Stockholm bomber was thrown out of Luton mosque for trying to recruit extremists
The Stockholm bomber was thrown out of a mosque in Luton three years ago following a row over his extremist beliefs, it has emerged.
Taimur Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, 28, tried to recruit other Muslims to share his fanatical views when he was given a chance to preach at the Luton Islamic Centre.
Sources there said he then turned his attention to trying to recruit students by giving sermons at the Islamic Society of the University of Bedfordshire, of which he was a graduate.
On Saturday Abdulwahab set off a car bomb in a busy shopping street in Stockholm before blowing himself up, injuring two people.
Qadeer Baksh, chairman of the Luton Islamic Centre, also known as the Al Ghurabaa mosque, said the bomber believed Western governments had no right to involve themselves in Iraq or Afghanistan and urged others to "take matters into their own hands" because traditional mosques were not proactive enough.
Mr Baksh said: “He arrived at the mosque at the start of Ramadan [the Muslim holy month of fasting] in 2007.
"We hadn't seen him before but he was very nice, a gentle, bubbly character. People liked him and he was very helpful to them.
"He was like that for a couple of weeks and he was given the opportunity to preach.
"Some of the members brought it to my attention that his views were extreme so I challenged him
"It was all about Iraq and Afghanistan. He was saying that Western governments had no right to be there and how too many Muslims remained silent.
"He said we should be more proactive and take matters into our own hands but he never directly advocated violence.
"He said the leaders of Muslim nations had to take more action and said scholars here were working for the government.
"It was quite serious because some of the worshippers were starting to really listen to him.
"I talked to him and went through his arguments and countered all of them theologically and he accepted it. I thought that was the end of it but he carried on.
"So one day, before the end of Ramadan, when the mosque was full I directly challenged all his misinterpretations of Islam.
"He just stood up and stormed out. We never saw him again - but I heard he'd gone to the Islamic Society at the university and continued to preach his extremist views."
The mosque has been linked in the past to extremist groups including Al-Muhajiroun, the banned organisation which was headed by the firebrand cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed.
Mr Baksh said that the mosque remained vigilant against infiltration from organised extremist groups.
He said: "We removed them from our mosque. We are sick of them.
"We see them as problematic. They have a completely distorted view of Islam."
Meanwhile, it has also emerged that Abdulwahab sent a chilling audio recording in English shortly before the bombings warning his actions would "speak for themselves".
A man is heard describing the Islamic state as a "reality" in Europe and in Sweden.
He spoke hurriedly but calmly and quietly and cleared his voice several times during the message that lasted less than a minute.
The recording states: "Now the Islamic state has been created. We now exist here in Europe and in Sweden. We are a reality. I don't want to say more about this. Our actions will speak for themselves."
He added: "We are not a lie, or imagination. We are real."
He also referred to the depiction of the prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog in a 2007 cartoon by a Swedish artist which enraged many Muslims.
He said: "Stop your drawings of our prophet...No more oppression against Islam or Muslims will be tolerated in any way or by any means."
The bomber, who was due to turn 29 on Sunday, had a wife and three young children who still live in Luton. Neighbours said they had seen him in the town as little as two and a half weeks ago.
The former physical therapy student attended Bedfordshire University in Luton. He was born in Iraq and moved with his family to Sweden at the age of 11.