We met Anis around 2011. He used to home teach us the Holy Quran. We got on really well with him, to the point we became really good friends, and he became someone we would often turn to for advice and direction in personal challenges, because of his approach to matters and his wisdom. Anis like us, was a foodie at heart and loved good food and desserts! We often used to share ideas about any good restaurants out there which are worth visiting.Anis was someone we could completely rely upon in times of distress and difficulties and he was always there for us, whenever we needed him. Anis never had an ulterior motive, nor did he expect anything in return for his kindness and generosity. He would do every good deed, for the sake of God Almighty and he would carry out random acts of kindness, with no expectation of reward. We admired and respected this unique quality about Anis as you rarely meet people in life, with such a clean and pure heart and conscience.
We affirmatively stand by Anis, in his darkest hour which is highly unjust. For all the times Anis has been there for us, we in return will reciprocate Anis with the same level of support and more that he deserves.
Romile Sheikh and Farzana Sheikh
I have known Brother Anis for roughly 5 years as I met him through my husband as sometimes he would come and get him for Friday prayers or he would come into our home and see our kids and they would recite Quran to him to see if the pronunciation was correct as he is a fluent speaker in Arabic. He was even giving my kids Arabic lessons online to further their Arabic and he was very patient with my son as my son is a bit dreamy at times but he learnt a lot studying Arabic with him.
Anis is very knowledgeable as he studied abroad so he is like a walking library. If I needed to know something or needed an answer in regards to explanations of a verse in the Quran or so on, he was always able to answer it. He is a very humble brother, never heard him raise his voice or even argue with anyone and I actually looked at him as an older brother to me because I would always go to him for advice even with my personal problems and he was always empathetic and dealt with me very fairly over my personal matters and he always went out on a limb to help me and I will always remember all the sincere advice he has given me. He wears his heart on his sleeve and what you see is what you get with him, he means no one any harm and it’s not in him to harm others.
I first met Anis back in 2012 when there was a sister I was interested in getting married to and he was representing her. What I wasn’t aware of at the time was that him taking the time to represent her was just another example of Anis’ selfless and caring nature of helping out others and putting other people’s needs before his own. My first impression when I met him to talk about her was of someone friendly, relaxed and someone who genuinely cared about people. From that first meeting onwards we discussed many matters both religious and otherwise and it wasn’t until some significant time later that it became clear to me that he was actually an exceptionally knowledgeable brother. This was mainly because he was never boastful about where or how much he’d studied and his demeanour was always so genuinely humble that it totally passed me by! As I got to know him a little better I found out that other people I knew already had studied under Anis and would have nothing but good things to say about him.
When I heard about the conviction I was saddened and shocked. At a point in his life when he was first hand seeing a humanitarian disaster unfolding before his eyes, I can fully understand the emotional duress that led to his wanting to help but I cannot understand the sentence given to him as anything other than vindictive oppression.
Anis is an excellent and upstanding man and everyone who has known him personally, worked with him or studied with him will testify that he was someone who brought nothing but good and well-being to his community.
I have had the pleasure of being introduced to Anis Sardar via his cousin a little over 10 years ago and I have since maintained a relationship with him of a close friend. Having met different personalities throughout my extensive work experience & travels, I have found Anis to be of a sincere character and a gentleman. He is someone that can be relied upon, a hard worker & due to his proactive approach he was a pillar of support for the community. Most of all an individual who has a profound thought process – a true academic.
Hearing & following his trial, I was deeply saddened that key witnesses were barred from making any testimonies, resulting in his version of events not being displayed fairly. Further to insult were the Judge’s length of sentence not being broken down with any justification – a sad example of the failure for justice by the British courts. Hard earned tax payers money being wasted on what seems like a politically motivated appeasement for our American counterparts.
I have known Anis and his family in particular since being introduced to them through his wife in 2008, which is also when their marriage took place.
From my dear friend Umm Arwa (Anis’s wife) mouth I have come to know Anis as a family man, someone caring, kind, just, and a diligent learner and teacher, his passion for learning is evident in the vast collection of the books he has amassed. I have seen him to be a man of his local community benefitting people around him, and being the first to respond to any humanly cause. A man who like any other decent British citizen completed his 9-5 and helped to financially sustain his family. It is for this reason, I and many others are amazed to see such a man on trial for a mass murder plot. A simple man who was simply doing his regular work, fending for his family and helping his community.
Furthermore it is an abhorrent shock to see my dear friend Umm Arwa (his wife) and mother of a two years old child, to be stripped of a family man, companion and father. It is truly inhumane on all levels firstly:-
- Should he have committed any crime, he must be trialled fairly like any other British citizen
- What crime has he committed, one must establish this, if it is said his crime was to be a part of the war in Iraq 2007 – and then why is he being charged for this in 2015?
- Why can we not hear his side of the story? Is it not fair that he is trialled like any other citizen, and he has the ability to defend his case and explain the subtleties of the situation.
No doubt criminals must be punished should they be found guilty based on evident crimes, but before that should a crime not be established, and should the accuser not be given a fair trial, is this really too much to ask in civilised society. This case has brought a great deal of unrest to Anis, his wife and particularly his daughter, who has been stripped off the right to see, hold, hug and kiss her dad like any other child growing up. We all agree that no child should face such a psychological trauma which will truly leave great deal of stress on the child.
Moreover, it has separated a loving family, and brought doom and gloom upon them. Whilst other Muslims are spending this blessed month of Ramadhan (The Muslim month of fasting) with their family, this family must be enduring separation and heartache. Whilst other families will be enjoying Eid (Islamic festival following Ramadhan) with their families, this family must bear the separation of a father, and loving husband.
Moreover, it has traumatised and antagonised his relatives and friends who are deeply worried and sick to the stomach. As it is evident, this situation must be re-assed and a fair trial must follow. Justice must prevail in order to reflect the ideals we as a society uphold which are truth, honesty and transparency.
For this reason we urge any decent human, Muslim or other to appeal for this case to be re-considered and for justice to be brought to light.
Kalthoom Malalai Ahmadi
I had always heard my husband talk very highly of a brother that he knew named Anis, he would say he studying Arabic and Islamic studies and he a great guy, well he ended up marrying my sister and became part of the family where we found out that he really is a great guy, whenever we needed help with things you could rely on him, my car breaking down, moving house, advice and a great uncle to my kids. It upsets me that he has been wrongly convicted as anyone who know him knows him knows he would intentionally hurt anyone, he is just compelled to help as any decent human being would be when he see in justice. We will carry on fighting for him just like he would do for us and insha Allah we will be successful.
I have had the opportunity not only to know Anis Sardar as a relative but also as a kind and generous individual. I grew up with him, so I am able to say that since he became an adult he has had a desire to study Arabic and the deen (religion) abroad which he was able to fulfil. Upon his return from Syria we all were able to gain some knowledge from him which I am immensely grateful for. He could have charged for these classes, but he didn’t. He dedicated his time and effort to help his family gain from his wisdom.
Anis is a completely compassionate and caring person who has always tried to help and benefit the family however he can; he is incapable of hurting a fly let alone a human life so I am completely mortified that he has been unjustly imprisoned for something he hasn’t done. I can only pray that the justice system that has incriminated him will reverse their decision and be able to see the truth for themselves.
I have known Anis for 20 years now since I got married into the ‘Sardar family’. We’ve grown together from teenage to adolescent. Ever since I have met Anis, my personal understanding and perception of him has always been kind, gentle, caring, selfless and someone you can trust and depend on. I regard Anis to be a significant figure and ever so influential in my life for his countless efforts when he helped me with the life changing transition into marriage, new environment and marital advice.
I have seen Anis blossom from a teenage boy to an extraordinary mature and responsible man. Anis has successfully completed his degree in the Arabic language and went on to study for further 3 years to achieve TFL approved – a black cab driver…..I am inspired and moved by his motivation and thrive to achieve so much in life.
Anis enlightened our lives throughout the family and friends with his knowledge of Arabic language and encouraged us all to learn a new language. Nevertheless, to mention his tirelessness work with the community regardless of race or religion. Always been there for everyone to help. Whoever that knows anis personally or has heard of him says today ‘he is not a person who is violent or aggressive. On the contrary he’s truly compelling and beneficial to our society’
I am truly saddened and disheartened to hear that he was not given a ‘FAIR’ trail as a BRITISH citizen. I strongly oppose to the unexceptional sentence of 38 years before any possibility of release. Therefore, I stand in support of his campaign until he finds justice!!!!
Zarlasht Sardar (sister-in-law)
I knew of Anis for several years as an active community member who never failed to help/assist those in need. However I really got to know him in 2012 when I was looking to get married. I was in need of assistance from someone sincere and trustworthy in aiding me to find a potential spouse. I was recommended Anis by his extended family. Anis helped me though my very difficult times in numerous way for which I’m forever indebted for. His invaluable and selfless help and assistance made my life so much easier by Allah mercy. Anis is an amazing brother and truly our community is in loss without him. We stand in solidarity with Anis Sardar.
I have known Anis since April 2012. He was recommended to me as I was looking for someone who could provide my 2 children with Qur’an home schooling. When I met Anis I was instantly impressed as he was extremely respectful and down to earth. I introduced my children to him and they also took an instant liking to him.
A few months into the children’s Saturday classes, I approached Anis for the possibility of him providing a few family members with a weekly class on Islamic Law. Anis obliged and up until his arrest he was holding a weekly class at our house.
During this period of 3 years I built up a close relationship with Anis. He was always helpful and always willing to give advice when I asked for anything. I soon found that Anis had a very good sense of humour and although he tried to keep serious whilst teaching us we were always able to make him laugh.
My children also had a very close relationship with Anis. He took a keen interest in their martial arts especially my eldest son as he was competing in Judo regularly. Anis struck a very close friendship with my youngest son Yusef and would spend 10-15 minutes before every class having a laugh and a joke with him.
In the time that I knew Anis, I never experienced anything untoward in terms of his beliefs. In fact I found Anis to be someone who is extremely trustworthy and a true gentleman. I was aware of some of his work within the community and no one I know has a bad word to say about him. Above all, Anis was someone who has become part of the family. I would invite him to certain family gatherings and when he was able to attend he made an impression on everyone he met.
I pray Anis at least gets another chance to tell his side of what happened and hopefully everyone involved will see what a good human being he is.
We had been looking for someone to teach our children the Qur’an for some time. My husband informed me that he had found a teacher for our children in April 2012. This was the first time I was introduced to brother Anis.
My first impression of brother Anis was that he was a very down to earth type of man. He was happy to answer any questions we had. He actually met the children on that day and he seemed to be an instant hit as he was keen on martial arts like my children.
In the following months, brother Anis would teach the children every week on a Saturday. I found him to be very respectful and also someone who took a genuine interest in the children.
My husband arranged for a weekly class for adults with brother Anis. This class was in the field of Islamic Law. As a convert to Islam, I found these classes as a true blessing. I was able to learn most of what I know today from these classes. In fact, we would all quite often interrupt his classes and start talking and asking question unrelated to the topic. Brother Anis always found this hilarious and we discovered through this that he has a very good sense of humour.
My children are devastated at the news of brother Anis’s imprisonment. On a personal note I’m very indebted to him for teaching my children and a few of us adults for just over 3 years. Brother Anis most definitely has become part of our family and we all miss him immensely.
Our prayers are with him and we hope he is given another opportunity to prove his case.
Since I first met my admirable friend Anis few years ago, he has been my favourite, irreplaceable companion. My kindred spirit. The most characteristic thing about Anis is his unprecedented sense of humour. It is rare to cheer everybody up in different situations, yet he always manages to do it. Moreover, he is the life and soul of a party, which makes him extremely sociable. Pointing out his tendency to be incredibly precise and insistence and perfection but in reality deep down, he is really an amiable person. Anis has a very unpredictable lifestyle, for this reason she spends a lot of time exercising. In his spare time he goes either to a swimming pool or just keeping fit which I admire most. In the future I would love to have his presence around me again sum up, Anis really deserves admiration due to his ambition and optimism. He shows people how to be a better person. I hope our friendship will never end.
Anis is my cousin and I have grown up with him. Since childhood Anis was known for his calmness, softness, and gentleness. Characteristics that have stayed with him in his adulthood. Since returning from Syria Anis has taught Arabic to me and my family for sometime which we benefitted from immensely. He has spent time a lot of time teaching and guiding our family and friends and has been a well respected and man of stature. Anis’s conviction is a shock to us all and the injustice that he is facing is even worse. I pray that Allah gives him justice and his case is dealt with fairly. May Allah reward him immensely for all the good work he has done. Nazima Qureshi My family have known Anis since 2008 when he got married, since then we have seen so many good qualities and characteristics in him. The ones that stand out the most are his care and concern for others whether that was his own family or the community around him. On numerous occasions he has been there to lend a helping hand or to give a word of advise or to teach even if that meant sacrificing his own time and comfort. He is a generous person sharing whatever he had with others and always being the one to pay for the bill before anyone else could! We saw how hardworking and dedicated he was spending over 2 years to pass his course to qualify as a black cab driver and then treating his family to a meal out to celebrate. His good nature and character is well known to his family, neighbours and community. Anis is a kind hearted, straightforward person and very beloved to all of us, so far removed from the picture that has been painted about him. We support the campaign, hope for its success and look forward to the day that he will return to his family Insha Allah. Umm Khadijah – sister in laws
I have known Anis all my life! He is my 1st cousin, my dad’s brother’s son. We grew up together like siblings 4 months apart from each other. We grew up from young teenagers into responsible adults, married with kids. Anis and I both grew up in London where we done the things teenagers do in London. We both realised there must be more to this in life when we discovered Islam even though we grew up as Muslims we didn’t practise much! As we learnt about Islam we realised there is a barrier which was Arabic we both wanted to go to study and learn Arabic. Anis went but unfortunately I was tied down as I had a good job in town with responsibilities and I was unavailable to go!
Throughout his 10 years of time he spend studying and learning Arabic and Islamic knowledge to benefit himself and others, I saw a young boy grow into a mature man who is responsible, humble and selfless person that he is. He is one of the softest person I know in my life he wouldn’t hurt anyone.
When he went to Iraq he went to help his friend’s family who was stuck! I can only imagine what kind of horrific things he must had witnessed and what he had to do to survive and to protect himself n others from secretarial violence. I have only witness good from Anis and his many acts of charities! For him to be convicted of murder he did not do with any evidence connecting him whatsoever shows me that the British justice system has failed miserably. The judge to hand a disgusting 38 years life with no parole is making my stomach turn upside down what was the judge thinking passing such a huge sentence! I 100% support justice4anis campaign for him to be set free of all charges and to be re-United with his family!
I have known Anis since he was a toddler, I, being his older cousin have always been protective of him. From his early childhood he has always had a soft and caring nature. Whenever he witness a wrong he would at least voice his displeasure at it. He has always been like this and it does not surprise me, that when he heard of ethnic cleansing of the Sunni population across the border in Iraq, he would have risked his own life to save the innocent victims. He has spent many years aboard studying Arabic and Islamic knowledge and since his return to the UK in 2007 he has always been a positive influence on our relatives, friends and the community in general. As a student of knowledge he always made himself, unselfishly, available to advise anyone of religious or any other personal issues. I am sadden to say the verdict and sentence of his case has made me lose faith in the British Justice system, something I never thought I would say.
I have known Anis Sardar since he was a child. When he grew up he always wanted to study Arabic ruling of Islam for that reason he travelled to Syria and he finished the study in ten years. When he came back he taught us Arabic Fiqh and Tajweed of Quran which is very useful to us He is very kind humble and wise. He has been accused of the crime which he hasn’t committed. I hope he will get the justice We pray that he gets justice.
My relationship with Anis is that he is my uncle. From a very young age, I have witnessed firsthand his helpful, kind and respectful personality to everyone in my family and I know what a great person he is. His knowledge and studies abroad, have made him a well approached person for many friends and family in the community.
As my uncle I know that Anis is not an aggressive or violent person and has never harmed a person out of spite.
Further studies have made him into a respected black cab driver and I am disgusted how his hard work has been demolished within a few months. I strongly disagree with his UNJUST sentence of 38 years without parole, therefore I stand for his campaign for his Justice.
Being my older brother, I’ve known Anis my whole life. His being a student of Islamic sciences has been really beneficial for me all throughout my life – he’s always been my point of reference for all things religious, whether I needed help on the etiquettes of fasting or prayer. I was fortunate to see him on his last day of freedom, it also happened to be the day I sent off my university applications; I remember feeling anxious about my choices and my chosen career path, that was the day that I probably was setting forth the chain events of my life – and the conversation I had with him regarding this really reveals his true character – I spoke to him about my concerns and his advice was given with such confidence and such reassurance, that all those now trifle anxieties had now gone. My brother has always been altruistic, and I’ve always seen him as among the best people I know. His arrest and later conviction not only shocked me, but shattered me as well. Since his arrest in 2014, I have felt this space has been left behind: no longer was he available for me to call at the press of a button, no longer was he there to give advice, and no longer was he able to provide support. He is in my prayers, and I hope this injustice is quickly rectified. Sister. Saheen Sardar
I met Anis in 2010. We had a mutual friend named Mehfuz who was my neighbour for a few years, and who introduced Anis to me. I noticed instantly that Anis was a great guy, very knowledgeable as he would also give us Arabic lessons from time to time. He was great company to be around, fun and very enthusiastic. We studied together to become London Back cab drivers and would go out and play football at least once a week. Anis was a kind man, and a wonderful friend, always there when you needed any assistance. For this reason I support his campaign for him to be treated fairly as he was a just and honest man himself
Anis and I have been married for 7 years and throughout our marriage I have only seen him to be a kind and loving husband and father. He is the type of person who has a big heart and is ready to spread his love out to everyone. He is incredibly helpful and will always be the first one to assist others in their time of need.
Our home was like advice centre where people would come to seek advice from Anis about numerous different things, Anis would always be willing to help them and would never turn anyone away. If Anis could not help them directly himself he would go to great lengths to find someone else that could. Anis would not find peace with himself until he had fulfilled the needs of those seeking his help.
I have not come across anyone as selfless as Anis, he is definitely one of a kind.
Wife, Umm Urwa
I have known Anis since around 2009. We were introduced through friends and he was introduced to me as an advanced student of knowledge who had studied in Syria for a long time. I was very interested in meeting him as I myself had studied in Syria for some time and had wanted to go back and complete my studies. I remember the first time I went to visit him seeing his massive library of Islamic books and think how fortunate he is being able to have access to all this knowledge. We got on straight away, talking about Islamic knowledge, this opinion and that opinion. I also discovered he had a dry and witty sense of humour. We’ve seen each other fairly often since then, mostly at gatherings where he would invite me, I would invite him or at mutual friends gatherings. The one thing I remember about Anis is how he was always one of the first to respond to assistance whenever I would send out a message requesting help for good causes. He was someone that could be relied on. The other thing as well that I would like to mention is that Anis is a teddy bear. He is such a gentle person, far from any ascription of violence or aggression. Fantastic guy. I support his campaign for him to be treated fairly and that he is someone who wants to help and not be a hindrance, someone who wants to protect and not harm.
I met Anis around 4 years ago through a few friends in my local area. Myself and Anis where both studying to become Black taxi drivers. We were both on the same level of our studies and he was 1 score above me, so we got chatting about the ups and down of the knowledge and we just clicked, he was an easy guy to talk to. We exchanged numbers and agreed to help/assist each other with our cab exams. After a while we were calling each regularly to check how we were getting on with the studies .At this point Anis was doing very well in his studies and I was not. I failed a few exams and was not in a good place. Anis being himself offered to help me with my studies and come round to my flat and revise with me but I declined as he was coming to the end of he’s studies and needed to finish too. He kept calling me on regular basis to make sure that I was not given up and giving me good advice and being very supportive and encouraging me that I will eventually complete the Knowledge. When he completed his studies and started work I thought he would be too busy to call me and I was still struggling. But I was very wrong thinking that. He proved his friendship and kept calling me and supporting me with my studies. I eventually finished my knowledge and started working as a black taxi driver , I think Anis could have been out about 5 months before me ,So We were in contact while at work and he was given advice again on how to keep safe and do the job properly and avoid any bad issues at work. Anis is a very helpful person and we liked him very much. Not flashy, boastful or arrogant in away rather he is very humble person, good sense of humour and a guy with a very big heart. He would help anybody if they asked him. He will truly be missed.
The case of Anis Sardar is indeed a tragic one. This was a case where there was no actual evidence to connect Anis to the bomb and even the Americans accepted that it was placed somewhere where it was unlikely that they were the target. Adding to this, it appears that a number of key witnesses were unable to give evidence as the court would not grant them anonymity. To make matters worse, he was given a sentence of 38 years.
Anis’ crime was that he went to help his fellow brothers and sisters who were subjected to the most horrific crimes in Iraq following the sectarian chaos that had been created by the illegal war.
This is a matter about standing up for justice and speaking out against injustice irrespective of our race, religion or creed. We may turn a blind eye to this thinking it does not concern us. Here, I am reminded of the statement of Martin Niemöller who said following:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me”.
The duty is upon all of us to stand up against all forms of oppression and injustice as this was the way of all the Prophets of Allah. Accordingly, I would urge you all to support Justice4Anis Campaign.
Imam Shakeel Begg, Lewisham Islamic Centre