Screen capture from a video in which a hooded man goes up to another man drinking alcohol, and yells at him for doing this in what he calls a "Muslim area."
Three videos have emerged online showing several men harassing passers-by in the streets of East London for drinking alcohol, wearing short skirts or “looking gay”. These unidentified men describe themselves as a “Muslim patrol” that aims to apply sharia law in the streets near the East London mosque. While these appear to be isolated incidents perpetrated by delinquents rather than by organised radical Islamists, the authorities are taking them seriously.
The East London Mosque, as well as several other Muslim groups, has expressed indignation at this behaviour. After receiving several complaints, London police have launched an investigation
, and have increased their presence in the borough of Tower Hamlets, where the videos were filmed.
The men in the “patrols” are careful not to show their faces in these videos, which they heavily edited. (FRANCE 24 blurred the faces of the victims). All of these incidents are filmed at night. In one video, they use a megaphone to order a man and a young woman to leave the “Muslim area”, after taking issue with the woman’s short skirt. When the woman tells them she is appalled and reminds them that they are in Great Britain, one of the men replies, “We don’t care. It’s not-so-great Britain.” She calls them vigilantes, which he seems to relish: “Vigilantes, implementing Islam upon your own necks.” In the same video, the men also harass several other people for drinking alcohol. The men speak with native British accents, at times briefly switching to Arabic.
In another video, the “patrol” harasses a man they identify as gay, yelling at him to leave the “Muslim area” and making homophobic remarks. The man takes this calmly, sarcastically telling the ringleader: “Yeah, you’re such a man.”
In a third video, the men film several H&M lingerie advertisements that have been painted over to hide the model.
Speaking at East London Mosque during a sermon on Friday, Shaykh Shams Ad Duha responded to these videos, explaining that in his interpretation of Islam (and citing many texts and Islamic scholars to support it), trying to apply sharia law to non-Muslims actually goes contrary to sharia, even in Islamic states.
At 12 minutes into the video of the sermon, he says: “And we saw that video where? That was Tower Hamlets. Those are the streets of Tower Hamlets, in England. Enough said, right? … It’s a problem - I don’t know if it’s a psychological problem, or what – that people think that just because ‘I’ve now become practicing’ and so on, ‘I’ve got to go around and behave like a complete bigot.’ What people forget is that ‘how I behave just believing … and praying and implementing sharia within myself doesn’t give me the right to go out and behave how I like outside of myself.’ How you behave out on the streets with other people is also governed by sharia, by the teachings of Islam.”