- Tower Hamlets
Muslim groups have condemned a string of YouTube videos that have been uploaded over the last few weeks by a vigilante group in Tower Hamlets.
A spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), which is based in Whitechapel commented on a series of videos that show the group’s attempt to enforce Sharia Law.
He said: “The views expressed in the videos are not justified in the religion of Islam.
“The vast majority of British Muslims do not hold this view and utterly condemn it.”
They also said of the East London Mosque, which is located just down the road: “The East London Mosque has dismissed any association with these individuals and allocated their Friday service to condemning the behaviour of this group.”
A spokesperson from the East London Mosque added: “These actions are utterly unacceptable and clearly designed to stoke tensions and sow discord.The actions of this tiny minority have no place in our faith nor on our streets.
“We advise anyone who has been harassed by these individuals to contact the Police.”
Since mid January, a ‘vigilante’ group has uploaded photos of themselves attempting to impose Islamic law in Tower Hamlets.
One video shows the men forcing a passerby to pour away a can of beer, saying it is ‘a forbidden evil”, before then telling women to cover up and referring to them as “naked animals with no self respect.”
In another video the men burn posters advertising bras because they deem the posters to be “vile and disgusting”.
A man is shown to be verbally abused in another video for being “dirty” and a “fag”. A member of the gang tells the man: “You’re walking through a Muslim area dressed like a fag.”
“You need to get out of here quicker. You’re dirty mate. Look at your shoes” before another told him to “get out of here, you fag.”
In the video, the men also appear outside the East London Mosque on Whitechapel road, telling people to: “Move away from the mosque…we don’t respect those who disobey God.”
The MCB have responded to the vigilantes through a video they have uploaded to YouTube. In the response, Ibrahim Megra of the council said: “This is a multicultural, multifaithed, liberal society and people have every right, provided they are within the perimeters of the law, to choose a lifestyle for themselves.
“Sharia forbids Muslims from taking the law into their own hands…clearly these young men have misunderstood the teaching of the faith.”
The Metropolitan Police have confirmed that two men have been arrested since the initial sightings of the group on the weekend of January 12, 2013.
A man, 22, was arrested in Acton, West London and a man, 19, who voluntarily attended an undisclosed East London police station have been arrested in connection with the investigation.
They were arrested on suspicion of GBH and Public Order offences and have been bailed until dates in February and March pending further enquiries.
Police patrols around East London have been increased to reassure the local community.
Anyone with information relevant to the investigation is asked to contact police at firstname.lastname@example.org for the attention of DI Cliff Jones, DS Chris Bagshaw, DC Stacey Yarker or to report it to police via 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.