in Luton to protest as 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment paraded on their return from Iraq.

He said: “Not long after that, our mosque was firebombed. I feel that people saw what Al-Muhajiroon did that day and thought they were acting for local Muslims. In my mind that group has never practised the genuine teachings of Islam and they don’t speak for the majority of British Muslims.

“Instead they fuel misconceptions about our way of life and make honourable Muslims targets for those who feel we are responsible for the actions of this extremist group.

“After the protest in Luton we received death threats, even though we openly condemned Al-Muhajiroon.”

Mr Latif said of Mr Choudary: “He claims he is a Muslim cleric but I don’t recognise him. That’s like saying a member of the National Front is a bishop.”

He said: “Islam is about peace and respect, neither of which will come from this action. This is Britain and British people have a right to grieve for their war dead without this insult.

“Yes, many in Afghanistan have died and we grieve for them but through prayer as is taught in Islam. This is a political statement and Wootton Bassett is not the town for political statements.”

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