The Metropolitan Police and community groups in Tower Hamlets have condemned a so-called Christian patrol group, which targeted the East London Mosque last month.
Britain First, a far-right group of activists, uploaded a video of the ‘Christian Patrol’ in Tower Hamlets online, showing the group drinking and handing out leaflets before unfolding a banner with the word “resistance” on it.
A Metropolitan Police Service spokesperson said that they were aware of the internet video. A council statement said that there will be an increased police presence in the affected areas to help reassure the community.
The spokesperson said: “We will work with our partners in policing the diverse communities in Tower Hamlets to provide a safe environment for those who live, work and visit the borough.
No arrests have been made, but the spokesperson added that they “take these incidents very seriously and any activities that may raise community tension will be monitored”.
The incident follows a group, who call themselves a Muslim patrol, which targeted gay people and those drinking alcohol in the borough last January.
Mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “The East End has a long and honourable tradition of opposing those who preach hatred and provoke community division.”
“There is no place for vigilante patrols on the streets of Tower Hamlets. I can reassure the community that the council, police and our partners are taking these incidents very seriously.”
In a statement released by Tower Hamlets Council and both the borough’s Muslim and Christian communities on Monday, Reverend Alan Green, Chair of Tower Hamlets Inter Faith Forum, said: ”Small groups of men from outside the borough claiming to patrol on behalf of either Muslims or Christians do not represent us and are not welcome here.”
Dilowar Khan, a spokesperson for the East London Mosque, said: “We are working with the authorities in response to this incident, which has left many people in fear of intimidation and threats. Our response to the so-called ‘Muslim Patrols’ was unequivocal; our response to the so-called ‘Christian Patrols’ will be the same. We will not let those who espouse hatred to damage our wonderful community relations.”
Jack Gilbert, Director of Rainbow Hamlets, an LGBT forum within the borough, said: “We stand with our neighbours in Tower Hamlets, gay and straight, of all faiths and none, of all ages and gender identities, and from the disabled and deaf communities, united against all forms of extremism and hatred.”
Tower Hamlets council has said that it is “proactively working with partners in the community and police to monitor the situation and will take appropriate action.”