A ONE-TIME terror suspect says Muslim extremists need to be understood, not condemned.

Woolwich-born Usman Ali was released without charge six days after being arrested over suspected links to an al-Qaeda plot to bomb the Canadian Parliament.

Now, speaking out following his arrest on June 19, the 29-year-old says the "sensation of terror raids" is leading to innocent people being condemned.

He also hit out at the culture of blame where innocent Muslims are being tarred with the same brush as radicals.

Mr Ali said: "I've had people calling me Osama Bin Laden in the street, even though I had no involvement in the terror plot at all.

"There are Muslims out there with extreme views but people don't just become radicals overnight.

"It's a gradual process and we need a public forum for Muslims, particularly the youth, to discuss why they are feeling so strongly about things."

He added: "What needs to stop is this sensation of terror raids.

"If we condemn these extremists they will be so far away we won't be able to reach them. We need to understand their psyche in order to move forward."

Mr Ali's comments follow a new report about terrorism and Islamophobia by Professor Dominic Abrams from the University of Kent.

Last month he undertook a national survey of 1,100 which found terrorist acts have increased suspicion and fear of non-Muslims towards Muslims.

The study, of which 10 per cent of those questioned were from London, found 22 per cent of non-Muslim people harboured negative feelings towards Muslims.

But social psychologist Prof Abrams says the research also showed people think the Muslim community has a key role to play in preventing further acts of terror.

He said: "Our research also found people who know Muslim people are less likely to be fearful of them.

"Fighting terrorism is not just about dragging the police in.

"Fifty-seven per cent of people believe the prevention of terrorism can be achieved through the integration of different communities and understanding of the Muslim community."