The concentration of extremists has exacerbated racial tensions. In March 2009, soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment were marching through Luton when they were subjected to a tirade of abuse from a group of Muslim men who called them murderers, rapists and baby killers. Five of the men were later convicted of being abusive.

In May 2004 nine people were arrested after a nationalist group, March for England, held a protest.

On Sunday it emerged that Terry Jones, a self-style pastor who threatened to burn copies of the Koran on the aniversary of the September 11 attack had been invited to speak at an English Defence League rally in Luton.

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