A BOLTON MP last night called for calm in the town following the arrest of a 62-year-old man on suspicion of terror offences.

Dr Brian Iddon said he learned of tensions within the muslim community following the raid on a house in Deane on Monday.

Asif Farooqui, of Willows Lane, was one of five men taken into custody by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit.

They are being questioned by officers at separate police stations across Greater Manchester.

Dr Iddon, who is Mr Farooqui’s MP, said: “There already are increased tensions. I am getting reports from the community that people are not happy.

“I would ask everyone to remain calm.

“This gentleman is very well known. He comes from the Sufi tradition, a branch of Islam which is traditionally very peaceful. That is why the community is so surprised.”

Police said there was no imminent terrorist danger to the Greater Manchester area and the arrests were related to an alleged overseas threat.

Officers continued to search Mr Farooqui’s house yesterday — removing items in sealed plastic bags — as more details about his background emerged.

He is thought to be a Sunni Muslim of Pakistani origin, and a well respected spiritual leader with about 2,000 followers across the UK.

His beliefs, according to a senior figure at a mosque he used to run, are strict but peaceful.

The source, who asked to remain anonymous, said Mr Farooqui believes that TV is sinful, that Muslims should wear traditional salwar kameez robes and that women should cover their faces with a veil.

He regularly leads prayers at the Khankah Naqashbandia mosque, in Manchester, and his followers are sometimes nicknamed “the turban people”. One acquaintance said: “He is a nice, gentle fellow — a religious person.

“His arrest was a surprise. He is the leader of quite a few people and they are not happy about what has happened.”

Bolton Chief Supt Steve Hartley said yesterday: “Officers are keeping the community updated with information, through briefings and a letter, which includes a local contact to discuss any issues.”

A petition has been started at the Al Rahman Mosque in Daubhill calling for the release of Mr Farooqui.

Police have seven days to question him before they have to apply to a court for permission to detain him further.

They have a maximum of 28 days before they have to decide whether to charge or release him.