Jim Fitzpatrick MP blasts ‘Christian Patrols’ in East End
PUBLISHED: 11:03 12 February 2014 | UPDATED: 11:09 12 February 2014
Jim Fitzpatrick MP has blasted a far-right group that held “Christian Patrols” in the East End, saying the only people patrolling the street should be police.
His comments - the first from an MP on the patrols - came as a joint statement was issued by the mayor, the police and religious leaders condemning nationalist group Britain First.
Mr Fitzpatrick said: “I think that the prospect of vigilantism, whether it be Muslim patrols or Christian patrols, is horrid.”
He added: “I want to see police patrols on our streets, not individuals with a religious or ideological axe to grind.”
Far-right group Britain First drove armoured Gulf War land rovers into Brick Lane on January 31 to “draw out” so-called Muslim Patrols using alcohol as “bait”.
Its chairman, Paul Golding, formerly a senior British National Party member, said they were responding to self-styled Muslim Patrols in east London, three members of which were jailed in December for threatening the public.
Police said they were taking all such incidents seriously and that no arrests have been made.
The patrols were condemned by political and religious leaders in a joint statement released this week.
Rev Alan Green, chair of Tower Hamlets inter-faith forum, said: “Small groups of men from outside the borough claiming to patrol on behalf of either Muslims or Christians do not represent us and are not welcome here.”
Dilowar Khan, executive director of East London Mosque, said: “We will not let those who espouse hatred to damage our wonderful community relations.”
John Biggs, Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “There can be no place for vigilantes, from whatever direction, but particularly those with messages of hate on our streets.”
Mayor Lutfur Rahman said the borough had a record of opposing hatred and that the group would “feel the full force of the law”.