Shaheeb Inayat Sher
Place and date of birth:
Bradford, 01 April 1980
Divorced (Salia Sher 01/09/80)
38 Dixon Avenue, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD7 2PH
07457 013 891
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @ShaheebInayat
2009 to date Charity Co-ordinator, Averroes Palestinian Care Foundation
2004 to date IT Contractor
2002-2003 Director of Etec (UK) Ltd, Huddersfield
2000-2002 Director of Girlington Community Centre Ltd, Bradford
1999-2000 Board Member of Manningham & Girlington SRB, Bradford
2002-2003 B.A. Business Studies, Leeds Metropolitan University
2000-2001 B.A. Social Studies, University of Bradford
Father: Shafqat Mahmood born in Pakistan to Irshad Begum and Mohammed Inayat Mughal. Mr
Mughal immigrated to Bradford during the 1950s to establish Mughal & Co. 39 Bowland Street,
Manningham and later Jamia Shan-e-Islam. Mr Mahmood managed Mughal & Co. for several years,
he later managed a convenience store before disability forced early retirement.
Mother: Born to Sher Mohammed of Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Yasmin Sher immigrated to the UK in
1979. Shakeel Mahmood, Shajat Mahmood – Lecturer, Qulsoom Inayat – Lecturer, Shakeeb Inayat – Lawyer
Forced Marriage Violence
After leaving school in 1996 with 5 GCSE’s, I occupied my time running a small novelty giftware
business from home. My trading income allowed me to financially support myself and leave home
from the age of seventeen to begin A Levels the same year.
While studying for A Levels, I participated in an art exhibition visit to Paris where I met my future
wife Salia Sher. The circumstances of our relationship met with disapproval from her family,
primarily because of existing prearranged marriage commitments to a doctor based abroad in
Romania. Our endeavour to build a relationship, together with Salia’s enmity against a forced
marriage, influenced our decision in early 1998 to make the commitment to live together.
This unfortunately led to a contentious situation for the next year as her family pursued retribution
for the cause of family honour. The reprisals, death threats and family history of honour-based
violence compelled us to flee violence with the assistance of Social Services and West Yorkshire
Police forced marriage support worker Philip Balmforth. We were helped to relocate on six separate
occasions, three of which were to temporary homeless accommodation units in Leeds, Bradford and
After an escalated situation in 1999, we moved in with my parents and married in an Islamic Nikah
ceremony. Although this did not meet with the approval of the Shah family, when the Shahs moved
to Peterborough it did help to curtail open hostility. The reprieve gained from a year of antagonism
allowed us to focus on our interest of community work.
We began community work because we appreciated how community services such as housing,
mediation and advice can make a positive difference to the lives of ordinary individuals in alleviating
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poverty and hardship. We made a commitment in supporting several organisations between 1999
and 2002, for myself this included the Manningham and Girlington Single Regeneration Budget as
Board Member, Girlington Community Centre as Director and Bradford Police Club for Young People
We were both nominated Board Members of the Manningham and Girlington SRB. We worked as
part of a management team composed of policy makers tasked with developing sustainable delivery
plans and funding community projects. As the youngest members of a £9.7 million regeneration
scheme we approved various community projects. This included the £4.5 million Lister Park
redevelopment, Sports Action Zone, jobs@manningham and the Girlington Community Centre. The
scheme aimed to revise the downward spiral of inner-city deprivation in a SE Asian community and
further support neighbourhood renewal investments such as the Lister Mills redevelopment.
At Bradford Community Broadcasting, as victims of Forced Marriage Violence, we produced a radio
program on Forced Marriages, interviewing among others Ann Cryer MP and Philip Balmforth. We
explored our own personal experiences along with other noted cases of Forced Marriage Violence
and highlighted the social conditions surrounding Honour Killings in the Asian community.
In 1999 I joined a group of volunteers managing a disused Girlington Centre. I was successful in
securing £150,000 of SRB funding and in May 2000 we formed Girlington Community Centre Limited
to facilitate capacity building services to the local community. As one of the founding directors I was
responsible for directing service redesign and implementation projects, working with local partners,
stakeholders and community groups to generate income to support the overall operation of the
building and further the objectives of the community.
Girlington is considered one of the fourth most deprived areas in England and Wales and a focal
point area of two Bradford riots. The funding helped us to refurbish the centre, the only facility of
its kind in the area, and hire three new employees to accommodate day-to-day service needs. We
achieved some success in engaging with local residents and young people, with the centre hosting
services such as the jobs@manningham project, a community café as-well-as English and Yoga
classes for Asian women. As the only Asian Board Member representing the largely Asian population
of Girlington, I embraced capacity building with local residents, to address problems of social
deprivation and exclusion.
Blackmail, Intimidation and Recruitment
Salia’s employment as a GCC Project Co-coordinator and my role as Director translated into shared
responsibilities as Community Workers to safeguard the needs and aspirations of the community we
belonged to. Unfortunately this access to the Muslim community of Girlington occasioned us both to
become victims of a targeted campaign of blackmail by the Security Services in an attempt to
persuade us to become MI5 informers.
Shortly after Salia joined the GCC in 2000, we were approached by a Bradford Community
Broadcasting volunteer named Catherine. Catherine was a middle-aged, middle class woman who
said she worked as a Civil Servant for the Inland Revenue. She befriended us by inviting us to the
West Yorkshire Playhouse with free tickets, shopping trips to Meadowhall and on Sunday lunches
and country walks to Ilkley and Grassington. She was a mild mannered and well spoken woman who
engaged with us on these social visits. She would always encourage our community work, discuss
the social merits of what we were doing and gauge our opinions on the problems confronting the
Asian community. It was a little unusual for us at the time, for a mature, middle
class, professional woman living in Leeds to cultivate such personal time with two young
marginalised, ethnic community workers from Bradford. It became quite alarming, when she
admitted to working for MI5 and proceeded to blackmail us in an effort to recruit us as informers.
The harassment began with inducements of money and progressed to intimidation. She told us if we
agreed to work for MI5 we had debt problems she could arrange to clear. When we declined she
suggested we didn’t have a choice, we were in a position to help, we should think carefully about it
since refusal is never an option. We asked why we had to be involved, she told us they don’t have
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personnel of the right culture. When we threatened to go to the police, we were made to understand
there is no public oversight for the work they do, so they can do what they want. Right now
we’re not in any trouble, cooperate and we won’t be. It was a disorientating experience coming from
a government authority you naturally trust with protecting your freedom.
Despite our explicit insistence on no further contact Catherine played on our alienation from family,
our fear and insecurity, to blackmail us into continuing this ‘friendship’, to compel, drive and
motivate us to work as MI5 informers.
We were told we would be spying to help better the community. Protect the community from
religious extremists. She portrayed the Girlington Muslim community as a breeding ground for
jihadists. How these minority radical elements were ruining the good, decent standing of the main
majority of peaceful Muslims. How we could help our community by occasionally passing on a little
As established members of the community we were asked to keep an eye on the Muslim Community
of Girlington. To keep her updated on events, to pass on information on the practices of Asian youth
and women’s groups and to report any suspicious behaviour of young people. I was prompted to
encourage young people to speak about jihad and at times to implicate themselves.
Post 9/11 in 2002 I was invited with the promise of high pay to collaborate on several youth
programmes. I was offered money to work with Muslim student protest movements and foster
partnerships with Muslim student groups to prevent Islamist terrorist attacks. This included
supporting progressive causes with Muslim students to disrupt Islamist political campaigns on
student campuses in the UK and abroad, including Syria, Pakistan and Egypt. As an unemployed,
Asian youth with two years of voluntary community work experience, I was offered £380,000 of
funding for a Student Book Club in return for information on Muslim students.
My contact with the Security Services ceased in 2003. I can only speculate on the reasons why, I
suspect my fractious sympathies made me incompatible with the responsibilities of the work to
hand. I am not fully aware of Salia’s relationship with the Security Services after this point or the
work she was involved with. She joined the social regeneration company Fsquared Ltd. based in
Manchester, after leaving Huddersfield NHS Primary Care Trust as Healthy Living Development
Worker in 2003. She remained there in a PPP/PFI Finance & Infrastructure role until 2007, she was
then employed on £64,000 a year by New Schools Ltd in the same role
, a role she continued after
we divorced in October 2007.
Harassment and Complaint
On returning to Bradford in November 2009, I was questioned in February 2010, as part of routine
attempts by MI5 to gather intelligence on Islamist groups in the UK.
I was asked to attend Manningham Police Station with my driving license in relation to a Road Traffic
Violation. When I arrived a police officer showed me to an interview room, he was with a man from
the Security Services who called himself Tom. Tom said this was nothing to worry about, just a few
questions and it shouldn’t take long at all.
Tom showed me some pictures and asked if I recognised any of the people. He said my contact
number was found in the diary of a terror suspect detained at Heathrow airport, he asked why a
terror suspect would have my number. I explained I was establishing a charity (Averroes Palestinian
Care Foundation), I had made contact with a number of individuals from various backgrounds, in
networking with these people I suspect a number of them had retained my contact details in their
He did not appear satisfied with this response and went on to ask me a number of questions
including my views on Islamic extremism, which mosques I attended, whether I had travelled
abroad recently and personal details about family members. After thirty five minutes he left me a
mobile phone number and let me go.
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Following this interview with MI5 officers I received unrestrained phone contact in relation to
working with the Security Services. The phonecalls, often of a detailed personal nature, persisted
with continued pressure to work with the Security Services accompanied by threats of detention,
harassment and ill-treatment abroad.
On one occasion he asked me of my travel plans, I mentioned I was planning on visiting Saudi
Arabia next year for Hajj. He warned “I advise against foreign travel for a while if you don’t want to
be detained as a terror suspect.”
In another call he accused me of raising funds for Afghan and Chechen insurgents over the internet
he said “… any links with terrorism would necessitate detention under the Terrorism Act, it is in your
best interest to consider our offer (to work for them).” Tom said if I agreed to work with the
Security Services I could prove my good standing and he would lift the travel restrictions and
threats of detention.
On other occasions the threats were more directed and antagonistic.
In one warning, “We’ve made the Saudi authorities aware of our concerns for you. You should know
they are not averse to torture.”
“You would be surprised at what we are capable of, I wouldn’t want you to take this lightly Mr Sher,
we have a very good understanding with our Arab partners.”
These latter threats implied that I would be detained in Saudi Arabia if I travelled for the Hajj and as
a terror suspect, tortured. To my knowledge it would suggest the Security Services colluded with the
Saudi authorities to encourage torture interfering with Article 3 ECHR rights.
After six months of intrusive phonecalls I agreed to meet Tom in August 2010 at the Bradford
Hilton. I was shown to a room where two men from the Security Services identified themselves as
Tom and Andrew. I made it clear as I could that I did not appreciate uninvited, unrestrained contact
by phone. I made them aware that as a result of their approach I was being treated for anxiety by
my doctor and my health would not allow me to work with them. They welcomed the opportunity to
discuss how I could assist them with information on Islamist groups. I was very candid in my
approach and told them I only agreed to the meeting to stop any further badgering to work with the
He said they were concerned about Muslim extremism in the Middle East and North Africa where
they were recruiting young western fighters, I said I had no information, they however insisted that
I could help them. I told him for the moment I’m only interested in charity work and as a result of
their approach my health would not allow me to work with them. He seemed more than prepared to
exploit these personal vulnerabilities. He said he would end the travel restrictions and threats of
detention in return for co-operation. He seemed to justify his approach with the view that as the
perceived terrorist threat comes from Muslim people, he was justified in seeking to recruit more
people from those communities. At the meeting and on numerous occasions during telephone
conversations I made it explicitly clear that I would not work with the Security Services.
Unfortunately following this meeting I continued to receive unwanted contact. In an attempt to stop
this permanently I approached a solicitor in October 2011 who wrote to the Security Services with a
clear warning that any further contact would be viewed as harassment, to desist from any further
Although contact does appear to have stopped since the letter was addressed. With the threats
conveyed I am apprehensive of travelling abroad or of potentially being stopped under terrorism
I am certain if I was blond with Caucasian skin type, nobody would have bothered me into
committing these acts against my community, but I’m a Pakistani Muslim and I feel a little like I was
criminalised because of my ethnic origin.
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