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Last Updated: Monday, 17 September 2007, 15:25 GMT 16:25 UK
Praise for town's terror response
Alva arrest scene
The operation put tiny Alva under the spotlight
Police and community leaders have praised people in Alva for their response to the Mohammed Atif Siddique terror trial.

The former mining town came under the spotlight after it became the unlikely focus for a major police operation.

In April 2006 the peace was shattered when officers arrested the young Muslim at his home.

Central Scotland Police Assistant Chief Constable Maureen Brown said local people had kept things in perspective.

Local leaders have also moved to reassure minority groups in the area.

Ms Brown said the case showed the threat of terrorism was not just a problem for England's major cities.

I wish to make absolutely clear at the outset that this investigation has only ever been about one thing - criminality
ACC Maureen Brown
Assistant chief constable

She said the investigation had led to a challenging time for the local community in Central Scotland and Alva and there have been difficult issues to discuss.

"I wish to make absolutely clear at the outset that this investigation has only ever been about one thing - criminality," Ms Brown said.

"It was not about communities or a particular faith."

She added that officers had provided reassurance and appropriate levels of information to the community about the case.

The force used community contact officers at local mosques which it claims helped the understanding shown for the police inquiry and the minority ethnic community.

Ms Brown said: "We have also maintained a dialogue with the Siddique family through a number of channels."

Supt Andrew Price, the area commander for Clackmannanshire, moved to reassure ethnic minority groups in the area in the wake of the verdict.

'Diverse community'

"Central Scotland Police and the community of Clackmannanshire will not tolerate intolerance towards any member of the public because of race or religion," he said.

"Clackmannanshire is vibrant, close-knit and a diverse community, it is not a sprawling urban environment which might be considered by some to provide a more likely background to a case such as this."

Mohammed Azad, chairman of the Central Scotland Islamic Centre, attended by Siddique, said he hoped the outcome of this case would not have a bad effect on the local Muslim community.

"I think people understand that this kind of thing is rare and is not representative of the Muslim community," he said.

"Since 9/11 we have been working to educate our youngsters during ceremonies that terrorism is against Islam and making sure that they understand that."

Gordon Banks, MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, said that apart from a few "odd little incidents" in the weeks following Siddique's arrest, there had been a reasonably mature approach to the situation.

He said: "I would hope to the benefit of Mr Siddique's family that the community in Alva and Clackmannanshire can continue to work with the Muslim community that exists.

"The very fact that Mr Siddique's father runs a shop in the village, we've got to try and ensure that guilt is where guilt is.

"If Atif Siddique has been found guilty of things, that does not mean that anyone else in that family is guilty of anything."


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