Westminster terror suspect Salih Khater allegedly told friends in Birmingham that he was travelling to London to get a visa.
He was arrested after crashing a silver Ford Fiesta into cyclists and pedestrians outside the Houses of Parliament yesterday morning.
A man and a woman were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries while another man was treated at the scene.
The former student allegedly drove his own car to London a day before a visa appointment to try and avoid an early morning journey on Tuesday.
Nassar Mahmood, from Birmingham Central Mosque, said the local Sudanese community believed Khater wanted the visa to travel back to Sudan.
He said he was told Khater did not worship at the mosque and had shown no signs of radicalisation.
Mr Mahmood said: ‘We made some inquiries within the Sudanese community around the mosque and the picture we are getting is that he was on his way to the Sudanese embassy.
‘Some of them know him personally. He wasn’t known to be a fervent worshipper and as far as we know he never attended the mosque here.
‘Nobody knows the true picture yet. The police have not charged him so I would caution against rushing to apportion guilt.’
Sudanese community leader Ali Mohamed said: ‘From what we know, he was a social person, he was a sportsman.
‘He was trying to apply for a visa. We really don’t know why he got into that incident.’
Khater’s friends have defended him as a ‘good person’ who merely ‘lost control’ of his car in a freak accident.
Neighbour Abrha Thomas insisted: ‘It was an accident, just like anyone would have. He was a good person – he just lost control.
‘He was a very nice man. Everybody knew him in this area. We see him around and we all pull together.’
It has now emerged that counter-terrorism officers have been granted a warrant to detain Khater until Monday.
A Scotland Yard statement said: ‘Officers investigating the incident in Westminster yesterday, Tuesday 14 August, have obtained a warrant of further detention in relation to the 29-year-man who was arrested at the scene.
‘The man, who is a UK national originally from Sudan, was arrested by armed officers on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism, under section 41 of the Terrorism Act (TACT) 2000, and detained under TACT.
‘A warrant of further detention was granted this afternoon (15 August) by Westminster Magistrates’ Court until Monday, 20 August and the 29-year-old man remains in custody at a south London police station.’