The group of men caused uproar when they picketed a homecoming parade by the 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment down the streets of the Bedfordshire town, holding up placards with slogans including: "Anglian Soldiers: Butchers of Basra" and "Anglian Soldiers: cowards, killers, extremists".
One placard also read: "British Government Terrorist Government."
As the troops prepared to hold a similar march in Watford today, Margaret Moran, the Luton South MP, said that the protesters had been an embarrassment to her town.
Both Ms Moran and Abdul Malik, a member of Luton’s Race Advisory Forum, claimed this morning that the demonstrators may have belonged to the extremist al-Muhajiroun organisation, which was officially disbanded in Britain in 2004. The group relaunched itself as two new groups that year, but both were proscribed by the Government for glorifying terrorism.
“I am absolutely disgusted with the demonstration by a small number of extremists linked to al-Muhajiroun. It is not representative of Luton," the MP said on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
She added that she had been left surprised that police had authorised the protest, which caused clashes involving those who had come out to welcome the troops.
"I am a bit stunned that the police agreed to this kind of demonstration, with pre-prepared banners calling the Army ’baby-killers’ and the like, which were designed to provoke and cause disturbance," she said.
Mr Malik, a race-relations campaigner, also said that the protesters were likely to have been members of al-Muhajiroun, an indication that the virulently anti-Semitic Islamist organisation, led by the cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed, still exists underground since officially disbanding.