8 I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS Passion Islam I February 2010
Britain uses coercion
to recruit Muslim ‘spies’
Amid stepped up security following a failed attempt to bomb a Detroit- Britain, said harassments did not stop
the bombing attempt in the US, bound plane from Nigeria and a similar at threatening phone calls and visits
Britain’s Security Service, the MI5, attack launched from Somalia. by agents to his place of work — a
faces accusations of trying to force The security service, however, school in Birmingham — and that he
vulnerable Muslim citizens into has intensified its covert operations was twice detained at UK airports
espionage. against Britain’s Somali and Yemeni while trying to go on holiday.
A report by The Independent communities since 2008 over concerns The 21-year-old alleges that men
criticized the spy agency for that UK citizens are being recruited by who claimed to be MI5 agents tried
tactics bordering on blackmail and ‘al-Qaeda’ terrorist organization. to put pressure on him with threats of
harassment and targeting helpless Isahaq Elmi, 31, who complains of detention under the Terrorism Act.
Muslims. having received at least 200 phone British Muslim groups have
The paper cites the cases of calls, is a man who sought refuge in slammed the “alienating” and heavy-
two Somali immigrants to Britain, Britain from certain persecution in handed tactics, as well as casting
whom detail a series of threatening Africa where members of his family doubt on the quality and reliability of
encounters with MI5 agents. It also were murdered. a forced spying operation.
hints at a pattern of such harassments Elmi says he was also tricked into The attempt to blow up a US-
targeting Somali nationals, citing five attending meetings at police stations bound airliner by a Nigerian man who
similar claims made in 2009. in Birmingham amid measures to spent time in Yemen and a suspected
The United Sates and Britain have coerce him into working for the similar attack launched from Somalia
been pushing for more UN intervention security service. has increased MI5’s interest in British
to tackle what they call an emerging Ahmed Diini, a Dutch citizen of residents with links to both states.
terrorist threat in Somalia, in wake of Somali origin who has settled in
tortured in Yemen
A group of British Muslims claims being for several hours and taken away to enter.
detained and tortured in Yemen’s be questioned one at a time. “On their return to the UK,
infamous prisons, suggesting the “They were asking me where Bin families of three individuals told The
involvement of British intelligence Laden’s hideouts were,” recalled Alam Guardian.
because the interrogations focused Mottakin, a student from northern “But the men and their families are
on associates and mosques back in London. actually pointing an accusation finger
London. “They kept asking the same at the British intelligence, citing some
“On the first night I was ordered question again and again: ‘Which of the questions they were asked.
out of the cell and taken to a small group are you working with?’” They were grilled about their
courtyard,” Shajed Askor, a 26- After five days, the four were seen associates in Britain and ordered
year-old web developer, told The by a British consular official who
to write a list of mosques that they
Guardian. indicated they would be released
attended back home.
“Then the guards started beating within an hour.
They were even asked to describe
me around the head and body with Instead they were transferred to
those mosques and some of the
sticks and bars. It went on for about 20 a prison run by Yemen’s intelligence
people who pray there.
minutes. Some of the guards seemed agencies, where they were detained,
“We are not in a position to
to be high on drugs.” beaten, deprived of sleep and
comment on the questions the Yemeni
Askor was among a group of four questioned for four weeks. The
authorities may or may not have asked
young British Muslims detained last torture episodes reportedly continued
them,” the Foreign Office spokesman
month while traveling in Yemen to until the days the four were released
enroll in an Arabic language institute. without charge and deported.
Lawyers for eight former
They claim to have been dragged Britain’s Foreign Office says the
Guantanamo detainees are suing the
off a bus outside the capital, Sana’a, four Muslims were arrested by Yemeni
British government and intelligence
and held for almost five weeks. authorities for traveling to an area
for involvement in their abduction and
They were handcuffed, forced to kneel which they did not have permission to
extradition to the US and Pakistan.
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