Arrests over 'Muslim Patrol' vigilante videos in London
Muslims react with horror to footage of men harassing the public in the name of Islam
TWO MEN have been arrested after videos of 'Islamic vigilantes' patrolling the streets of East London and harassing members of the public were posted online. The footage shows men ordering people to move away from a 'Muslim area' for various reasons including their sexuality and clothing.
The London Evening Standard reports that the two men, aged 19 and 22, were held by police over an attack on a group of four people in Shoreditch earlier this month. But the paper adds: "Police have also questioned the men in connection with video clips uploaded on to YouTube in which members of a group calling themselves Muslim Patrol confront members of the public."
The first of the videos appeared last week and it was followed up another clip that showed the vigilantes abusing a gay man and telling him to "get out" of their neighbourhood.
Western women are referred to as "naked animals with no self-respect" by the vigilantes and in the first clip a woman in a mini-skirt is ordered to cover up. Bemused passers-by are ordered to throw away "evil" alcohol by the gang as they are in a "Muslim area" and throughout the three minutes of footage members of the patrol repeatedly drone the words "Muslim patrol", at one point even adding "have a good day".
The clip ends with the narrator apparently blaming a traffic accident on the fact that a cyclist had disobeyed Sharia Law.
The second video shows members of the Muslim Patrol abusing a gay man as he makes his way through East London. The gang warn him that he is "walking through a Muslim area dressed like a fag".
They tell him: "Get out of here you fag... Don't stay around here any more." He is also accused of being "dirty" and is abused for apparently wearing makeup.
The East London Mosque has moved fast to distance itself from the footage. "These actions are utterly unacceptable and clearly designed to stoke tensions and sow discord," it said. "We wholly condemn them. The actions of this tiny minority have no place in our faith nor on our streets."
Writing in The Independent, Muslim academic Hasnet Lais compared the vigilantes to a "Mutaween-like lynch mob", a reference to the Saudi Arabian religious police. "If ordinary Britons are becoming casualties of this kind of morality police, surely it's the duty of civic-minded Muslims to protect their neighbourhoods from all the clerical bullying?" he added.
He said such radical tactics were bound to stir up hate, and there was certainly outrage among readers of the Daily Mail and elsewhere on the internet, but Lais insisted: "Contrary to the fevered fantasies of racists, these kinds of activities are limited to a few oddballs in the British Muslim community."