Search

Win a £100 Amazon voucher in this week’s Advertiser

On sale now

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

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

Archant

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 News Stories

Yesterday, 10:00
Hidden Heroes... film-makers come into the Limelight

Young film-makers from London’s East End scooped the top prize at this year’s Limelight London film awards for best animated feature.

Fri, 17:32
Dragons are out in Canary Wharf [photo: Felix Clay]

Office staff took to dragon boat racing at Canary Wharf in East London last night to raise £35,000 for blood cancer charities.

Fri, 16:13
Fed up... Britain's 'Greenest Tenant' Tom Gleed's community garden raided by thieves yet again

The community of London’s East End has rallied round to protect a public garden lovingly tended by Britain’s greenest tenant which has been raided by thieves for the fifth time.

Fri, 13:27
Russell Brand given meal at Salvation Army's Whitechapel hostel for the homeless

Comedian Russell Brand dropped by for dinner at the Salvation Army’s Booth House hostel in London’s East End last night to share a meal with the homeless.

Most read news

Competitions

Good times with Greenall's!

Good times with Greenall’s, a Great British gin sponsors Great British racing.

Escape to the picturesque sights of Cornwall

Summer is finally here, and what is the number one holiday location in the UK during the warmer months? Cornwall, of course!

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Docklands and East London Advertiser e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder