British university chief says shocked at Swedish bombing

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The head of the British university where the Stockholm suicide bomber once studied expressed his shock Tuesday at the news but insisted there were no extremist activities on his campus.

Swedish prosecutors say Taymour Abdelwahab, who graduated seven years ago from the University of Bedfordshire, is the person who blew up his car and then himself near a crowded pedestrian street in central Stockholm on Saturday.

"I am very shocked about recent events," said Les Ebdon, vice chancellor of the university in Luton, a town with a large Muslim community north of London.

In a statement, the professor said he was "proud of the harmonious environment all our students enjoy at all our campuses".

"The university and its students refute any implication that it is or even has been involved in extremism of any sort," he said.

"In the sort of world we all live in we are not complacent and would always give our full cooperation to any of the appropriate authorities."

Ebdon repeated a previous statement from the university that an EU student by the name of Taimour Abdulwahab (sic), a Swedish national, registered at the university in 2001 and graduated with a degree in sports therapy, or physiotherapy for sports.

He added that the university "enjoys a good relationship with all its student societies, including the Islamic Society. All student society speakers are approved by the students' union and the chaplaincy".

British police on Monday searched Abdelwahab's house in Luton, where he apparently lived with a wife and three children, in the wake of the attack in Sweden.

The chairman of the local Luton Islamic Centre told AFP on Monday that he had attended mosque there but "stormed out" in 2007 after a series of confrontations over his extremist opinions, and had not been seen since.

© 2010 AFP

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