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A wedge will not be driven between Redbridge’s diverse communities, a mosque chairman has insisted, after a gang attacked his imam and worshippers.

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Frightened men and women ducked for cover and the imam of Redbridge Islamic Centre (RIC), Eastern Avenue, Redbridge, was injured during last week’s attack before the final prayer of the day.

Racist and islamophobic abuse was allegedly hurled as the gang smashed windows and tried to get into the main prayer hall.

But RIC chairman Abul Khayer Ali said this week he will not allow the attack to create divisions.

He said: “Redbridge is a strong and cohesive community with a long standing record of unity.

“We will not allow such callous attacks to create a wedge in the community.

“Rather, this will inspire the RIC to work harder to engage and work closely to reduce stigma and discrimination towards Muslims.”

Neighbouring homes and cars were also damaged during the incident, which happened at about 7.45pm.

Cllr Sohaib Patel, cabinet member for environment and community safety, said: “Redbridge has a very successful diverse, multicultural and cohesive society where residents are able to live in harmony, respecting each other’s faiths and values.

“As the cabinet member for environment and community safety in Redbridge, I assure you that the council and its partners, including the police, will not stand by and let this incident change the very nature of these successes.”

He also praised the community safety partnership team for their work in the borough.

• Six people appeared at Redbridge Court on Saturday charged with violent disorder. Matthew Stephenson, 19, of no fixed address, Daniel Leal, 19, of no fixed address, Rockylee Beale, 19, of Wood Green, Essex and a 15-year-old boy have been bailed. Elliot Jones, 19, of no fixed address and Ryan Jones, 22, of Ilford, have been remanded in custody. They will all appear again at Redbridge Magistrates’ Court this morning.

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