Source AP ©

British police arrest 6 suspected of inciting terrorism

Six people suspected of raising funds for terrorism and inciting others to commit terrorist acts overseas were arrested be British anti-terrorist police on Tuesday.

Abu Izzadeen, an outspoken Islamic activist who heckled Home Secretary John Reid on live television last year, was among those arrested, said Anjem Choudary, the former leader of the militant group al-Ghurabaa.

Police would not confirm Izzadeen was one of the men arrested in five raids in London and one in Luton, northwest of London. Police said the six, who range in age from 21 to 35, were being held at an unnamed central London police station under the Terrorism Act.

Police said they were still conducting searches.

"The arrests form part of a long-term pro-active and complex investigation into alleged incitement and radicalization for the purposes of terrorism, as well as alleged provision of financial support for international terrorism," a police spokesman said on condition of anonymity in line with force policy.

Choudary said Izzadeen - a former spokesman for his group which was outlawed in July - and the others were arrested between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. (0400GMT-0500GMT) for fundraising activities in November 2004.

Choudary said all were innocent.

"People collect a lot of money for orphans and widows at Ramadan, but we know Muslims are guilty until they can prove themselves innocent," he said.

Izzadeen already faces charges of encouraging terrorism after he was arrested in February and released on bail.

The earlier charges relate to a speech he gave in Birmingham last year, where he allegedly praised the suicide bombers behind the July 7, 2005, London transit attacks that killed 52 commuters.

The former electrician, who is also known as Omar Brooks, was born into a Christian Jamaican family in east London, where he lives with his wife and three children. He converted to Islam when he was 17.

The curtains were drawn at Izzadeen's home on Tuesday as plainclothes police searched inside and outside.

Neighbors said police activity was a regular occurrence at the house.

"I see him, I don't talk to him. He looks down his nose at everyone. He doesn't mix with anyone," said neighbor Natalie Hayes, 36.

She said he once ordered a neighbor to take down her Christmas lights. "She said 'No' and put more up," Hayes said.

Izzadeen gained national notoriety when he interrupted a meeting Reid called last year to ask Muslim parents to watch for signs that extremists were brainwashing their children. Izzadeen called Reid "an enemy of Islam" and "a tyrant."

In a 2005 British Broadcasting Corp. television interview, he said the July 7 bombings were a consequence of Britain's refusal to accept a cease-fire offer from Osama bin Laden.

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