UK: Arrests awaited after attack outside mosque in East London
By Hamed Chapman
London, (The Muslim News): Police have stepped up patrols outside Ilford Islamic Centre in East London after a car drove by and threw eggs and stones at five people returning from Iftar and prayers on Tuesday.
It is understood that volunteers at the Albert Road mosque have given CCTV footage to the police to help them identify the perpetrators but so far there have been no immediate arrests.
“We take it on the chin and move on and prepare ourselves for another one, unfortunately,” said Ahmad Nawaz, a director and secretary at the Islamic Centre, told the Ilford Recorder.
“This incident has caught a lot of attention because it was outside a mosque but we get reports of things like this happening all the time and ladies and old people get harassed on a regular basis,” he was quoted saying.
“With everyone having suffered through Covid and knowing life is so fragile, it doesn’t change anything for some people. Bigots still exist and they don’t see anything different.”
Bashir Patel, Chairman of the Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations (FORMO), also warned that more has to be done to address the wider issues which are causing increasing incidents of Islamophobia.
“Redbridge does have an Islamophobia problem with attacks on Muslims and our faith. We hope the council can deal with this locally and our MPs can lobby the government to toughen up hate crime laws and give mosques and places of worship more protection,” Patel said.
A joint statement issued by Lesley Seary, chief executive of Redbridge Council, and Stephen Clayman, the Met’s East Area BCU Commander, called the attack “truly appalling” and said it impacts the whole community.
“The council and Redbridge police are working together to investigate this crime and support residents in the area. We will be closely monitoring the situation. There is a strong sense of community spirit in our borough, and such incidents will not be tolerated.”
Ilford South MP Sam Tarry further said that he was “deeply troubled” to hear of the attack and said he called leading members of the mosque’s congregation to offer his support.
“I stand in solidarity with all those affected by this hate crime, which we will not accept as a community of people in Ilford who welcome people of all faiths and backgrounds.”
“Please be assured I will be working with the police and officials to ensure you are safe from such attacks as we must work to stop any level of hate crime in its tracks.”
Ilford North MP Wes Streeting called the “cowardly” attack a “complete disgrace” and said he was “saddened and alarmed to hear of an increase in the number of Islamophobic incidents in the area and stand in solidarity with Ilford’s Muslims.”
[Photo: Ilford Islamic Centre Mosque seen from Albert Road. Creative Commons Licence. Copyright Robert Lamb]
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