Lutonians unite against common enemies, the likes of BNP and the EDL

Lutonians unite against common enemies, the likes of BNP and the EDL

The Muslim gangs of Luton

Posted by

Dilly Hussain, who was born and bred in Luton’s little neighbour Bedford, investigates how the Muslim gangs of Luton perform a dual role – that of protecting the community and committing organized crime.  

Luton is one place that in recent times has not fallen short of media controversy, that’s not to say that it hadn’t previously. For a town 30 miles north of London, it would be fair to say that Luton has the same distinct socio-economic dilemmas as that of any other major city in the UK. But you can go to any Muslim populated area in Britain and I assure you, everyone has heard about Luton, or more specifically Bury Park.

Luton has historically been famous for two things – the mass production of hats and the home of Vauxhall motors. With a population of 203,000 it has one of the fastest growing populations for a town in Britain.

It also has a Muslim population of 50,000 (24.6%) and an Asian population of 61,000 (30%). One in three Lutonians are Asian and one in four is Muslim. The largest ethnic group of Muslims are from the Pakistan side of Kashmir, known as Azhad Jammu Kashmir then followed by Bangladeshis.

History of violence

Luton first came to the media limelight when Millwall FC played Luton Town FC at Kenilworth Road in 1985 FA Cup quarter finals.

The infamous hooligan element of Millwall’s fan base started a riot which consequently led to a pitch invasion. The game was stopped after 14 minutes of play and the referee took both teams off for 25 minutes.

When the referee blew the final whistle, the pitch was invaded again. Over 700 seats were ripped out of the stands. Outside the stadium in the surrounding streets, the riots and brawls continued, leaving hundreds and thousands of pounds damage to properties as a result of sheer mob madness which involved molotov cocktails and mindless acts of vandalism.

As a result, a ban was enforced on away fans by Luton Town, which resulted in Luton’s expulsion from the League Cup.

Violence and extremism

In recent times, with the police authorities knuckling down on football hooligans and the ever expanding enterprise of narcotics, Luton has entered a new era of violence and extremism.

With gang related shootings in Marsh Farm to Islamic “extremists” from Bury Park protesting the homecoming parade of British troops, once again Luton has been placed in the attention of the British public.

In 2009, around 50 Muslims belonging to “Muslims Against Crusades” (MAC), another Al Muhajiroun brand name protested against the homecoming parade of the Royal Anglican regiment. Not only did this anger local non-Muslims, but a national outrage towards Muslims for protesting against British foreign policy in such a way was fanned by the mainstream media.

However, from a Muslim perspective, putting aside the acts of a few that doesn’t represent the majority, many Muslims in the south east still send their children to madrassas and Islamic schools in Luton.

With a wide variety of Muslim groups present in Bury Park including Salafis, Sufis, Brehlvis, Deobandis, Hizb ut-Tahrir and of course Al Muhajiroun, why is Luton still infamously renowned for its Kashmiri gangs?

Community protectors

Most African Caribbean and Asian communities in Britain formed as a result of economic migration post World War Two, and many faced racism from their white English hosts. During the 1960s and 1970s, it would not be a good idea for a coloured person to be walking alone outside the perimeters of their community for fear of being harassed by the police or attacked by racists.

So it became a common trend that young men, usually first generation British born or those who came from Pakistan or Bangladesh at a very young age, grouped together as “protectors” of their areas against racists.

In the case of Luton, once the Muslim area of Bury Park was safeguarded from racists, the gangs that initially started as “vanguards” of the community spread their tentacles out of their respective areas and inevitably got involved with drugs, violence and criminality.

By the late 1980’s, it was a well established fact that Bury Park was no longer an open field for white racists to wreak havoc, usually affiliated with the Luton Town FC hooligans the “Bolts” and “MIGs”. Many of the Kashmiri “protectors” now took the fight to the white hooligans.

After endless pub brawls and bloody encounters at night clubs between Kashmiris, African Caribbean and white hooligans, the former emerged as the key player on the streets of Luton.

Gangs of Bury Park

By the 1990’s, gangs of Bury Park had been formed. The Reds of the Raja tribe, the Yellows of the Choudary and Jat tribes, the Gambinos, the Khans, the Ghafours, the Khwajas, all had a stake in the narcotics enterprise of Luton.

Instead of fighting outsiders against racist attacks which was no longer existent, these gangs and crime families began fighting each other, forming alliances and engaging in drug wars. This was also exploited by the strong tribal culture of Kashmiris, whereby the tribe was everything, which was also well engrained in mosque politics and feuds.

A senior affiliate of the Yellow gang told me: “It would be true to say that Kashmiris got involved in the drug trade after there was no requirement in protecting Bury Park.

“But, that doesn’t mean, if the EDL or any other groups ever thought about entering Bury Park or any Muslim community in Luton to cause trouble, that we wouldn’t go back to our root principles in protecting the people.”

A member of the Gambinos, who took their name after the infamous Sicilian crime family of New York said: “Getting involved in drugs was part and parcel of how things are on the streets.

“You look at every big city in Britain, Bradford, Birmingham, East London, Asians or Muslims start by protecting their areas and then get involved in narcotics cos usually by that time a lot of these guys have spent time in jail for violence before the era of drugs.”

When I asked a reformed member of the Khwaja family, why organized crime was so rampant in an area where so many mosques and Islamic groups have a presence, he said: “You could say the same about any other big city with a large Muslim population.

“Don’t blame Islam for not being able to tackle gangsterism, blame the culture that is fed down our throats. Money, cars, women, you can’t escape it even if you wanted to.

“I blame the thoughts and concepts of this society. Alhamdulillah, the different Muslim groups that are present in Bury Park and Luton do a great job with senior gang members and the youth. But those who are still involved in the life of crime, it comes down to their personal whims and desires which is fuelled by the values of western society, not Islam’s inability to address it.”

All interviewees wished to remain anonymous for their personal safety and legal reasons

You can follow Dilly Hussain on Twitter @DillyHussain88

Sources
5 Pillarz

 

Tags

Facebook Comments

comments

Video Player

VIDEO: 3 reasons why Muslims are angry about the CTS Bill

In this short video, Raza Nadim of MPACUK gives three reasons why Muslims are angry about the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill. 

Desperate Gazans rush to cross border into Egypt

The border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip reopened for three days last week at the request of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. But only

VIDEO: Asim Qureshi on the CTS Bill #StopTheBill

In this video, Research Director for Cage, Asim Qureshi, briefly explains the dangers posed by the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill if it becomes l

VIDEO: Shaykh Shams Ad Duha’s khutbah on the CTS Bill

Shaykh Shams Ad Duha of Ebrahim College discusses the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, and what it means for British Muslims. Shaykh Shams Ad Duha

VIDEO: Freedom of speech and Islam? #DontHateDebate

This short documentary is part of the Islamic Education & Research Academy’s (iERA) new campaign ‘Don’t Hate, Debate!’ in

VIDEO: Speaking to French people about #ChalieHebdo cartoons

Imran ibn Mansur aka ‘Dawah Man’ speaks to French people and their views on Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (saw).

Islamophobia Awards 2015: Get voting!

Centred around a gala dinner, the Islamophobia Awards have both a light-hearted and a serious side – to be entertaining and to raise awareness o

A satirical video commentary on the BBC’s “British Islam” Panorama – Part 2

Ibrahim Khan satirically dissects the recent BBC Panorama programme on the “need to reform” British Islam. Khan argues that the programme was Isla

A satirical video commentary on the BBC’s “British Islam” Panorama – Part 1

Ibrahim Khan satirically dissects the recent BBC Panorama programme on the “need to reform” British Islam. Khan argues that the programme

Jummah prayers held in Nottingham for Charlie Hebdo victims

Worshippers gathered at The Karima Centre Mosque in Nottingham for Jummah led by Imam Dr Musharraf Hussain to mourn for the victims who died in Paris

VIDEO: Ali Dawah’s ‘apology experiment’

Ali Dawah and Imran ibn Mansur (Dawah Man) hit the streets of London with their ‘apology experiment’ in response to Rupert Murdoch’s

Idiot Fox News pundit says Birmingham is “totally Muslim”

A self-proclaimed terrorism expert who told Fox News that Birmingham was a “totally Muslim” city where “non-Muslims just simply don’t go” ha

VIDEO: 5 times France really cared about #FreedomOfSpeech

A video collage showing five examples of France’s hypocrisy and double standards when it comes to freedom of speech. This video was made by Raza

Uthman Badar: “God and Prophets should be protected from insult”

In light of the Charlie Hebdo inc, and the ongoing debate on freedom of speech and the ‘right to offend’, this is Uthman Badar’s ope

Attackers shout “Allahu Akbar” during Charlie Hebdo assault

Videos are emerging of the deadly Charlie Hebdo attack which killed 11 people in Paris earlier today. This video shows the black-hooded attackers shou

Dilly Hussain on RT News: Spying on Muslim toddlers is an “absolute joke”

Deputy editor of 5Pillars, Dilly Hussain discusses the Home Office’s expectation of nursery teachers to report Muslim toddlers for terrorist and

VIDEO: Interview with Omar Regan on ‘American Sharia’ movie

Penny Appeal, the Muslim charity that is hosting the “American Sharia” UK tour speak to Omar Regan, the lead actor of the new action-comed

VIDEO: Activist Laura Stuart reflects on her Mavi Marmara experience

The name “Mavi Marmara” is known to millions around the world because of the heroism of ordinary civilians in resisting the supposedly “elit

PROMO: Criminalising Islam series on Iqra TV

The trailer to the upcoming ‘Criminalising Islam’ series on Iqra TV, which include lectures delivered by deputy editor of 5Pillars Dilly H

Penny Appeal presents Muslim “Halalywood” film “American Sharia”

This is the trailer to the first Muslim action-comedy film, “American Sharia” presented by Penny Appeal. Numerous prominent Muslim persona

VIDEO: Frankie Boyle explains why he supports Shaker Aamer campaign

Comedian and writer, Sara Pascoe speaks to Frankie Boyle outside Parliament about his reasons for supporting the campaign for Shaker Aamer’s rel

VIDEO: Sheikh Abdullah Bukhari shot dead in Istandbul

Security camera footage showing the moment a prominent Uzbek scholar was killed in Istanbul. Sheikh Abdullah Bukhari is believed to have been assassin

VIDEO: True Story behind Team Adam Saleh and Dawah Men “beef”

Over the past week, there has been a heated war embroiling on social media between a controversial American YouTuber and London-based “Dawah men”.

Nouman Ali Khan’s khutbah on Pharaoh and Peshawar school attack

Nouman Ali Khan draws comparisons between the story of Musa (as) and Pharaoh in light of the Peshawar school massacre.  This khutbah was delivered on