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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 June 2006, 13:59 GMT 14:59 UK
Brothers looking for 'justice'
By Chris Summers
BBC News, Forest Gate, east London

Two brothers, one of whom was shot by police, have spoken about an anti-terrorist raid at their home in east London. The pair were released last week without charge.

The press conference
The brothers held up well to media interrogation

The flags of all the World Cup nations are currently on display on the walls of Forest Gate's glossy new library, the handiwork of local primary school children.

A boy called Musa proudly signed his drawing of the England flag.

He was oblivious to the difficulties being faced by an older generation just a short distance away.

Bullet missed heart

Brothers Mohammed Abdulkahar and Abul Koyair, London-born but of Bangladeshi origin, were arrested on 2 June in a raid by the Metropolitan Police's anti-terrorist squad.

During the 0400 BST raid Mr Abdulkahar was shot in the chest - the bullet missed his heart - by a police officer.

The raid was triggered by a tip-off suggesting some sort of chemical bomb was hidden inside Lansdowne Road in Forest Gate, but nothing was found.

Mohammed Abdulkahar speaks at press conference
The only crime I have committed is being Asian and having a long beard
Mohammed Abdulkahar

The brothers, both sporting the beard - without moustache - popular among many Bengali Muslims, were clearly aggrieved at the way they had been treated.

Despite anger over their treatment they refused to be drawn on whether the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Ian Blair should resign.

They did say they wanted those who ordered the raid to face justice.

Stream of questions

Mr Abdulkahar said he was completely against terrorism - be it Islamic or otherwise - and said: "The only crime I have committed is being Asian and having a long beard."

Asked if, in the current climate, it was not inevitable that mistakes were made, he replied: "It's not fair for me to get a bullet in the chest."

Mr Koyair said he actually applied to become a community service officer shortly before the shooting.

He said: "My family was right behind me. Now all their views have changed. They don't want me to be associated with the police in any way."

After testifying, at times emotionally, about their experiences on 2 June the brothers were asked a stream of questions by a posse of sweaty journalists.

They remained cool in the glare of the camera lights and responded with equanimity.

Mr Abdulkahar, a Royal Mail driver and part-time supervisor at Tesco, pointed out he worked more than 50 hours a week to support his family and added: "I was born and bred in east London. I love my city... I love everybody around me and my neighbours appreciate me."

Asked if he thought he could return to the family home he said he was on medication, was unable to sleep, and suffered constant flashbacks about the shooting.

"I have lived there for 20 years but I don't think I can go back," he said.

Mr Abdulkahar insisted the police had shouted no warnings.

Support for police

The press conference took place in a church in Forest Gate and crosses were more in evidence than any Islamic symbols.

The host, the Reverend Canon Ann Easter, was clearly in a difficult position.

She sympathised with the brothers for their "physical and mental injuries" and for the "suspicion" they had come under following the raid.

But she was not keen to criticise the police.

Rev Easter described them as having a "demanding role" in tackling terrorism after 7 July and said the community should continue to support them in their "thankless task".

We need to keep our borough united, safe and vibrant
Reverend Canon Ann Easter
Area Dean of Newham

She said she hoped the incident could be used to unite, rather than divide, the people of Newham borough, which includes Forest Gate.

"We need to keep our borough united, safe and vibrant," she said.

What came over at the end of the press conference was that what the brothers, and their family, want most is an apology from the police.

"They haven't had the decency to apologise. Even when I was released I didn't get a word of sorry," said Mr Abdulkahar.

Mohammed Abdul Kahar and Abul Koyair describe the raid

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