A group of people were attacked with eggs and stones outside the Ilford Islamic Centre after finishing evening prayers for Ramadan. – Credit: Samir Sultan/Google
Mosque attendees were attacked with eggs and stones outside the Ilford Islamic Centre, its secretary has said.
The incident happened around 11pm on Tuesday (May 4) outside the Albert Road mosque.
Ahmad Nawaz, a director and secretary at the mosque, said around five people were hit with eggs, stones and other items thrown at them from a silver estate car.
The alleged main attacker is described by a witness as a white man in his 20s with a shaven head, while it is thought there were three other passengers in the vehicle.
Ahmad was inside at the time of the attack and was informed immediately by guards who were standing outside
He told the Recorder: “It’s disappointing more than anything else but sadly it’s a sign of the times we live in.
“It’s a sad thing to say but we’re used to it. The only reason we need guards outside is for things like this and to stop worse things from happening
He said he was particularly concerned the incident has unnerved those people walking home late from the mosque after evening prayers.
Redbridge Council leader Jas Athwal posted on Twitter to say he was “saddened and disgusted” about the attack.
He said he has spoken to the police and had received assurances that they were taking the incident extremely seriously.
Cllr Athwal added: “The council will continue to work closely with the police and uniformed patrols in the areas surrounding the mosque will be increased.
“In Redbridge we are proud of our diversity and the strength and support of our communities of faith.
“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.”
Police have launched an investigation but there have been no arrests yet.
Detective Chief Superintendent Stephen Clayman, in charge of policing for the Redbridge area, 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.”
Bashir Patel, chairman of the Federation of Muslim Organisations (FORMO) said more needs to be done to address Islamophobia and said it was particularly distressing for this to happen during Ramadan.
He said: “After fasting for 17 hours a Muslim will have a short time to break his fast and then will attend night prayers.
“Such an important spiritual time for our community when we focus on charity and self restraint. Absolutely unacceptable that we should receive this abuse especially at this time.
“We urge the local community to be vigilant and report incidents to the Islamophobia response unit at MEND and the police.”