Page last updated at 08:01 GMT, Tuesday, 22 April 2008 09:01 UK

Muslims 'raised terror concern'

Andrew Ibrahim
Mr Ibrahim told his friends he had turned his life around

The arrest of a Bristol student on suspicion of terrorism came from a tip-off within the Muslim community itself, it has emerged.

Three controlled explosions have been carried out at the Westbury-on-Trym home of Andrew Ibrahim.

Muslim leaders were concerned about the effect of the 19-year-old's arrest last Thursday on community relations.

But Farooq Siddique said it was reassuring to learn suspicions had been raised by local Muslims themselves.

"I think that does a lot to reassure the wider community," he said.

"One of my biggest concerns, as this story was unfolding, was the serious blow to community relations, the mistrust that people would have of the Muslim community.

"But the fact that I know now the information, the community intelligence, has actually come from the community itself, I think that's a source of pride and a source of reassurance to the rest of the city."

Islam was a personal thing, to disconnect from an earlier stage of his life
Joe Groves, friend

New direction

It is understood that after school in Bristol, Mr Ibrahim spent time in a hostel and worked as a Big Issue seller.

He later enrolled at City of Bristol College where fellow students said they noticed his change in character as he converted to Islam.

He told friends he had turned his life around.

"He converted to a Muslim about three or four months ago," said Josh Walker.

"Noticeably his dress changed, he grew a beard, that kind of thing. He stayed the same kind of person, it's just his dress changed.

Another friend, Joe Groves, said: "Islam was a personal thing, to disconnect from an earlier stage of his life, I think, to find a new kind of direction."

On Monday, all but one of the 30 residents who had to leave their homes in Comb Paddock while the blasts were carried out, had returned.

Forensic science teams are still working at Mr Ibrahim's flat.


SEE ALSO
Residents 'shocked' after arrest
18 Apr 08 |  Bristol/Somerset

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