Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Terror Raid: Forest Gate Sceptic

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Terror Raid: Forest Gate Sceptic

Article excerpt

"Look!" says the young man, holding up his wrists to show the red marks. "They cuffed me for trying to get to my house." He tells me he is called Abdullah, but like a lot of people in the area he will not give his full name. Like a lot of people in the area, too, he is angry. "Yeah, 20 officers arrested me and the other brother there"--he points to an African-Caribbean man in a red sports saloon parked on the curb, who raises his hand and says salaam.

Abdullah is 5ft 11ins with slick, collar-length black hair and traces of a beard, and he is wearing khaki combats and a blue polo shirt. He lives nine doors down from Abdul Kahar Kalam and Abdul Koyair Kalam, the two brothers arrested in the huge anti-terror raid on 2 June in Forest Gate, east London.

He says he was trying to get around the barriers when he was arrested. The police said he tried to force his way through.

"You see, all of the local community are unsafe. They can come in and shoot a half-naked man and they know that the Muslims can't do nothing. Shoot first then ask questions later," he says. Who fired the shot, in fact, was still officially unclear, though few in Forest Gate seem to be in doubt.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Abdullah says he has known the brothers since they were children. Their father, Abdul, who has heart problems, had rebuilt their house in Lansdown Road "brick by brick". Now, says Abdullah, the police are gutting it. "For God's sake, they're even ripping up the road." What about the police intelligence of a credible threat? "Chemical, biological weapons? …

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