East London Mosque and mayor condemn anti-gay stickers
The East London Mosque and the mayor of Tower Hamlets have condemned homophobic stickers placed around the borough.
In a joint statement with a local interfaith forum and a gay group, they said that matter was being treated as a homophobic hate crime.
The statement said: “All lines of enquiry are being pursued by police both within Tower Hamlets and London wide to identify and prosecute those responsible.”
The stickers quoted the Koran and declared the area a “gay-free zone“.
Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “Tower Hamlets has a proud history of challenging prejudice and promoting equality. There is no place for hate in Tower Hamlets and we take a zero-tolerance approach to homophobia.
“People of faith in Tower Hamlets are proud to be part of this diverse and vibrant borough, in which mutual respect and tolerance are vital to social harmony. We oppose all who seek to undermine these values – homophobic hate has no place in Tower Hamlets.
“Whatever their backgrounds of the people they do not speak in the name of Islam, Christianity or the other religions represented here.”
He added that he had met gay group Rainbow Hamlets and was “committed” to working with them.
Dilwar Khan, director of the East London Mosque and the London Muslim Centre, said: “We stand together with our fellow citizens against all forms of hatred, including homophobia.
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“We are committed to building strong and cohesive communities in Tower Hamlets, and our strength is that we will not let incidents of hate divide us.”
Reverend Alan Green, chair of the Tower Hamlets Inter Faith Forum said: “People of faith in Tower Hamlets are proud to be part of this diverse and vibrant borough, in which mutual respect and tolerance are vital to social harmony.
“We oppose all who seek to undermine these values – homophobic hate has no place in Tower Hamlets. Whatever their backgrounds of the people they do not speak in the name of Islam, Christianity or the other religions represented here.”
Rainbow Hamlets LGBT Community Forum said it welcomed the mayor and mosque’s comments.
People who see homophobic posters are being asked to report them to the Metropolitan police on 0300 1231212.
They are asked to photograph the poster if possible and record the time and its location.
If the posters can be removed in one piece, people should place it in a box with the sticky side up and take to a local police station.
Police have received ten reports of homophobic or transphobic incidents in Tower Hamlets so far this year. Seventy-four were reported in 2010.