Muslim family angry at UK police house raid
Regional-UK, Politics, 6/10/2006
Members of a Muslim family in east London have condemned last week's controversial pre-dawn raid on their house by anti-terrorism police, in which 23-year-old Mohammed Abul Kaher was shot.
"Myself and my family were awakened by what can only be described as barbaric and horrific actions taken against an innocent family," said Kaher's sister, Humeya Kalam.
Her condemnation came as Mohammed and his 20-year-old brother Abul Koyair were released by police after being detained for seven days without charge under anti-terrorism legislation since their arrest on June 2.
The raid by 250 officers, some dressed in anti-chemical weapons suits, provoked outrage among Britain's 1.8-million Muslim community, with calls for community leaders to withdraw their cooperation with the police until they show more respect.
Some 100 protesters held a demonstration on Friday organized by Anjem Choudary, leader of the dissolved militant group al-Muhajiroun.
But Kalam advised the local Muslim community not to attend the protest that will take place after Friday prayers.
"This will only provide another opportunity for our community to be portrayed in a negative light. Consequently, this will allow the police to inflict the same trauma that we have been through on another family," she warned.
Kaher's sister instead urged residents to support a peaceful community demonstration on Sunday June 18, at Plashet Park, in east London.
"This protest will allow our friends, our neighbours and our community the opportunity to show their support for my family and to unite all the people of Newham, from every faith and community, against the effect of such raids," she said.
The raid came under further criticism Friday, from former Metropolitan Police Flying Squad Commander John O'Connor, who said it was "very unprofessional." Police were said to be continuing their search for chemical materials elsewhere after finding nothing at the house, but O'Connor said, "If you're going to mount an operation like this, you want to have enough evidence to charge people with a criminal conspiracy." "You don't go in on the speculation that you might find the product," he said in an interview with BBC Radio Four's Today program.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said the raid looked to have been a "terrible mistake" and had created unease in the Muslim community - particularly amongst the younger generation.
"We do hope that the appropriate lessons will be learned by all involved in this tragic incident," MCB spokesman Inayat Bunglawala said.
The Islamic Human Rights Commission said the arrests were "another indictment of police and intelligence service anti-terrorist policy." Announcing the brothers' release, a Scotland Yard spokesman said the police appreciated that the operation "caused inconvenience and disruption to the occupants of the house." "We will be contacting the owners to make appropriate arrangements for the property to be handed back to them. We will also be undertaking appropriate restoration work in consultation with the owners," the spokesman said.
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