Portsmouth Imam defrauded community which rallied to help him

CALLS have been made for a former Imam to be deported after he was convicted of pocketing more than £26,000 of loans from worshippers.

Thursday, 17th March 2016, 6:00 am
Aminur Rahman

Aminur Rahman was a religious leader of the Jami Mosque in Southsea when he asked people for 20 loans in 2012 and 2013, jurors at Portsmouth Crown Court heard.

The disgraced 30-year-old, who was living in the Victoria Road North mosque at the time, was given cash and bank transfers – which he fraudulently kept.

Yesterday, after almost three days deliberating, a jury found Rahman guilty of 20 counts of fraud – much to the delight of Muslim leaders in the city.

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Abdul Jalil was the president of the Jami Mosque at the time of the crimes and said he was disgusted by the disgraced Imam’s actions.

‘He has brought shame on the Muslim community and on his family,’ said Mr Jalil.

‘He should be deported. We don’t want people like that in our community.

‘We are delighted he was found guilty and that justice has been done.’

At the trial the jury was told how documents seized by police showed Rahman had sent £16,500 to his native Bangladesh.

One of the victims, Iqbal Miah, told the court how he gave £5,000 to Rahman and then, while Mr Miah was in Mecca, gave his consent for his brother Iraque Miah to give Rahman another £5,000.

Rahman paid back £5,000. However, the 48-year-old is still waiting for the other £5,000 to be repaid.

Speaking to The News, Mr Miah said: ‘He betrayed people’s trust.

‘It’s not good for the community.

‘There are other victims who did not come forward.

‘Everyone’s family has been affected. It’s not only me.’

He said there was a clear message from the conviction to be vigilant of people in trusted positions, including religious leaders.

‘As a community, not only in Portsmouth but anywhere, we should be more vigilant,’ he added.

Prosecutor Edward Elton said worshippers were asked for the cash, being told by Rahman he needed it as he was getting married, for a madrasa in Bangladesh, to pay teachers at a school and simply because he needed money urgently.

He also told worshippers cash was needed for an operation for his sister back home, that he had lent money to other people, he was holding money in trust and that he was meeting someone in London and needed cash for a taxi.

Nasar Miah, 47, of Fratton, who loaned him £500, said there was a circle of deception.

‘He would borrow money to pay it off,’ he said. ‘When you asked for the money, he would get a loan to get the money.

‘It goes against all the teaching of Islam. It’s the worst thing you can do, to deceive people. Islam is about honesty and it goes against Islamic teachings, especially being an Imam.’

Rahman is due in court today for a pre-sentence hearing.