* From our ‘what have they got to hide’ series:
* He has a beard and he has rights, but that doesn’t want to make him go and do a 9/11, you see? Everybody can go to Pakistan and shoot off some AK 47’s, nothing to do with Islam. What areÂ you, some kind of Islamophobe?
* Shooting party accused of ‘behaving like terrorists’By John Bynorth Home Affairs Editor
* We all know that Islam & Muslims have nothing to do with terrorism, right?
STRATHCLYDE POLICE are facing accusations that it operates a covert intelligence monitoring unit which is infringing the rights of Muslims, after the force launched an investigation into claims that a group of Asians on a clay pigeon shoot had behaved “like terrorists”.
Osama Saeed, chief executive of the Scottish Islamic Foundation, has written to Strathclyde’s chief constable, Stephen House, expressing concern at the way Special Branch officers are questioning Asians about their lifestyles, religious and political beliefs and internet activities. He added that the continued use of the tactics would lead to “further marginalisation of Muslims”, and is already leading some to think twice about practising their beliefs for fear that police will disrupt their lives.
His comments came as one solicitor claimed police have also been secretly “recruiting” Muslims to provide information about their community in return for payments.
* Mahmud would never do a thing like that:
A FATHER-of-one has denied publishing a pamphlet encouraging terrorism.
Amjad Mahmood, 29, and his wife Shella Roma, 27, of Chester Road, Oldham, are accused of circulating a document telling others to go abroad and fight a jihad.
The 10-strong shooting party were questioned informally at their homes and businesses by two policemen a year after their November 2006 trip to Kypeside Farm, an activity centre near Lesmahagow in Lanarkshire. The officers, believed to be from Special Branch, were reacting to a tip-off from a member of the public who claimed the group had been overheard discussing “shooting AK-47 rifles in Pakistan”.
The 29-year-old trip organiser, who declined to be identified, said: “They wanted the names of my family and friends and my thoughts on Afghanistan, Iraq and what I would do if I encountered an extremist at my mosque. I replied that I didn’t think I would go to them because they were so ignorant, but would speak to the imam.
“I had my solicitor present, who told me that it was no coincidence several men were standing trial for involvement in a terror camp in the Lake District. It hadn’t even crossed my mind what we did could be seen as terrorist activity and I found it very sinister.”
Glasgow businessman Saheed Sadiq, 44, another member of the party, told officers he was behind the AK-47 remarks, as he had visited Pakistan’s northwest frontier to take part in the shooting activity with his family. He believes the fact that the comment was reported and investigated is evidence of the problems Asians face.
Sadiq added: “I have a beard because of my faith, but it doesn’t make me want to commit a 9/11. The police treated me decently, but I couldn’t understand why we were being investigated over a year later. It’s made me uneasy, and I look at everything I do and say now in case it is picked up wrongly. I won’t be going clay pigeon shooting again.”
In his letter, Saeed urged House to be more open about police activities and added: “There is much hesitation in joining in with civic religious activity for fear of crossing the police radar. I hope you will agree that, from a counter-terror perspective, if someone is angry about foreign policy, that it is better for them to join with democratic public work than to be left to whatever devices may be on the internet. It makes our job of engaging young Muslims harder.”…
But Anthony Glees, director of Brunel University’s centre for intelligence and security strategy, said: “A whole string of recent convictions, involving young Muslims, many of whom have pleaded guilty, shows the police and MI5 are doing well at the moment in very difficult circumstances.”
Strathclyde Police said they were “duty-bound” to examine the concerns raised and, although no action was taken, would “continue to encourage members of the public to contact police on any matter of suspicious activity.”