Attack on Muslims outside London mosque condemned

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Masjid E Bilal in London

LONDON : Mosques and an anti-Muslim monitoring group on Thursday condemned an attack against Muslims earlier in the week at a mosque in East London.

Two Muslims were injured in a racially aggravated assault around 9 p.m. Tuesday outside the Sri Lankan Muslim Center in East Ham.

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The attack was carried out by thugs carrying bottles and hockey sticks. It took place as worshippers were going inside for iftar, the fast-breaking meal during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Two of them suffered minor injuries from broken glass.

The Evening Standard, a London newspaper, reported eyewitness saying there were around 15 “European males” armed with “wooden poles, beer bottles, fluorescent light tubes and stones.”

A spokesman for London’s police confirmed they were investigating “a report of racially aggravated common assault following an incident outside a mosque in East Ham.”

“Police were called to reports that a group of men in Pilgrims Way, armed with bottles and hockey sticks, had attacked members of the mosque,” the spokesman said.

“One suspect is said to have set alight some paper in a bin outside the mosque. The suspects fled prior to the police’s arrival.

“Officers searched the area but found no trace of the suspects. A number of people suffered minor injuries but did not require medical treatment.”

The police spokesman added that they would put on extra patrols in the area and that no arrests have been made.

Tell MAMA, an organization that supports victims of anti-Muslim hate and records anti-Muslim incidents, re-issued its personal safety tips for Muslims and advice guides for mosques.

The East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre, which is London’s oldest, largest and busiest mosque and separate from the one that was attacked, condemned the incident on its Twitter account.

“We are appalled by the attack on worshipers outside Masjid Bilal in East Ham. No communities should have to live in fear of far-right threats and violence,” they tweeted.

“We recognise that whilst Islamophobic incidents have increased, they are not often covered widely in the media, so it is more important now than ever to report anti-Muslim hate crimes.

“We remain committed to working with our local authority to be a centre where Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crimes can be reported. We ask our communities to stay vigilant in the face of ongoing threats.

“We urge the government to provide more security to protect all of our places of worship, ensure communities feel safe, and take swift action against perpetrators.”— AA

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