In the afternoon Joel started to outline the case he was going to make and didn't stop for over an hour. He painted Hamid as a slightly crazy guy who didn't think before he spoke. He spent an amount of time trying to put some distance between Atilla and Hamid's personalities. He made Atilla out to be someone who dislikes everyone and to be someone who would plead guilty to charges which dropped his friend in it to "Save his own skin". He also said he was going to use video evidence to contrast Hamids relationship with Islington Borough Commander Barry Norman, with Atilla's relationship with him. He also said he would call people who would say that Atilla was loosing it after his arrest and just before he went guilty.
Later Hamid took the witness box and described his early life. Born in Tanzania he grew up in Yorkshire and came to London at the age of 12-13. He got involved in petty crime and was done for stealing some fishfingers. He carried on this life of petty crime to supplement his lifestyle, buying clothes etc and smoked dope, drank and went to nightclubs whilst training to become a mechanic. He also did a lot of camping and backpacking and went to all the Greek islands, Spain. France, Germany and Belgium though he spent most of the time in Greece. He married his first wife who already had one kid. They had two kids together but the marriage didn't work out and they separated, the kids choosing to stay with him.
At some point he got together with another woman who had a habit, he also developed a crack habit for a year. He sent his kids away and sold everything in his house to buy crack. Eventually he couldn't stand it any longer and went to a mosque, then went to see his older brother who helped him to get to India. he said that as soon as he arrived in India it was like he had never taken drugs and he managed to straighten himself out.
He came back and opened an Islamic bookshop on Chatsworth rd in Hackney and started his dawah stall, first in Leicester square and later on Oxford st. He used to go to Speakers Corner as a kid to listen. After 9/11 he went there to speak, mainly to tell people that Muslims weren't involved in 9/11.
He started meetings at his house because Mosques were there for prayer only and people always left straight after and didn't get a chance to talk. He reckoned 300 people, maybe more passed through meetings at his house and in his Islamic bookshop.There's probably more, as I say I can't write notes upstairs. Anyway that was our lot today, more tomorrow.
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