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Sunday, 27 January, 2002, 19:38 GMT
Terror suspect family 'baffled'
Mohammed Ikram Chowdhury
Friend Mr Chowdhury said the Rasools are "good people"
The family of one of two men from the West Midlands being held in Camp X-Ray in Cuba are said to be "baffled and bewildered" by his detention.

Safiq Rasool's parents from Tipton, told local MP Adrian Bailey they were "extremely shocked" to learn of their son's imprisonment.

The 24-year-old is being held alongside Asif Iqbal, 20, also from Tipton, at the maximum security prison at the US navy base in Cuba after being captured in Afghanistan.

Neighbours in Victoria Road have also expressed surprise at Mr Rasool's capture saying he was a normal man who liked a game of football on a Sunday afternoon.

'Good people'

Mohammed Ikram Chowdhury told BBC News 24 he was a friend of the Rasool family.

"They are very good people. They have got five children and they are all educated. They behave absolutely marvellously."

He said of Mr Rasool, a former law student: "He is not the sort of lad to be involved, he's never even held a rifle never mind fighting.

They are not Muslim fundamentalists

Adrian Bailey, MP
"God knows how he got there. I do not believe these allegations, they are absolutely wrong.

"I have spoken to his mother this morning and she is crying and it is making her sick."

Mr Bailey, the Labour MP for West Bromwich West, visited the Rasool family on Sunday.

He said the family wanted to make it clear they had no sympathies with al-Qaeda.

Speaking on BBC Radio WM, he said: "They gave their reactions to it and their concerns.

'Mainstream Muslim'

"The situation is that they are baffled and bewildered and obviously very upset by the situation.

"They are not Muslim fundamentalists.

"They are very representative of the mainstream Muslim opinion in the area and obviously they are finding it very difficult to cope with this particular situation."

Shopkeeper Stefan Khuttan, whose premises are just yards from the home of Mr Iqbal, laughed off suggestions that there was a Muslim fundamentalist group working in the area.

"There are a lot of young men around here who I think might be swayed by that sort of thing," he said.

"Asif was a respectful boy though, to his family. I do not believe he would have done something like this."

A third Briton, Feroz Abbasi, 22, from Croydon, south London, is also being held at the camp in Cuba.

See also:

27 Jan 02 | UK
Camp X-Ray Britons named
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