LONDON: Police in London have launched an investigation into a suspected Islamophobic attack on a group of worshippers in the city during Ramadan.
Several people were pelted with eggs and stones outside the Ilford Islamic Center in the east of the city on Tuesday, May 4, with witnesses claiming the items were thrown from a passing car driven by a white man with a shaved head. The car carried at least three other passengers.
The Metropolitan Police said it had received a report of a racially aggravated incident, including criminal damage, at around 11 p.m. The Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organizations said five people had been struck by objects, but reported no serious injuries.
The Ilford Islamic Center’s director and secretary, Ahmed Nahwaz, said: “I was caught by surprise because leading up to this we had a very quiet and peaceful 20-odd nights, and then this happened.
“We weren’t expecting it this kind of time in the period of reflection for everyone, having gone through (the coronavirus disease) COVID-19. It’s a shame (but) we’re used to it. We’re a strong community and we take it on the chin. It makes us weary rather than fearful,” he added.
“We just want to be treated like humans, just like everyone else.”
The incident stirred a strong political response, with the MP for Ilford South, Sam Tarry, saying he was “shocked and saddened” at what had happened.
“These disgraceful acts of violence and hatred have no place in Ilford, and I hope that the perpetrators face justice as soon as possible,” he said on his Twitter account. “Solidarity with the victims.”
The leader of Redbridge Council, Jas Athwal, said: “Racist incidents like this have no place in our borough and we will work with our friends and neighbors at Albert Road Mosque (Ilford Islamic Center) and the police to ensure the safety of all worshippers.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Stephen Clayman said: “We take all reports of hate crime very seriously and have launched an investigation.
“Incidents like this will not be tolerated and my officers will be undertaking enhanced patrols in the area to provide reassurance to the local community and visitors to the mosque,” he added.