I’m a person who has come to my 50th birthday. My life has had its ups and downs. I am a person who has really integrated into the British way of life. 45 years I’ve spent in England, and I class myself as a British. My first wife was an English, and I spent 15 years with her. I know about pub crawls, partying, wine bars and clubbing, plus celebrating Christmas and putting up a Christmas tree and decorations. Most of my friends are English and I understand the life over here.
In my young days I was involved in crimes, and I gave that up 25 years ago. I was a family man for 15 years, then in 1990 I was involved in drug abuse after I got a divorce. Crack-cocaine nearly took my life, but I had to be strong as I was a one parent to two children. For their sake I went to India and cleaned up my act.
I got married again, and my dad passed away. He left me some money in his will. I decided to open an Islamic book centre with my dad’s money, try to do something good. My idea was to help the people to get away from crimes and drugs as I was an experienced person, and I knew my past. I wanted to help others, stop them from going down the same road. The book centre did help a lot of people…
I’m an outdoor man, and I have always done activities as a youth worker and play scheme leader. I’ve arranged camping and running a football team at the centre, plus I have done lots of other activities.
As in my own life, I have always enjoyed football. I have played and managed a team for 8 years. I have won the league’s and cups, and I’m proud of my record. The guys that played for my team were all non-muslims; some of them were criminals and used drugs, but the football kept them active and kept them out of trouble. I arranged trips to Scotland every year, we used to drive to Holland twice, every month we had dinner at my house, and Sunday people used to come to my house to watch the football game on the box.
So I was already used to these type of activities and gatherings and the company of friends. Once I started practising Islam and opened the book centre, I was having gatherings in the shop. We used to go out and eat, plus I was running a football team, and so these activities never stopped. My past life never left me; only the crime and drugs left me. I was still me. I remember going paintballing in 1989 and 1991, and I have always loved camping. So, at my gatherings I would notice that humans get bored very easily and this is the reason why people get into crime and drugs. Now when you become Muslim, all the pub and club activities have gone out the window. Now life can get very boring. So this is why we have gatherings, and this is the reason why we do our activities.
We would all make suggestions and we would decide what activities to arrange. From my book shop we arranged camping, paintballing, football; this was all done before 9/11. Then I took my gatherings to my house. We arranged the same activities but I used to cook, and we would eat at my house. Once a month we would go out for a meal. Why should I stop all thaese activities or the gatherings because of 9/11 or 7/7 or 21/7? This was my way of life.
I did not invite everyone that I met, but if anyone that had become Muslim or he had problems with crime or drugs, I would take their number and try to help them by inviting them. Prophet Mohamed says you must stay with good company, and this is why I wanted people to meet each other and learn from each other. Since the book shop I have been collecting numbers, and every Thursday I text them to come to my gatherings. I just randomly text over 100 people every week. Only 15 would come.
I have had many different faces pass [thru] my gatherings, many different have passed by me, some will come today and then you will see them a year later. Some you will never see again. Some might come camping or paintballing, but you will never see them in the gathering. Even the guys used to bring their friends to the gatherings, and I used to take their number and text. We always had strangers coming to the gatherings. I’ve had non-Muslims as well.
“On the probe I have proof of a non-Muslim in my gatherings” From my dawah table, only Dawood (undercover cop) came to my house, so this proves that I am not recruiting people from my table; everybody invited each other to the gatherings, it was not only me.
In any gathering you must have someone in charge, an “Amir”. So when I was doing this before, a guy called Ebrahim was in charge. He knew the Quran by memory, and he used to teach us,. Even [though] it being my house, I would not become Amir as I am no that learned, our gatherings were to better us in Islam and life, make more friends and we would do all sorts of activities. When my brother Ebrahim left this world, I was devastated. I took time off and re-opened my gatherings. This is when Attila came in and the south London guys started to come.
[Islamic Words are Guilty Words… to be continued]