On Friday 15 July police descended on the Iqra Learning Centre, an Islamic bookshop in Beeston, Leeds. They battered the door down and sealed the shop off, arresting one man who worked there under anti-terrorism laws.
The press was soon full of lurid stories about how the shop was a “unassuming front” used to “recruit youngsters and fill them with anti-West messages”. The Daily Mirror, citing unnamed “insiders”, declared that it was a “bookshop of hate”.
Local people say Iqra is a respected community bookstore, that the “anti-Western” material seized by police was in fact anti-war literature, and that the suspected 7 July bombers have had no links to the shop for several years.
Mohammed Afzal works as a volunteer at Iqra. “They’ve raided a family bookshop, slap bang in the middle of Beeston, and taken anti-war material away,” he told Socialist Worker.
“The police are trying to make out that the material they took was ‘anti-Western’. But there’s nothing like that there. It’s things like Stop the War leaflets and DVDs of George Galloway at the US senate.”