The West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit has claimed that group's such as the English Defence League are responsible for "encouraging" the radicalisation of young Muslims in parts of Britain, a claim the EDL has strongly denied.

Speaking on BBC Radio Five Live, Superintendant John Larkin, said, "In some areas, we have evidence that once they [the EDL] have gone and the high-profile policing of the event has occurred, there's fertile ground for those groups who would come in to encourage people to have this reality - this is the way white Western society sees us.

"And that's a potential recruiting carrot for people and that's what some of these radicalisers look for - they look for the vulnerability, for the hook to pull people through and when the EDL have been and done what they've done, they perversely leave that behind."

The EDL however claim that blaming Islamic extremism on them is absurd, as they are a reaction to that extremism, rather than a cause of it.

The group was formed last year in response to protests by Islamists against British soldiers returning from their tour of duty. The soldiers were branded "rapists" and "murderers" by the Islamists.

Since then the EDL has held numerous demonstrations against Islamic extremism and the Islamification of Britain. The demonstrations have often turned violent with clashes breaking out not so much between the EDL and Islamists, but with the left-wing group Unite Against Fascism (of which Prime Minister David Cameron is a supporter).

The protests, counter-protests and the street battles that often result have led to dozens of arrests of both EDL and UAF supporters in the last year.

Just last week the leader of the EDL Tommy Robinson was arrested for violent behaviour in a protest against Muslim extremists who burned a poppy wreath and broke the two minute silence to mark Remembrance Day.

Mr Robinson, also speaking on Radio Five Live, rejected claims that the EDL is responsible for encouraging the radicalisation of Muslims.

"9/11 was our fault, 7/7 was our fault, there's been 17,000 worldwide terrorist attacks since September 11th, I guess they're our fault. I guess the last 1,400 years of history, where Islam's been at war with non-Islam, is our fault. It's ridiculous.

"We're not the cause. The root cause of the problem is the Koran, it's Islam and no one has got the balls to admit it and say it and talk about it. We will. We're not causing this militant Islam, it was already there. If there was no militant Islam there would be no EDL."

During the interview Mr Robinson accused Anil Patani, the head of counter terrorism at West Midlands Police, of being a Muslim, a claim that was denied by Superintendant Larkin, who indicated that Mr Patani is of Hindu origin.

Mr Robinson also said that tens of thousands of people joined the EDL's Facebook page following the poppy burning incident last week, however he disowned comments on the page which described Muslims as "filth" and called for "ethnic cleansing". There are currently more than 55,700 who "like" the EDL's Facebook page.

Mr Robinson added, "The problem is when someone takes a 7th century book and tries to implement it in its barbaric way."

"The problem is not our community. The problem is the Islamic community, the problem is militant Islam. The fact is he [Superintendant Larkin] is saying we create a fertile breeding ground for extremists, but every Islamic community in this country is already a fertile breeding ground for extremists. I don't see the Islamic community coming out and forcefully stopping them, I don't see anyone doing anything.

"I'm shocked that a police officer is blaming the working class community for militant Islam.

"I'd like to see a peaceful Britain. I'm worried about Britain. The next 30 years for this country, if it goes the way it has gone it's really worrying. It is not a pleasant future. We've got more extremists, more militant Muslims and more terrorists than we have ever had.

"It's a ticking time bomb and no one dares talk about it. All we're trying to do is talk about it. When we go on our protests it's a cry for help to our politicians to come and live where we are living, come and see what we are seeing, middle England wake up because its coming to a town near you.

"I've grown up in Luton and I know some great Muslims. I'm not denying there are great Muslims. What I'm saying is that the voicebox for the Muslim community, all the groups our government and police force sit down with like the Muslim Council of Britain and Burnham Green Lane Mosque are all Islamist. They want to enforce their way of life. There are moderate groups out there but they are not the ones being spoken to or having their voice heard."