THE leader of a Muslim community has told how he invited a suspected terrorist from Blackburn to his country to teach at his new mosque.

Businessman Altaf Rajah told Manchester Crown Court that he asked Abbas Iqbal, 24, of Percival Street, Blackburn, to join his 200-strong organisation in Northern Europe.

Iqbal was arrested at Manchester Airport last summer when he and another alleged extremist were found carrying ‘terrorism-related material’.

Mr Rajah, who owns a petrol station and restaurant and imports oil from England, said he needed the duo to help at his Islamic centre.

He told the court through an interpreter that he was looking for somebody who spoke Urdu and Punjabi.

He said he was introduced to Iqbal through the other suspected terrorist, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

He said he spoke to Iqbal two or three times on the phone and sent the pair their plane tickets.

He said: “We needed them first of all because we were doing a ceremony of opening our mosque and secondly because the month of Ramadan was coming up and we needed help to perform the prayers.”

Iqbal and two other Blackburn men deny preparing for acts of terrorism.