Muslim groups in the town where the Stockholm suicide bomber lived have been handed more than £550,000 of taxpayers’ money to combat extremism but have failed to tip off police about a single terror suspect.
The grants were handed out to mosques, schools and women’s projects by Luton council to prevent young Muslims being radicalised.
Under the Home Office’s Preventing Violent Extremism scheme, Islamic organisations are given money to stop members turning to violence. The groups are urged to reveal the names of those likely to commit violent crimes so they can be put on an ‘at-risk’ list by police.
But the Daily Mail has learnt that – despite £554,000 being given to groups in Luton since 2008 – not a single name has been handed over.
It comes as the PVE scheme has been put under review by the Government for being ineffective after it was revealed a huge amount of the money simply went to sports and arts groups.
The Luton Islamic Centre, where Taimour Abdulwahab Al-Abdaly preached before being banned, refused to sign up as leaders did not want to inform on their ‘Muslim brothers and sisters’.
Iraq-born Al-Abdaly studied in Luton for several years and became obsessed with extremism while in the UK. He blew up his car then himself in Stockholm last Saturday, the day before his 29th birthday. Swedish authorities said he ‘missed causing a catastrophe by minutes’.
Islamic Centre chairman Qadeer Baksh said: ‘The reason we didn’t take the Government money for the Preventing Violent Extremism scheme is that it requires us to inform on fellow Muslims.
Firefighting: The car blown up in the centre of Stockholm by Al-Abdaly
‘If we had taken the money our members would have seen us as working for the Government. The young men with radical views would not have listened to us.
‘I have never called the police or authorities on anyone.’
The PVE scheme was set up by then Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly in 2007, with most of the recipients of its £86million fund being from traditional Labour areas such as Birmingham, East London and West Yorkshire.
It was revealed last year that £129,000 had been awarded to a theatre company, £79,000 for sports coaching, £20,000 for fashion courses and £20,000 to art workshops in areas with large Muslim communities.
The Luton Islamic Centre in the Bury Park area of the town where police were searching a property as part of a probe into the suicide car bombing in Sweden
Matthew Sinclair, director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said the Government should focus on tackling terrorism directly rather than wasting money on community groups.
He added: ‘It’s shocking that the PVE grants given out in Luton seem to have achieved such poor results.’
Security minister Baroness Neville-Jones said that under the review the scheme should focus money on people who are at risk of extremism, such as Al-Abdaly, rather than sports groups.
A Luton Borough Council spokesman said: ‘The funding has been allocated against areas of work for women’s inclusion, working with local schools, project work with further and higher education and projects to work with vulnerable individuals.
‘All organisations funded are based in Luton and have a history of either community or youth development work.
‘Information acquired that relates to issues such as child protection, or a clear and present danger to community safety or national security, will supersede any confidentiality requirement.
‘No such issue has been identified.’