Ilford Lane features in Vice news documentary on Sharia law patrols

Sharia Patrol - a splinter group of the Muslim Patrol - were filmed targeting sex workers in Ilford

Sharia Patrol - a splinter group of the Muslim Patrol - were filmed targeting sex workers in Ilford Lane. Photo credit: VICE news - Credit: Archant

A documentary partly filmed in Ilford Lane – once called east London’s Red light district – shows patrols of Muslims trying to impose elements of Sharia law in the area.

Rhys James

Rhys James - Credit: Archant

Vice News’ documentary Sharia Law vs. Britain First: London’s Holy Turf War, shot in early 2013, films a Muslim group called “Sharia Project” scratching escort adverts off lampposts.

The area was targeted by the radical group, which wishes to enforce Sharia law in Britain, due to its popularity with sex workers plying their trade.

“I was quite surprised it was happening,” said filmmaker Rhys James, 27, of Dalston.

“Residents who were not aware of it could be intimidated. There is an element of shock,” he said.

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The documentary, released last month and available on Vice’s website, also follows Britain First, a group filmed distributing anti-Islamic material in areas of east London.

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Mr James and his crew filmed “eight to 10” Muslims around Ilford Lane for about six hours.

The men attempt to police behaviour that does not comply with Sharia law along the road.

Khalid Hussain, chairman of the South Ilford Business Association (SIBA), believes residents should not fear extremist Muslim groups.

“I did not think much of the documentary,” said Mr Hussain, 59. “We have always had [right-wing] extremist parties in the UK, but we have also got these guys who are no better.

“They are just trying to make a name for themselves.

“In a multi-cultural society people have not got time for this. Nobody accepts these views.

“If these people are so concerned about Sharia law they should be focusing their efforts on Muslim countries – not this country which is a Christian country.”


Mr James added that his crew did not film all of the Sharia Project’s activity as the atmosphere “could boil over at any point”.

The filmmaker, who has worked for Vice for five years, also added: “With regards to Ilford Lane [the Muslim patrols] had latched on to it.

“What they were trying to do was get rid of prostitution on Ilford Lane. They were scratching off the signage for escorts or dubious massage parlours.”

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