Muslim leader’s protest at police ‘spy tactics’

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. 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”.

Councillor held by Special Branch at Heathrow

A Tower Hamlets councillor was detained at Heathrow airport on Wednesday under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, it was reported. Oliur Rahman, who expressed outrage over the incident, was held for more than 30 minutes and quizzed by Special Branch about why he had attended the sixth Cairo international anti-war conference in Egypt. Cllr Rahman reportedly said from Heathrow: “A man standing behind the desk at immigration control asked to see my passport and said he was a police officer. “He asked why I’d been in Cairo, how long I’d been there, what contacts I’d made and where I lived. “I asked what was the purpose of these questions and he said he was from Special Branch and had the right to ask under the Terrorism Act. “So I asked if he was calling me a terrorist. He said ‘no’ and went away and left me for half-an-hour.”