The recent furore on the ‘Muslim Patrols’ shows the continued fear and trepidation that many feel when Muslims or Islam are used. The recent You Tube postings by a handful of individuals where they harassed passers by outside the East London mosque in Tower Hamlets actually highlighted the stupidity of these two individuals and the sheer banal way in which they conducted themselves. What was interesting to note though was that press sources did highlight that the ‘Muslim Patrol’ was made up of a very small number of people and that the majority of Muslim groups and communities roundly condemned them and rightly so. Papers also commented on the swift statement made by the East London mosque to denounce such patrols.
This country does not need Muslim or any faith based patrols and law enforcement is sufficient enough to ensure the safety and security of all. Furthermore, no faith community needs faith patrols and these so called Muslim Patrols simply raise more anti-Muslim prejudice within our country. With groups like the English Defence League using such incidents to further radicalize individuals and promote hate, the so called Muslim Patrols are counter-productive, tarnish the image of Islam and Muslims and simply create a climate of fear. They should not be accepted and a strong signal must be sent out that any group of individuals who set up such patrols will be reported in law enforcement. It is as simple as that.
We therefore would urge anyone who comes across individuals involved in such patrols to report the matter to their local Safer Neighbourhood Teams and to the Police. The only people who should be patrolling the streets for the security of all, are our local police forces. We would also like to add that we live in a society which is free. This means that people have the right to worship or not to worship. They have the right to wear want they want and how they want. Through the TELL MAMA project we have worked with victims of anti-Muslim prejudice who have suffered incidents since they are visibly Muslim. Many are attacked because of what they wear which marks them out. We would expect any citizen in this country to reject the hate of those who target these women in our communities because of their desire to wear a headscarf for religious purposes. We would also expect all to send out a strong and clear signal to those who target women and abuse them because they wear items that are deemed to be ‘too short’ or ‘not religious enough’. A woman’s right over her body is her choice as is the right of a religious man to wear what he wants. It is as simple as that!