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Twenty-First Century Crusades?

                                              Story 7
    Prediction 1:
Continued tension and backlash against Muslims in Europe.

Britain's Muslims brace for backlash
By James Button Herald Correspondent in London and agencies

Britain's 1.6 million Muslims fear a backlash as terrorism specialists say a small number of British-born Muslims are likely to have taken part in the attacks that devastated London last week.

As the country's terrorism threat was raised to a level higher than after September 11, and police insisted another attack was possible, The Independent reported that police were investigating a list of 30 foreign- and British-born suspects for the bombings.
 

Mr Shadjareh said as many as seven mosques had been attacked - at least four by arsonists - since Thursday.


Pathologists at the temporary mortuary at London's Honourable Artillery Company are working to identify the dead, who may number as many as 80. An inquest was to begin yesterday into the first formally identified victim of the attacks, Susan Levy, 53, of Cuffley, Hertfordshire.

The manhunt is focusing on evidence from the bombed bus and Kings Cross station, which all three trains passed through eight minutes before they were bombed at 8.50am.

Police, who have largely discounted the possibility of suicide bombers, believe the terrorists met at Kings Cross - which raises the possibility that they arrived by mainline train from outside London - then boarded separate Underground trains.

"We need to find where these men were staying in the days before the attacks and where they collected the rucksack bombs," a senior anti-terrorist figure told The Times.

Muslim groups deplored comments by a former Scotland Yard chief, Lord Stevens, in a Sunday newspaper that the bombers were almost certainly British-born Muslims "totally aware of British life and values". Lord Stevens estimated that 3000 British-based Muslims had passed through terrorism training camps in Afghanistan.

The chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, Massoud Shadjareh, told the Herald that the former police chief had made "outrageous" claims that would be "music to the ears of groups that want to destroy the harmony of this society".

Mr Shadjareh said as many as seven mosques had been attacked - at least four by arsonists - since Thursday. While he praised the police and "99 per cent of the British people" for their support, he feared Muslims would be "the biggest losers from this episode". Because of that, "we are the ones who are least likely to have wished it".

At an emergency meeting of European Union interior ministers tomorrow, the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, will try to persuade ministers to force telephone companies to keep all phone and email records for up to a year, create an EU database of stolen weapons and explosives and share airline passenger information among states.

Mr Clarke said a crackdown on acts "preparatory to terrorism" would be part of new legislation to be introduced this year. The Opposition Leader, Michael Howard, urged the Government not be panicked into draconian legislation.

While Britain has passed aggressive anti-terrorism measures in recent years, allies have been frustrated by the country's seeming inability to detain or extradite alleged Islamic extremists.

Spanish officials wanting to extradite from Britain the cleric known as Abu Qatada - described by one Spanish judge as al-Qaeda's spiritual leader in Europe - have accused Britain of failing to assist in the extradition.

In the United States, many officials praise Britain's co-operation in pursuing alleged terrorists but describe London as a haven for extremists.

A man who had been named as a suspect, Moroccan-born Mohammed al-Gerbouzi, told The Guardian he had never been involved in terrorism and condemned the attack. He was not, as had been reported, on the run.

Mr Gerbouzi, 48, said he was living in London and had rung a local police station on Saturday to report his whereabouts but was put on hold for so long he finally put the phone down.
 

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