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”
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
When the man, who appears clearly distressed in the video,
asks why they are bothering him, the group hurls abuse at him.
you’re walking through a Muslim area dressed like a fag. You need to get out of
“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.
young woman confronted by the group said she was appalled by their
“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
“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
“Patrols in the areas affected have also been increased in an
effort to catch those carrying this out and to reassure the local
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
“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.
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
The Muslim Council of Britain, a Muslim community
representative organization, told the Post that the group was an
“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.”