Far-right ‘Christian Patrols’ back in Whitechapel targeting Muslims
PUBLISHED: 15:25 21 January 2015 | UPDATED: 07:28 22 January 2015
“Christian Patrols” returned to Whitechapel this week as far-right campaigners claiming to target Muslim extremists roamed the East End.
Members of the nationalist group Britain First drove an armoured van to the East London Mosque on January 16 before handing out anti-Muslim leaflets in Brick Lane.
A similar “patrol” took place in the same area a year ago in response to so-called “Muslim Patrols” that resulted in Islamists being jailed for abusing the public.
On that occasion the group said it hoped to “bait” Muslims with alcohol and cigarettes in order to provoke trouble.
Police were alerted about the so-called Christian patrols and spoke to members of the group, but said no crimes were committed and no arrests made.
They added police presence had already been beefed up in Brick Lane for the area’s busy nightlife.
Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, said there was no place for the “divisive” patrols in the East End.
A spokesman for the East London Mosque in Whitechapel Road said: “They came outside the mosque and unfurled a banner, and quickly moved on to Brick Lane.”
He added: “These incursions into Tower Hamlets are very provocative and divisive and stir up tension and hatred. And they’re not welcome here.”
Rushanara Ali, who is the UK’s first British-Bangladeshi MP, said: “Time and again, people in the East End have come together to reject hatred and intolerance.
“The divisive rhetoric of fringe groups such as Britain First has no place in our East End, the proud home to one of the most vibrant and diverse communities in the UK.”
A Met police spokesman said: “Additional patrols take place in and around the Brick Lane area at weekends due to the lively night-time economy and Brick Lane has a dedicated ward team.
“We work to ensure our officers are in the right place at the right time to reassure the local community and deal with any issues that arise.”
He added: “Police continue to monitor the situation.”
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