Wednesday, January 23, 2013
London - Muslim ‘Modesty Patrol’ Stalking Streets Of London
London - Borough officials, community leaders and police condemned a group of self-proclaimed vigilantes who took it upon themselves to patrol the streets of London confronting people they deemed as indulging in “non-Muslim” behavior.
Earlier this month, a group who had claimed an area in East London was a “Muslim area” had told people that alcohol was banned, or that they were dressed inappropriately.
The group, who dubbed itself a “Muslim patrol,” filmed the incidents and posted the footage on YouTube.
In one video, which was first published last week by the UK news portal The Commentator, the group could be seen destroying advertisements for H&M lingerie on bus shelters in the Whitechapel area of London.
“The Muslims have taken it upon themselves to command the good and forbid the evil and cover up these naked women,” one of the vigilantes says in the video.
Another video shows the group harassing members of the public for consuming alcohol. In one incident, a member of the public is told to dispose of a can of beer he is drinking.
The individual shown in the video is clearly shocked when he is told it is a Muslim area and that alcohol is “evil and banned” as they take his beverage away from him.
In yet another video, which begins with a logo stating that “Islam will dominate the world,” followed by a homophobic graphic, the group can be seen shouting at a man.
One member of the “patrol” shouts: “Hello mate, don’t you know this is a Muslim area?” He asks the man why he is dressed “like that” while another shouts “Homosexual! Homosexual.”
When the man, who appears clearly distressed in the video, asks why they are bothering him, the group hurls abuse at him.
“Because you’re walking through a Muslim area dressed like a fag. You need to get out of here.”
“You’re gay mate, get out of here you bloody fag. Don’t stay around here anymore.”
The self-styled group also stops people for dressing “inappropriately,” or for possessing alcohol near a mosque.
One young woman confronted by the group said she was appalled by their actions.
“This is Great Britain,” she said, to which the patrol can be heard saying, “We don’t care. It’s not so Great Britain, you understand? Vigilantes are implementing Islam.”
The London Metropolitan Police said that they are treating the incidents with “appropriate gravity,” adding that they are aware of the incidents and are increasing police patrols in the area.
“We are aware of incidents over the weekend of January 12-13, where members of the community had suffered harassment by as yet unidentified individuals stating the area was a ‘Muslim area’ and claiming to be a ‘Muslim patrol,’ a police spokesman said.
The police said it was engaging with a range of people in order to address the issue and find those responsible for the incidents.
“Patrols in the areas affected have also been increased in an effort to catch those carrying this out and to reassure the local community.
Officers have already been engaging with the communities of Tower Hamlets [Borough] including the businesses and mosques, and are working with local community leaders, influential people, local businesses and the local authority about what is being done, and can be done, to address concerns and identify those responsible,” the police said.
The police are urging anyone who has been a victim of the vigilantes, or anyone who knows the perpetrators, to come forward.
The Tower Hamlets Council told The Jerusalem Post they are “proactively working with partners in the community and police” to monitor for further incidents and take appropriate action.
“This is an isolated incident by a few individuals whose actions go entirely against the council’s and community’s ethos of One Tower Hamlets. We are proud of the community cohesion in our borough and know that the vast majority of residents believe that people from all backgrounds should be treated with dignity and respect,” a Tower Hamlets spokesman said on Monday.
Alan Green, chair of the Tower Hamlets Interfaith Forum said, “The behavior of the very few people who call themselves the ‘Muslim patrol’ does not represent the vast majority of Muslims living in Tower Hamlets.
These are troublemakers seeking to undermine the mutual respect which is at the heart of our diverse and vibrant borough and ensures that people of different faiths and view-points can live harmoniously together.”
A London Muslim Center spokesman said, “We wholly condemn their behavior.
They are not welcome in our community. We deplore the actions of a small minority who sow discord within our communities. It has no place in our faith, neither in its teachings nor practices.”
The Muslim Council of Britain, a Muslim community representative organization, told the Post that the group was an unrepresentative minority.
“We cannot comment on the veracity of this video, particularly as the website [The Commentator] you refer to revels in trading anti-Muslim stories. Nevertheless, if the contents of this is true, then we would urge the police to intervene; we do not condone such vigilantism.”