Imam Ramee with his wife and children
After two articles in tabloid newspapers claiming Imam Ramee once preached sermons of hate to suicide bombers, immigration officials visited his home in Cheetham Hill, Manchester.
He was asked to report to a local court where he was suddenly seized, refused bail, and taken to the Harmsworth detention centre near London ready for deportation.
Said Mrs Muhammad: “I am desperately worried. My husband was not aware they were about to deport him when he went to the court. He was just seized. He has not been able to appeal. They are fast tracking him out of the country all over these articles which were untrue.
“I am facing the same deportation procedure but it has been delayed because I have a medical condition.”
Before he was detained Imam Ramee spoke to Asian News and denounced the tabloid stories that claimed he enjoyed Â£1,400 a month in benefits while making a ‘mad’ asylum claim.
He also denied press accusations that he used to spout words of hate to impressionable young British Muslims including Asif Hanif, who killed three Jewish people in Israel when he blew himself up outside a Tel Aviv bar, and shoe bomber Richard Reid.
He said: “These stories are garbage. They have really damaged me and all Muslims. People who know me in Manchester say they cannot believe what was written.”
Former US marine Ramee says he is seeking asylum in Britain from America because he would be in great danger if he is deported back to the States where he was born.
“Even before 9/11 Muslim converts were being persecuted there. In the Chicago mosque where I was Imam, some were jailed, some were even killed by the authorities.
“Two of my closest religious colleagues have been told they cannot leave the United States. If I was sent back I would fear for my life and the lives of my wife and children.”
Imam Ramee’s characterizations of the United States, where Muslims enjoy more civil rights and careful treatment by authorities than they do in many Muslim countries, casts everything he says into doubt — particularly his claims to teach peace.
Imam Ramee was born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother. He converted to Islam when he came across a Muslim cleric while he was working in the prison service.
He admits he may once have swallowed the “false” version of Islam that approves of terror bombing but insists that well before he lectured to students, including Hanif and Reid, at the Finsbury Park Mosque, he changed his to one of peace.
Evidently his preaching of peace there was ineffective, since they went on to blow people up in the name of Islam (or try to do so, in Reid’s case). Another question: wasn’t Abu Hamza imam of the Finsbury Park mosque at the time Ramee Muhammad lectured there? If so, why did Hamza, who so openly and indefatigably continues to preach violent jihad against the West, allow his teachings to be contradicted by another speaker on the staff?
He also denies he wants to live off benefits.
He said: “I have been in Britain since 2001 and had been taking care of my family with the proceeds of my teaching work.
“I am only on benefits now because under British law an asylum seeker is barred from having paying employment.
“I teach peace. Once I began to read deeper into Islam I realised that the youth were not being told the full story, that jihad is speaking the truth, not blowing yourself up.
“I am no more responsible for the attitudes and actions of youths like Reid than are their British teachers at school.
Then where did Reid, a convert to Islam, get the idea that blowing himself up on an airplane would please Allah — if not from his Islamic teachers?
“Recently Mohammed Bakri of the Finsbury Park Mosque said a bomb attack in Britain is inevitable. This just does not have to be the case if youth are taught properly. It is clearly stated, for example, that Muslims cannot bomb their homeland.
Another questionable statement. It is clearly stated where, and by whom, that Muslims cannot bomb their homeland? There are no bombs in the Qur’an — they hadn’t been invented when it was written. But more importantly, do British Muslims even consider Britain to be their homeland? The actions of some of Ramee’s old Finsbury Park associates suggest that they do not.
“I think it’s appaling what some of the Mujahadeen are doing, they have shown no care for the youth by pushing them into violent acts.”
Imam Ramee says he wants to go on spreading the peace message in Manchester mosques.
An Immigration Service spokesman said: “The Home Secretary set up this fast track procedure to deal with cases that are totally unfounded. The US does not constitute a threat.”