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UK terror suspect turned radical after Pak visit

Officials say Shazad Khuramali, 26, had gone to Pakistan and come back with a lot of money, enough to buy a 300,000 pound bungalow.

india Updated: Aug 11, 2006 12:41 IST

Following Thursday's foiled terror attempt at London's Heathrow airport, investigating officers have learnt that at least one of the suspects had turned radical following a two month trip to Pakistan, and also come back with substantial funds, enough to purchase plum real estate.

Officials said 26 year Shazad Khuramali, who was arrested from High Wycombe, had gone to Pakistan and come back with a lot of money, enough to buy a 300,000 pound bungalow all in cash.

"The family turned up two years ago and bought a house here. Their son disappeared to Pakistan for a couple of months and came back with enough money to buy the bungalow opposite.

The family paid cash, around 300,000 pounds. They rented out the bungalow to asylum seekers. At one point there were 15 people living there," The Sun quoted a neighbour as saying.

A friend of his said Shazad changed after his visit to Pakistan, switching mosques and becoming much more devout.

"He went to Pakistan two years ago and came back a changed man. Everyone noticed changes in him," he said.

Officers said most of those arrested included Britons of Muslim faith and the majority of them had some links to Pakistan.

Either they were born to Pakistani immigrants who had settled in England or had been radicalised into fundamentalism after a trip down to their ancestral country.

According to the Daily Mail, Amjad and Asad Sarwar, two of the several youth who were arrested by authorities in the crackdown in the aftermath of the foiled terror attempt on airlines at Heathrow airport, had turned religious in recent years.

The two were even very popular in their school, Sir William Ramsey School at Buckinghamshire till they reached their teens.

"But they suddenly changed a few years ago. They became very religious, began to grow long beards and stopped socialising," said a neighbour.

Phil Redfern, who was at school with the two, said the brothers even began to shun mainstream mosques and instead frequented a smaller mosque behind a nearby Islamic bookshop.

At Hepplewhite Don Stewart-Whyte, 19, converted to Islam and began growing a beard.

A neighbour said he was a 'mummy's boy' who converted to Islam six months ago and married an Arab girl in recent weeks.

According to The Independent, Whyte changed his name to Abdul Wahid after adopting Islam.

"The majority of his friends are Muslims and that's how he got interested in the religion. Some say he was rebellious when he was a teenager but he wasn't that bad," said the neighbour.

It was somewhat similar with British born Folkestone Road dweller, Oliver Savant, 25, who changed his name to Ibrahim after becoming a devout Muslim some eight years ago.

His neighbour, retired fireman Paul Kleinman, said of him: "I've known him since the day he was born. He was a very polite young man.

Oliver started putting on Muslim robes and growing his beard long a few years back".

"He's a nice lad, but you now have to be quite careful what you say to him as he is very religious. He wears the full Muslim robes and is a quiet chap.

His dad is as British as British can be. He has turned his back on his native culture and even supports England at cricket. Oliver is the only one who is a little different," Kleinman added.

British officials said their Pakistani counterparts had helped them to a great extent with investigations in to the foiled terror attack, the biggest involving airlines since 9/11.

Officials said although it was not clear what type of links the attackers had to Pakistan, they were looking into various angles and find out whether the plot was devised in Pakistan with an active contribution from home grown Pakistani militant groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

According to The Times, though Pakistan has been quick to refute suggestions that the house arrest order of former LeT chief had anything to do with the bombing plans, the timing of the arrest was significant.

First Published: Aug 11, 2006 12:41 IST