Imam loan fraud accused: '˜I was forced to undress'
A FORMER Imam has said he was forced to take off his hat and overclothes in a meeting with men who said he owed them money.
Aminur Rahman was giving evidence for the first time during his trial accused of a £26,000 loan fraud.
He is accused of taking loans from worshippers at the Jami Mosque in Victoria Road North, Southsea, where he was Imam in 2012 and 2013.
Addressing jurors through a Bengali Sylheti interpreter he said he met Mozib Khan and brothers Iraque Miah and Iqbal Miah in the mosque on June 24, 2013.
Jurors had earlier been shown a transcript of the meeting, held in his room, recorded by Iqbal Miah.
A video that was recorded shows Rahman without his religious headwear and in a traditional underclothing, which he told jurors he would never usually wear in front of people.
Timothy Shorter, defending, asked if there was a gap between Iqbal Miah arriving and the recording starting.
Rahman said: ‘Half an hour. When he started speaking to me he showed no respect at all towards me.
‘He described what he could do with me.’
Rahman added: ‘And he also suggested to me what I should tell. He also told me that other people are coming and if I don’t say whatever he’s telling me to say I will face danger.’
Rahman told jurors he felt ‘anxious’ and ‘worried’ following the meeting.
Asked whether during the meeting he said what he wanted or what Iqbal Miah told him to say, Rahman said: ‘I had to say whatever Iqbal Miah told me to say. I did that for the security of my life.’
Rahman said no date had been set to repay the loans he accepted taking and that he still intended to repay them.
Rahman, 30, now of Lydgait, Haddington, Scotland, denies 18 charges of fraud by abusing his position of Imam by seeking loans which he did not intend to repay when due and/or knowing or believing there was a risk he would not repay the loans when due.