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'Everybody must be free to worship without fear': Ilford MPs and local politicians react to Seven Kings Mosque shooting

PUBLISHED: 10:01 10 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:46 10 May 2019

Police at the scene of the shooting at the Seven Kings Mosque.

Police at the scene of the shooting at the Seven Kings Mosque.

Archant

Ilford's MPs and local politicians have expressed their solidarity with the borough's Muslims after a gun was fired outside Seven Kings Mosque during Ramadan prayers last night (Thursday, May 9).

Detectives investigating the incident have carried out a number of fast-time enquiries and now believe it may have stemmed from an earlier incident in the street close to the mosque.

A Met Police spokesman confirmed officers will continue to work closely with representatives from the mosque today to provide reassurance to the local community.

Ilford South Change UK MP Mike Gapes told the Recorder he is becoming increasingly concerned about levels of rising knife and gun crime on the streets of Redbridge.

He said: "Thankfully in this case it doesn't seem as though any one has been injured and the police were quick to confirm it wasn't terrorism.

Police at the scene of the shooting at the Seven Kings Mosque.Police at the scene of the shooting at the Seven Kings Mosque.

"The government has just announced a range of measures for greater security around places of worship. I actually spoke in that debate in Parliament earlier this week.

"There is more funding coming to protect and provide greater security for places of worship for all faiths - mosques, gurdwaras, churches and synagogues."

And Labour MP for Ilford North has also urged the community to come together after the incident.

He said: "I am aware of the incident at Seven Kings Mosque involving a man with a firearm.

Police at the scene of the shooting at the Seven Kings Mosque.Police at the scene of the shooting at the Seven Kings Mosque.

"Thank God no one has been hurt.

The police responded quickly. I will be in touch with them regarding mosque security.

"Everyone must be free to worship without fear. My solidarity and prayers are with Seven Kings Mosque.

"We don't know anything yet about the motivation of this man, but we do know that fear, intimidation and violence must never win."

Police at the scene of the shooting at the Seven Kings Mosque.Police at the scene of the shooting at the Seven Kings Mosque.

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Redbridge Council leader councillor Jas Athwal was also thankful terrorism has been ruled out as a possible motive, but stressed that the police must now be given time to investigate the incident fully.

He said: "I want to reassure residents that normality will resume, but police must be allowed to investigate properly and go over the crime scene thoroughly - a shot was fired.

"The most important thing this morning is that everybody's prayers were answered and no one was hurt.

"Now we will hopefully come together and show to the world that Redbridge is a borough where people live in peace and harmony alongside one another."

Redbridge's Cosnervative London Assembly Member Keith Prince told the Recorder it was vital at times like this that proper channels of communication remain open between community leaders and the police.

He said: "We are very lucky in Redbridge to have a diverse and welcoming borough, but all it takes it something small like this to happen and for speculation to start on social media and it could all kick off.

"Thankfully this wasn't terror related and no one has apparently been injured - it's a much better result than it could have been."

The police were called at 10.45pm to reports that a man, believed to be in possession of a firearm, had entered a mosque in Seven Kings High Road.

The man was ushered outside of the building by those inside. A gunshot was then heard.

Officers, including firearms officers, attended. There were no reported injuries and no damage to the building.

At this early stage, ballistic evidence recovered from the scene suggests that the weapon was a blank firing handgun.

Officers from Trident Specialist Crime investigate.

There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.

At this stage, the incident is not being treated as terrorism-related.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Trident Specialist Crime on 101 quoting reference 8585/9May, Tweet @MetCC or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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