Mosque director: Ilford egg attack highlights Islamophobia Muslims face

A group of people were attacked with eggs and stones outside the Ilford Islamic Centre

Muslims in Redbridge say the egg attack at the Ilford Islamic Centre highlights problems of Islamophobia they face on a regular basis. - Credit: Samir Sultan/Google

After a group of Ramadan worshippers were egged in Ilford, Muslims say the incident just highlights the regular incidents of Islamophobia they face.

Police have stepped up patrols outside the Ilford Islamic Centre after a car drove by and threw eggs and stones at five people on Tuesday, May 4 around 11pm. 

Volunteers at the Albert Road mosque have given CCTV footage to the police to help them identify the perpetrators but there have been no arrests yet. 

This newspaper heard from Muslim people who said the incident was unacceptable but unfortunately not surprising.

Ahmad Nawaz, a director and secretary at the mosque, said: "We take it on the chin and move on and prepare ourselves for another one, unfortunately.

"This incident has caught a lot of attention because it was outside a mosque but we get reports of things like this happening all the time and ladies and old people get harassed on a regular basis."

In light of the incident, Ilford mum Ruthba Amin told this newspaper about the abuse she has received for being a Muslim.

Ruthba said she has been heckled on the train by a man and was egged and called a terrorist years ago.

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She said: "It's everywhere but we put up and deal with it."

Ahmad said he was disappointed something like this could happen after the brutal year everyone has had.

He said: "With everyone having suffered through Covid and knowing life is so fragile, it doesn't change anything for some people. Bigots still exist and they don't see anything different."

He said the outpouring from the community at large has been very positive, with the police and council very supportive and quick to respond.

Council leader Jas Athwal visited the mosque multiple times on Wednesday and spoke to the congregation during evening prayers to try to ease their concerns.

Cllr Athwal said: "This is not going to happen in Redbridge. We will stand up together as one community. Diversity is our strength and we are together as one."

Bashir Patel, chairman of the Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations (FORMO), said more has to be done to address the wider issues which are causing increasing reports of Islamophobia.

He said: "Redbridge does have an Islamophobia problem with attacks on Muslims and our faith.  

"We hope the council can deal with this locally and our MPs can lobby the government to toughen up hate crime laws and give mosques and places of worship more protection."

A joint statement issued by Lesley Seary, chief executive of Redbridge Council, and Stephen Clayman, the Met's East Area BCU Commander, called the attack "truly appalling" and said it impacts the whole community.

“The council and Redbridge police are working together to investigate this crime and support residents in the area. We will be closely monitoring the situation. There is a strong sense of community spirit in our borough, and such incidents will not be tolerated.

“We are talking with our residents in the area and we will be meeting with the Imam and worshippers this evening to offer reassurance and any help that may be needed.”

Ilford South MP Sam Tarry said he was "deeply troubled" to hear of the attack and said he called leading members of the mosque's congregation to offer his support.

"I stand in solidarity with all those affected by this hate crime, which we will not accept as a community of people in Ilford who welcome people of all faiths and backgrounds.

"Please be assured I will be working with the police and officials to ensure you are safe from such attacks as we must work to stop any level of hate crime in its tracks."

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting called the "cowardly" attack a "complete disgrace".

"I’m saddened and alarmed to hear of an increase in the number of Islamophobic incidents in the area and stand in solidarity with Ilford’s Muslims."

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