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: Should British Muslims and Asians apologise for terrorism?

A new BBC filmmaker, Amber Sofia Haque, asks members of the public whether British Muslims and Asians should apologise for terrorism.

Salma Yaqoob interviews Jeremy Corbyn on Palestine

Prominent British Muslim politician Salma Yaqoob interviews the frontrunner in the Labour Party leader contest Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn says Palestine must be recognised as a state and Israeli crimes against Palestinians must stop.

TED Talk: The FBI are creating terrorists, not catching them

There’s an organization responsible for more terrorism plots in the United States than al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab and ISIS combined: The FBI. How? Why? In an eye-opening talk, investigative journalist Trevor Aaronson reveals a disturbing FBI practice that breeds terrorist plots by exploiting Muslim-Americans with mental health problems.

Yasir Qadhi: Islam will always oppose homosexuality

Islamic scholar Dr Yasir Qadhi outlines the attitude that US Muslims  should adopt to homosexuality in the light of the legalisation of same-sex marriages across the entirety of the United States. He says that believing, practising Muslims will always oppose homosexuality on moral grounds and that will never change because [...]

University of Birmingham Quran among world’s oldest

A Qur’an manuscript held by the University of Birmingham’s Cadbury Research Library has been placed among the oldest in the world thanks to modern scientific methods. Radiocarbon analysis has dated the parchment on which the text is written to the period between AD 568 and 645 with 95.4% accuracy. The [...]

VIDEO: Guzzy Bear advises David Cameron on how to tackle extremism

Online comedian “Guzzy Bear” advises Prime Minister David Cameron on how to tackle extremism in response to his speech yesterday at a Birmingham school.

VIDEO: Dawah Man advises Muslim youth not to go shisha lounges on Eid

In an emotional plea outside a London shisha lounge, Imran ibn Mansur aka “Dawah Man” advises Muslim youth not to engage in vice and sinful acts on the day of Eid ul-Fitr after fasting in Ramadan.

David Cameron wishes Muslims happy Eid but can’t resist talking about terrorism

Prime Minister David Cameron’s Eid message to British Muslims where he briefly discusses charity, Srebrenica genocide and ISIS.

The Worst of the Worst: Portrait of a Supermax from Yale Visual Law Project on Vimeo.

Where were Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmad incarcerated?

On the one-year anniversary of the declaration of Talha Ahsan’s freedom, his brother Hamja publishes for the first time a letter to the House of Lords committee on extradition and an accompanying film. In doing so The Free Talha Ahsan campaign hopes to provide insights into the abusive Supermax prison [...]

VIDEO: Killer of 13 year old Samiul Rajon caught in Saudi Arabia

One of the killers of Samiul Rajon, a 13-year-old Bangladeshi boy, has been caught by Saudi authorities in the city of Jeddah. Thousands of people in Bangladesh are demanding justice for a Samiul who was beaten to death by a group of men who filmed themselves laughing and jeering as [...]

MEND, Myriad Foundation and #ShareRamadan community iftar

The “Share Iftar” community dinner organised by MEND, #ShareRamadan and the Myriad Foundation was attended by 400 people from a variety of backgrounds and faiths, who gathered to learn about Islam, Ramadan, the contribution of Islamic civilisation to the modern world, and the communal need to challenge Islamophobia in modern [...]

Video: Footballer Emmanuel Adebayor converts to Islam

The Togo and Tottenham Hotspur striker Emmanuel Adebayor has seemingly converted to Islam. A video is circulating on the internet where you can see Adebayor, 31, taking his shahada in a mosque apparently in Guinea. The news will come as a shock for many as the striker is known for [...]