Muslims attending a mosque in London have been pelted with eggs and stones in a suspected Islamophobic attack.
The Met Police have launched an investigation after an incident outside the Ilford Islamic Centre that prompted condemnation from local politicians.
Staff at the mosque said the items were thrown from a silver estate car by a white man with a shaved head, and that at least three other people were in the vehicle.
I am shocked and saddened to hear of this Islamophobic attack against @ilfordmosque.— Sam Tarry MP (@SamTarry) May 5, 2021
These disgraceful acts of violence and hatred have no place in Ilford, and I hope that the perpetrators face justice as soon as possible.
Solidarity with the victims. https://t.co/ml1qIgLLpZ
Ahmed Nahwaz, director and secretary of the centre, said the incident was “a shame” but that the community remained strong.
“I was caught by surprise because leading up to this we had a very quiet and peaceful 20-odd nights, and then this happened,” Mr Nahwaz said.
“We weren’t expecting it this kind of time in the period of reflection for everyone, having gone through 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.”
Mr Nawaz said police and local authorities had been “very supportive” following the incident but that attacks against the Muslim community were often “glossed over” in the media.
“We just want to be treated like humans, just like everyone else,” he said.
The police said it received a report of racially aggravated criminal damage at around 11pm on Tuesday evening at the mosque in Albert Road, Ilford.
The Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations (FORMO) said eggs and other items had been thrown at worshippers and that five people were hit, but none seriously injured.
I am in contact with the police and Albert Road Mosque about the disgusting racist attack that took place last night.— Jas Athwal (@Jas_Athwal) May 5, 2021
There is no place for hatred, racism or Islamophobia in our borough. pic.twitter.com/pSpCnfBNeB
Ilford South MP Sam Tarry said he was “shocked and saddened to hear of this Islamophobic attack”.
“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 Twitter.
“Solidarity with the victims.”
The Muslim community is observing the holy month of Ramadan, which ends next week.
Jas Athwal, Labour leader of Redbridge Council, said the council would continue to work closely with police and that security in areas surrounding the mosque would be increased.
“Racist incidents like this have no place in our borough and we will work with our friends and neighbours at Albert Road Mosque, 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.”
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the police on 101.
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