A Muslim convert who spent years living in Bury Park and was heavily involved with Luton’s notorious Al Muhajiroun group is claiming he was actually undercover for the CIA.
In an interview with a Danish newspaper this week, Morten Storm claims he was only posing as an extremist, and was in fact working for the Danish intelligence service (PET) and the CIA.
The claims have left mosque leaders in Luton, who say they spoke to Storm about his extremist views on many occasions, furious.
Qadir Baksh, chairman of the Luton Islamic Centre in Bury Park Road, said Storm had been known as ‘Murad Danish’ during his time in Luton.
“Certain people here propped him up, such as Al Muhajiroun. They made him their scholar.
“He tried very hard to spread mischief in the community.
“He would come to us and tell us his views, and we would send him away with his tail between his legs.
“Early on I had my suspicions about him, but I didn’t have clear evidence.”
When he arrived in Luton in 1999, Storm told religious leaders he had come to learn about Islam in what he saw as a safe haven for Muslims.
He told them he was a former Hell’s Angel who had spent time in Yemen and had a history of violent behaviour, but wanted to start a new life.
“He was running around here, there and everywhere, with a corrupt version of Islam, and leading people astray,” he said.
“There are extremist jihadists in Luton and he was propagating their thoughts among young people, spreading lies about Islam.
“We thought he was probably being watched by the security services.”
Storm, who lived in Connaught Road, was last seen in Luton in 2010.
Asked whether he thought Storm could have invented his story, Mr Baksh said: “We know the CIA do conduct sting operations.
“The police and security services want us to trust them but they are sending agitators into our community to lead people astray.
“The vast majority of Muslims just want to get on with their lives and practise their religion in peace.”
Storm’s story was published this week in Jyllands-Posten, one of Denmark’s biggest selling daily newspapers.
Its publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2005 sparked violent protests around the world.
He told the newspaper he had been recruited by PET in 2006, and claims he led the CIA to Al Qaeda leader Anwar Al-Awlaki, who was killed in a drone attack last September. PET has refused to comment on his claims.
Secretary of the Luton Islamic Centre, Farasat Latif, said Storm did “a lot of showing off”.
“People got to know him because he had a lot to say,” he said.
“Young people were attracted to him because of his radical ideas.”