Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hunted in Bangladesh, Suspect in Britain

Hunted in Bangladesh... the terror suspect freed twice by courts in Britain
By Fay Schlesinger
Source: Mail On-line
March 26, 2009

Faisal Mostafa, pictured in 2002, is facing allegations that his orphanage was in fact an arms factory and terrorist training camp

A British charity worker twice cleared of terror charges in this country is being hunted in Bangladesh after explosives were seized at an orphanage he founded.

Security forces there claimed last night that the orphanage set up by Dr Faisal Mostafa, from Stockport, was in fact an arms factory and terrorist training camp.

Mostafa ran Green Crescent, a charity that provided humanitarian aid to families in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The Charity Commission, which awarded it charity status in 2004, last night launched an inquiry. Its chief executive, Andrew Hind, said: 'The matter is of serious concern to us.'

Mostafa, who has a PhD in chemistry from Manchester Polytechnic, was known to security forces in Britain, having been cleared of conspiracy to cause explosions with intent to endanger life at Birmingham Crown Court in 2002.

Six years earlier, he had been cleared at Manchester Crown Court of involvement in a bomb plot campaign.

In July last year he was caught at Manchester Airport trying to board a plane to Bangladesh with a pistol and bullet parts in his luggage.

The father-of-three was given a suspended sentence. On Monday Bangladeshi security forces raided the orphanage Mostafa set up and the attached Muslim school on the remote island of Bhola in South Bangladesh.

Lieutenant Colonel Munir Haque, from the Rapid Action Battalion, said: 'We found small arms - about nine or 10 in total - plus equipment to make small arms, about 3,000 rounds of ammunition, two walkie-talkies, two remote control devices and four sets of army uniforms.

'We also found enough explosives and other equipment to make several hundred grenades. We found some ordinary Islamic books, but others that are in line with extremists like Bin Laden.'

He said there were 11 children between the ages of 7 and 8 at the compound.

A teacher and three caretakers were arrested but Mostafa, who is in his mid-40s, was not there.

Police in Bangladesh said they were searching for him.

K M Mamunur Rashid, another officer in the raid, said: 'It is a big Madrassa and we have so far gathered that this whole compound is being used for militant training.'

Mostafa's father, speaking from his home in Stockport, last night strongly denied that his son had any involvement in terrorism. The 73-year-old, who did not want to be named, said: 'This is all an exaggeration.

'He just wants to help children. He is a British citizen and has been in this country since 1969.'

Green Crescent, set up in 1998, last year had an income of £63,000 for 'long-term educational and health projects'.

Saeed Mahmood, of Stockport-based charity Human Appeal International, said: 'Faisal comes in every few months about mainland projects in Bangladesh. We only work with organisations that are registered with the Charity Commission so we had no idea about these allegations.'

A spokesman for counter-terrorism think-tank Quilliam Foundation said: 'If Green Crescent has been involved in militant activity, this will reflect very poorly on the Charity Commission, particularly given that Mostafa, the head of the charity, had previously been put on trial twice for terrorist offences.

'Ineffectiveness by the Charity Commission in identifying and tackling extremist charities leads to the British taxpayer directly subsiding militancy.'

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