Religious leader’s helper in court after alleged threats to Muslim group members.
The right-hand man of a Muslim leader at the centre of an Auckland mosque row has been charged with threatening to kill.
Imran Patel allegedly threatened senior members of the New Zealand Muslim Association, which owns the Avondale Islamic Centre in Blockhouse Bay Rd.
The alleged threats arose from tensions between two Islamic factions battling for control of the centre.
Patel and the imam, Abu Abdulla, were among those who had been barred from entering the mosque by the association.
Patel appeared at the Auckland District Court yesterday charged with verbally threatening to kill and/or do grievous bodily harm.
He arrived in court wearing a checked shirt and black pants and accompanied by two supporters.
Patel said he wanted to enter a not guilty plea when he appeared at the Registrar's Court but was advised by the registrar to speak to a lawyer first.
He said, through a duty lawyer, that he would be applying for legal aid.
Patel was remanded on bail until June 17 for a plea before the registrar and faces an 11pm-7am curfew at his bail residence.
He was also ordered not to associate with the victims or the alleged co-offenders, who were named by the court as Abdulla Hamam and Abdelrahman Hamam - sons of Mr Abdulla. The two men have not been charged.
All four men have been banned by the Islamic association from four mosques it owns in Avondale, Ponsonby, Ranui and Birkenhead.
Mr Abdulla, who is also known as Mohamed Abu Hamam, was named in a United States Embassy warning in 2005 as a person being monitored by the police for potential terrorist allegiances.
The Avondale centre was last week closed indefinitely after violence and threats against members there escalated.
Haider Lone, the mosque's administrator and association immediate past president, was severely beaten a day after the trespass notices were issued and was in hospital for 10 days with fractures and a serious injury to his eye socket.
A Herald reporter was last week threatened by a worshipper that he and the paper would be harmed if further reports on the mosque or the imam appeared.
Read the full coverage of this case here: tinyurl.com/aklmosque