Three men were jailed this week for taking part in a campaign of harassment against members of the community in Tower Hamlets, East London.
A combined effort by the council, the police, and community leaders in Tower Hamlets, including LGBT groups, led to the arrest and prosecution of the three men.
They all pleaded guilty to various counts of assault, affray, and public order offences, for confronting and abusing members of the public in east London, for their physical appearance, for drinking alcohol, and for holding hands with one another.
The self-styled “Muslim patrol”, threatened to “kill non believers”, with knives, attempted to decree that the area was a “Muslim area”.
The East London Mosque condemned men shown in videos posted on the internet claiming to be “patrolling” Whitechapel.
Because of the strength of the campaign, and the support by police officers in Tower Hamlets and LGBT groups, meant a victim came forward to support the investigation.
Sentencing the individuals, Judge Poulet said; “The good thing about Great Britain is the tolerance and respect shown to other individuals. The law is there to protect such individuals. Islam is a peaceful religion, but this conduct was anything but that.”
Detective Chief Inspector Wendy Morgan from Tower Hamlets borough police said: “The appeal for the victim was significant in this investigation. Without it the victim would not have come forward and reported the attack. We are thankful for his courage and that of all the witnesses in this case who reported to police and who were then spared the ordeal of giving evidence.”
Jack Gilbert from Rainbow Hamlets, the Tower Hamlets LGBT community agency, said: “We are very pleased indeed with this outcome. This operation was a model of how the police, community and local authority should work together, with transparency and mutual respect, that others should emulate and we should seek to repeat.”
Dilowar Khan, Director of the London Muslim Centre, said: “Bullying is un-Islamic and will do nothing to help the lives of many millions of ordinary Muslims whose name is tarnished, time and again, by the pathetic actions of a few. We hope these three men will take time during their incarceration to reflect upon the hurt and damage they have caused not only to their victims, but to the entire British Muslim community.”