Video: Bishop of Stepney condemns BNP linked 'Christian Patrols' in East End
PUBLISHED: 10:35 04 February 2014 | UPDATED: 17:46 04 February 2014
EXCLUSIVE: A group with links to the British National Party is holding "Christian Patrols" in the East End to defend what it calls British soil against Muslim extremists.
Nationalist group Britain First drove into Brick Lane in two armoured Gulf War Land Rovers on Friday with leaflets warning of “Muslim Patrols” in the area.
The group drew the opprobrium of the Bishop of Stepney, who said there was “no place” for them in Tower Hamlets.
Britain First’s chairman, Paul Golding, formerly a senior figure in the BNP, said he hoped to “draw out” Muslim extremists using cigarettes and beer as “bait”.
Speaking to the Advertiser, Mr Golding, who left the BNP three years ago, said: “This is going to be a regular thing. We’re going to be out there every weekend to draw out these ‘Muslim Patrols’.”
In December, three members of self-styled Muslim Patrols were jailed for threatening the public for “un-Islamic” behaviour.
Last week, Britain First, which is run by ex-BNP members who fell out with leader Nick Griffin, posted a video online of its first Christian Patrol in Brick Lane.
In the video, one man is shown saying: “This is our country. You want to live here, you adhere by our laws.”
The men stood outside the East London Mosque in Whitechapel smoking and drinking beer, then unfurled a banner with the word “resistance” on it.
The Rt Rev Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney, said: “East London is proud of its generous attitude to diversity, based on tolerance and respect.
“There is no place for vigilante patrols, Christian, Muslim or any other faith, on the streets of Tower Hamlets.”
He added: “Our kaleidoscopic community thrives on celebrating our differences, not condemning them.”
A spokesman for the East London Mosque said: “Britain First’s patrol does not represent Christians, just as al-Muhajiroun’s patrols did not represent Muslims. Both are tiny, extreme groups, unwelcome in our community.”
Mayor Lutfur Rahman seconded the Bishop’s comments, saying the men would “feel the full force of the law”.