Two men have been arrested by armed police on suspicion of a terror plot in Savile Town, a hardline Islamic enclave in Dewsbury, one of the UK’s most religiously segregated areas.
The men, aged 21 and 52, have been detained on suspicion of “being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism” and detained for questioning, counter-terror police said.
“The public may have heard loud bangs at the time police entered the properties,” the police statement added, explaining that the noises were linked to officers gaining entry.
The arrests were described as “pre-planned and part of a proactive, intelligence-led investigation by Counter Terrorism Policing North East”.
Around 10 Police officers have just gone into the house cordoned off in Savile Town to conduct a search. pic.twitter.com/8AyZb6DVrs
— Louise Cooper (@reporterlou) April 3, 2018
There has been a recent spate of anti-Muslim letters send out to Muslim areas of the UK including Dewsbury, and last month police announced a “full and thorough investigation” into the letters that seek “to cause fear and offence among our Muslim communities”.
West Yorkshire Police Superintendent Marianne Huison said after Tuesday’s raid: “I understand our local communities will have concerns about this morning’s police activity but I want to offer my reassurance that we will continue to serve and protect the public of West Yorkshire.
“We work very closely with our colleagues in CT Policing North East and with local partners and we will ensure we maintain these strong links in order to provide a high level of service and delivery to everyone in our community. Public safety is our utmost concern.”
— Hannah Miller (@hannahITV) April 3, 2018
Savile Town is around 98 per cent “Asian” and has been described as the most segregated area of Britain.
A Deobandi school of Islam that was founded in colonial India, specifically to oppose Western culture, dominates the town, and Mohammad Sidique Khan, the leader of the group responsible for the 7 July 2005 bombings in London, grew up in the area.
The town is home to the European headquarters of the ‘Army of Darkness’ Tablighi Jamaat, a radical Deobandi movement which has described its mission as to save Muslims from corrupting Western and Jewish culture.
Most recently, the group has been linked to a bomber who targeted New York City last year, the London bridge attacker, and the San Bernardino shooter who struck in 2015. Tablighi Jamaat denies extremism.