Muslim leader tells of abduction at knifepoint

By Alistair Keely,Press Association
Sunday 23 October 2011 05:29

Police were today investigating the abduction of a Muslim community leader who claims he was bundled into a car at knifepoint and told to stop running prayer sessions.

Noor Ramjanally, 35, claims he has been the victim of a terror campaign which has involved threats against his family and firebombing after he began the Islamic prayer sessions at Murray Hall, Loughton, Essex, in March.

Police have confirmed they are treating the incidents as hate crime.

The BNP has been leafleting the area warning of "Islamification" in the area but denies any involvement in Mr Ramjanally's ordeal.

Mr Ramjanally said he feared for his life after the abduction which happened at his home in Loughton on Monday.

He told The Guardian: "I was at home and the door bell rang. I opened the door and they grabbed my wrists, pulling me out by force.

"It was two white men. They put a knife upon my stomach and said 'Do what you're told or you'll get hurt'."

He said he was bundled into the boot of a 4x4 vehicle, with one of the men holding a knife to his chest.

Ramjanally said he was driven for 10 minutes to nearby Epping Forest, walked around and then threatened:

He told the paper: "They said 'We don't want your Islamic group in Loughton. If you don't stop, we'll come back."'

A spokesman for Essex Police said: "An investigation is under way into this incident and to determine whether it is linked to to two earlier incidents at the man's home.

"Police are treating the incidents as 'hate crime' and a possible motivation would appear to be a link to the use of the Murray Hall, Loughton, by the Muslim community for Friday prayers."

Supt Simon Williams of Harlow police said: "We are treating these offences with the utmost seriousness and are putting considerable resources into the investigation.

"While that investigation continues we will be working with the whole population of Loughton to ensure that all members of the community are free to practice their religion and beliefs safely and freely."

Councillor Pat Richardson, leader of the BNP group on the local council, confirmed leaflets had been distributed in the area warning of the Islamification of the area.

She claimed Mr Ramjanally was breaking the terms of the hire agreement at the hall and the leaflets also highlighted this.

She added: "The main concern is that everybody else adheres to the terms of the hire agreement.

"There are issues with equality, yet the prayer group is men only. Christian groups use the hall but they are mixed. There are no exclusions."

She said what happened to Mr Ramjanally was "wrong".

"It is wrong for anybody to be treated like that," she added.