Fears of heightened community tensions following fires at two London faith buildings have triggered police to step up patrols around East End mosques.
Met chiefs announced a 24-hour surveillance around “at risk” sites last week. And marked police cars have been patrolling the area around the East London Mosque complex in Whitechapel Road, with the help of volunteers. The move follows last week’s fires at a community centre in Muswell Hill, north London, and an Islamic boarding school in Chislehurst, south east London.
Salman Farsi, of the East London Mosque, admitted: “It’s been pretty tense in the community, and people are talking about the incidents. We have had messages of support from partners and so on – they are all aware that the mosque is a possible target. It’s a visible presence from police, and that acts as the best deterrent. They have been doing a fantastic job.”
Tower Hamlets borough commander Ch Supt Dave Stringer also met with Mayor Lutfur Rahman and faith leaders to try to allay fears of attacks on Muslims after the brutal murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich.
Mr Rahman condemned plans by far right group the English Defence League to march through Tower Hamlets in August. But the Home Office confirmed police have not yet applied for a ban on the demonstration. A spokesman for Scotland Yard said a decision would not be made until “a couple of weeks before” the planned march.