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Muslim community condemns East End vigilante patrols

PUBLISHED: 13:08 22 January 2013 | UPDATED: 13:08 22 January 2013

The Muslim community in Tower Hamlets has united in its condemnation of self-styled vigilantes after footage of groups patrolling the streets of Whitechapel emerged online.

The East London Mosque was quick to issue a statement distancing itself from the actions of what it describes as a “tiny minority” who filmed themselves harassing passers-by under cover of darkness.

Local Imams have also used sermons to condemn the actions of the patrol, which has been filmed pouring away people’s alcoholic drinks and hurling homophobic abuse.

Imam Shyakh Shams Ad-Duha, a principle at Islamic education centre Ebrahim College in Whitechapel, used a sermon last week - which was later uploaded to Youtube - to tackle the issue.

“I want to address very specifically and directly something we’ve all seen on social media”, he said.

“What these brothers need to understand is they will be accountable before Allah for doing these things, for damaging the image of Islam, and for misrepresenting the Sharia.

“These people must have thought ‘what in the world is going on here’. Some bloke comes up and goes ‘this is a Muslim area, you can’t drink’. I can’t even imagine – the guy’s completely stunned.

“What are the chances that this guy is gonna want to have anything to do with Islam in the future? That’s his chances of ever being interested in Islam, gone.”

The East London Mosque has also acted promptly to distance itself from the group’s actions.

A statement released last week read: “These actions are utterly unacceptable and clearly designed to stoke tensions and sow discord. We wholly condemn them.

“The East London Mosque is committed to building co-operation and harmony between all communities in this borough. The actions of this tiny minority have no place in our faith nor on our streets.

“Earlier this week we contacted the Police and the local authorities to alert them to the presence of these individuals and video. We advise anyone who has been harassed by these individuals to contact the Police.”

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