A Monkey's Revenge - My Blog

Religion and clementines

A muslim worshiper leaving The Islamic Centre Mosque

God's light fell on me this week, along with several centimetres of snow at Luton in Bedfordshire.I was there to illustrate a background piece on the story about Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, the radicalised muslim from Luton who died attempting to become a suicide bomber in Sweden.

Like the clementines I bought from a shop in Bury Park, scratch the surface of any religion and you will find all kinds of things.From bitter pith to sweet juice, all religions have their own ways and one common failing-they are open to different interpretation by people.

In Bury Park's Islamic Centre Mosque I was initially met with suspicion. Abdaly worshipped there until he stormed out one day and never returned. His radical views had been repeatedly challenged by others at the mosque, although they had no idea he would go on to try and commit mass murder. Why Sweden? It appears Abdaly had lived there and was against Swedish troops being part of the international force in Afghanistan and also cartoons by Swedish artist Lars Vilks depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Understandably the majority of muslims in Luton are sick to the teeth of journalists and photographers descending on their town. Inaccurate reporting portraying them all as radical extremists has made them very wary, so I was lucky when Qadeer Baksh, chairman of Luton Islamic centre and the secretary, Farasat Latif, agreed to let me take photos inside the mosque during friday prayers.

A much more hostile reception awaited me on the street when I met former members of the Al-Muhajiroun group who were handing out leaflets. I felt glad to be out in public with CCTV cameras watching everything as it was clear my presence wasn't exactly welcome!

A french photographer with Journal du Dimanche outside The Islamic Centre Mosque in Luton.

This site uses cookies to provide and improve the service. If you wish, you can switch off all unnecessary cookies.