A Crawley Muslim leader has described how a man believed to have carried out a suicide bombing in Syria had been opposed to his group’s pursuit of peace.
Ahsan Ahmedi, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, based in Langley Green, Crawley, spoke as police and anti-terrorism officers searched a house in Martyrs Avenue this morning (Wednesday February 12).
Mr Ahmedi said: “I didn’t know him personally but I met him a couple of times because when we did a promotion of our faith, he used to come out with his friends to oppose our view because we were too liberal for him.
“We are anti jihad and are about promoting peace.
“We believe in the Messiah but they were opposed to that.
“It was all theological arguments with them.”
Mr Ahmedi said he was “extremely upset” when he heard the man, reported to have been named by an al-Qaeda-linked rebel group as Abu Suleiman al-Britani, was believed to have links with Crawley.
He added: “I think the name of Crawley has been maligned and the name of Islam has been maligned.
“My feeling is Crawley is a such a tolerant community. We live in peace with each other and the actions of individuals with radical thoughts is wrong and not Islamic.”
Mr Ahmedi added: “The message is simply that Islam is a religion of peace.
“Anyone who does not act in a peaceful manner should question whether he is representing Islam, because the Islam I know if one about promoting peace.
“It’s important as Muslims to make sure our neighbours are at peace with us, our town is at peace and we should do everything we can to promote peace.”