The following is transcribed from testimony written by the loveable da’ee, Mohammed Hamid. Once a popular and visible fixture on Oxford Street, Mohammed was targeted by police who posed as Muslim converts in an attempt to record incriminating conversations, much like in the case of Munir Farooqi. Although a vast majority of the audio transcribed was inaudible and distorted, in 2008, Mohammed was sentenced to an ‘indeterminate sentence for public protection’. Be sure to sign the petition to bring an end to his indefinite detention and join his support group to stay updated concerning his case.
Born in Tanzania 1957, name’s Hamid. We came to this country 1962, I was 5 years of age. We came to my uncle’s house, and he came from India in 1955. We came to a town called Batley where Shirley Bassy is from, West Riding Yorkshire. I thought I landed in paradise when I saw all the white ice cream all over the place, but it turned out to be snow and cold. I would throw my shoes away and walk bare-foot in the snow.
Anyway I loved my life in Yorkshire. I got along with all the kids in school, I played football for the school, and I was playing for a Saturday team. I loved the outdoor life, me and my friends we used to go for walks in the country side, scrimping for fruits. We used to go camping. This was the good, old days.
My mum and dad had 6 daughters and five brothers, “wow.” My mum passed away at 30 in 1981, and my dad passed away at 72 in 1994, and my eldest brother who was mentally handicapped passed away at 48 in 1999. My family is a very hardworking family and we are very integrated. My brother is a doctor, my sister is a social worker, I have an Irish sister-in-law. We have always got along in this country even[though] we get a lot of racist abuse. We’ve been called all sorts of names, but I have learned to live with it: sticks and stones break my bones but names never hurt me.
Anyway my eldest brother and his wife moved to London, and my eldest sister moved to London as well with her husband, they went in 1969. My dad sent me to live with my brother in 1970 as I was misbehaving with my schoolmates and getting into trouble with the police.
Anyway I was 12 years old, and all I did was work in factories. After school I used to work in the house, glue work, and sewing machines. I worked from 4 pm to 12pm and always got to school late. [On] weekends I would work from 8 am to 12 midnight, this happened for 3 years.
My brother would get ₤1.50 per hour on the bus, but sometimes I would earn ₤6 in an hour on the glue work. The glue would give you a buzz and I used to cough up blood. I did not have any outdoor life, no football, no friends, I missed all my school work, but on the day of exam CSE, I got O Level in Metalwork and A grade in Maths and Woodwork and a C in English. Well, I did better that most of the kids, and the teacher told me to stay on b—and I wanted to be a Motor Mechanic.
Me working hard was so that we [could] buy a house for my mum and dad to come and live in London, and for this I didn’t mind. When my family came to London my school was coming to the end, and I had a job as a Mechanic. I did my apprentice for 3 years and my mates were getting more money on the dole than me, so I got the sack. I started another job as a mechanic, and at 19, I was in charge over 7 other mechanics like a foreman as I was an expert in Fiat cars.
Leaving school and working was freedom for me as I started to go out with my friends. We used to go clubbing or parting, pub crawling. This time I used to experience a lot of racist abuse and violence from N.F., but I didn’t it let that overpower me. Me and my mates we used to go camping at Cornwall. We used to go abroad with our rucksack. I became a traveler like the hippies. This is how I enjoyed life; camping and trekking with my rucksack. I have lived in Greece, Italy, France, and Spain. We used to go to Glastonbury and camp.
As a youth, I would have girlfriends. My mates, some of them worked like me and some were thieves, and this is how I became a criminal, learning from my mates. Well, that was my mistake, I learned the hard way.
On my last sentence in 1981, my mum passed away and that was the last sentence I ever did as I would not steal again. I went to prison 3 times in my youth, but I grew out of that after my mum died.
I met my first wife in a party and I was 21 and she was 19 years old. She had a 6 month old child and I brought him up and I had a daughter from her as well. My wife came from a white cockney family. Her mum was very happy with me, my parents liked her as well, and she got along well with my family. We were happy. We went on many holidays abroad and we used to go to butlins and caravan sites. She would not come camping, but she didn’t mind shallys [chalets].
We used to go to parties and hold parties at my house. I was a real English man. I was not practicing Islam, but I knew that I was a Muslim. But I integrated and no one can say I don’t know the English way of life. I used to put up a Christmas tree and celebrate Christmas.
I left Mechanics as it was very dirty work and I did all different type of work. I became a youth worker, a play scheme leader; in this work I arranged a lot of activities, camping as well, forest walks. Plus we went to a boot camp where you do military training. I was living a normal family life.
Me and my friends, we would always go to Glastonbury and pitch our tent up. We used to go to Reading. I was not the perfect husband but my wife was no samaritan either. I loved her, but we were becoming more distant as 12 years went by. I was spending more time with friends.
I ran a football team and played as well. Football has always been a part of my life and even in the youth centre I opened the first football team under the age of 18 and 16, and we played in the Enfield League. My name was in the Hackney Gazette paper. This team was all Muslim and I worked in a Muslim youth centre. That’s why my adult team consisted of all kinds [of people]; I had Black and White and one Asian who was the only Muslim. I was the first Muslim manager to win the East London League, and then we played in other leagues, and we won cups. I always organized trips to Scotland and Holland, and we used to go to some great tournaments. We would do at least 3 tournaments every month. The team was invited around for dinner, maybe 2 parties a year and every Sunday after football. Most of the guys used to come to my house to watch the live football, and sometimes we used to go to the snookers club. I remember I had been to Holland twice, Scotland 5 times.
I don’t know what went wrong with my wife, but since her dad passed away she was not the same. She decided that she was doing me a favour by moving out so I could marry and have more children. Well, I loved her and she didn’t love me and we could not go on anymore. [After] 12 years, my stepson was 14 and my daughter was 12, she was just going to start her new school. We asked the kids where they wanted to stay and they decided they wanted to stay with dad. Well, now I’ve become a one-parent family.