London riots: Mosque worshippers ward off gangs as they ambush Whitechapel Road

16:39 09 August 2011

Stewards and worshippers warded off rioters during last night's mayhem

Stewards and worshippers warded off rioters during last night's mayhem


Worshippers confronted with chaotic scenes as they left the Whitechapel mosque last night chased off rioters and formed a protective cluster to stop thugs from entering the building.

Hundreds of Muslims from across Tower Hamlets and beyond were leaving the East London Mosque after evening prayers when violent mobs struck the area at around 10pm.

While women and children were ushered back into the mosque, a hardcore of worshippers confronted the gangs as they attacked shops and buildings on Whitechapel Road.

A ten-minute standoff ensued, with rioters attempting to mingle in the with the crowds in a bid to hide themselves as riot police closed in on the area.

Salman Farsi, the mosque’s communication chief who was witnessed the scenes, said: “Worshippers chased them away. There was a lot of shouting. A missile was hurled towards direction of mosque and the atmosphere was very tense.

“I don’t think any member of our community is going to stand for vandalism. We’re going to stand here united.

“Our mosque volunteers and stewards were calming people and guiding them back into the mosque. We advised young people to keep away from the riots and go straight home after prayers.”

Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, visited the area today and said she was told by shopkeepers and residents that they believed the rioters had come from other boroughs to cause trouble.

She said: “The worshippers must have been very frightened. Everyone is adamant these people are not going to divide our community. The rioters tried to enter the mosque with the intention of causing damage and the worshippers stood firmly against them.”

Whitechapel Road, Bethnal Green Road and Roman Road saw the worst of the damage with shops looted and windows smashed in.

Tower Hamlets Police said five officers were injured in the riots, which started at around 10pm.

Latest East London News Stories

Yesterday, 19:01

Former world boxing champ John H Stracey was back in London’s East End last night to help a fundraising sale of memorabilia of the notorious Kray twins.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Royal London Hospital hosted an party for some of its younger patients offering them a chance to meet others who face similar challenges.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Police have arrested a 19-year-old man following yesterday’s discovery of a suspicious item on a tube train heading to Canary Wharf.

Friday, October 21, 2016

New data released ahead of the UK’s largest LGBT careers conference shows that more people are worried about workplace discrimination based on their sexuality than last year.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Police have released CCTV footage of two suspects they wish to identify and speak to in connection with a commercial burglary.

Friday, October 21, 2016

A controlled explosion was carried out on the London Underground by anti-terrorist police after a suspect package was discovered on a train heading to Canary Wharf.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

With childhood obesity becoming a growing problem across the country the council is calling on residents to share their views on how to tackle the issue.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Secondary school pupils were pitted against children from neighbouring boroughs for the first part of the Schools Indoor Rowing Challenge.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news


Show Job Lists


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now