Mohammed Naseem, Birmingham's most prominent Muslim leader, claimed yesterday there was nothing to prove Muslims carried out bomb attacks in London on July 7 and 21.
The comments of the chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque are surprising given the wealth of evidence, including DNA matches and CCTV images, linking at least eight young Muslim men to the outrages.
However, his views are held by a significant number of British Muslims. Some blame the US and Israel for terrorist attacks such as September 11, revealing a deep distrust of the British authorities.
Mr Naseem denied there was any convincing evidence the September 11 attacks on New York had been carried out by the al-Qaeda terrorist organisation. He said: “Muslims across the world know of no organisation called al-Qaeda. That information comes from the CIA.”
Mr Naseem, who represents a congregation of several thousand, was speaking in Bordesley Green close to the scene of yesterday's police anti-terrorism operation. Asked whether he believed Muslim terrorists attacked London on July 7 and 21, he said: “I have not seen the evidence for that.” He said: “All we have is CCTV camera photos, identity cards and driving licences. These could have been innocent men.”
Talib Hussain, a representative of Birmingham council who was also present, said: “Certain faith groups have been identified as being behind [the bombings] and that is wrong.” Mr Naseem said Muslims had lost faith in anti-terrorist police and the security services.