Sacked Muslim officer wants police protection

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The Independent Online

The Muslim firearms officer who was sacked from an elite Scotland Yard unit guarding dignitaries, including Tony Blair, is seeking special police protection after he was forced to move to a secret location amid fears for the safety of his family.

Pc Amjad Farooq, 39, is suing the Metropolitan Police for race and religious discrimination after he was removed from Scotland Yard's Diplomatic Protection Group (S016) when he was told he had failed a security check because his children went to the same mosque as an imam suspected of having links to terrorism.

Yesterday, friends of Pc Farooq said a house where he had been staying had been visited by an unknown man who made unfounded accusations linking Pc Farooq's friends to al-Qa'ida.

Pc Farooq also feels harassed after an article was published yesterday that he believes links him to the international terrorist group.

Friends say that the officer, his wife and five children have been exposed to a possible backlash from far right groups after his legal action against the Met was made public on Tuesday. He denies any links or sympathies with any extremist group.

In a letter to Dr Tim Brain, Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Police, Pc Farooq's lawyer, Lawrence Davies, has officially requested police protection for his client and his client's family.

The letter makes the police aware of an incident in which an "unnamed person approached the person with whom our client is temporary staying at a secret location and falsely accused that person of having links to the same imam which is entirely untrue".

It also draws the Chief Constable's attention to the behaviour of some sections of the press.

"We are writing to thank you for the support you've shown to our client during the recent difficult period of press intrusion. The position of both parties is that we have refused to comment to the press about his case... We have tried to protect the identity of our client but were concerned to discover today he had been photographed and his picture appeared in the Daily Mail and Daily Express".

Mr Lawrence adds: "Although most of the press comments have been balanced, the article in today's Daily Mail was inflammatory and caused our client to feel harassed. The article, 'the Al-Qaeda factor' appears to link our client to that organisation rather than the former imam at his former mosque. We believe the article may lead to our client being targeted by far-right groups. We have raised a formal complaint to the Press Complaints Commission."

Mr Davies says his client is also concerned how his case has been wrongly used by those who want to make British Muslims the scapegoats for the threat from international terrorism.