Imam injured as gang of six try to smash into Redbridge mosque
The imam of a Redbridge mosque was injured yesterday after six people tried to smash their way through the front door moments before the final evening prayer.
Windows were broken and a stone was hurled at the imam of Redbridge Islamic Centre (RIC), Eastern Avenue, at about 7.45pm.
The group allegedly shouted racist and islamophobic abuse as they tried to smash their way through to the main prayer hall of the mosque, throwing bricks at worshippers and staff.
Neighbouring homes and cars were also damaged.
The six men are now being questioned by police having been arrested after being detained by worshippers and some passers-by.
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The chairman of the mosque Abul Khayer Ali said: “This is a sad day.
“Redbridge is a strong and cohesive community with long standing record of unity and cohesion.
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“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 in the borough.”
Environment and community safety cabinet member Cllr Shoaib Patel described the incident as “callous and heinous”, but did not believe it was a premeditated racist attack.
He added: “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. “
Chief Insp Stan Greatrick, of Redbridge police, said: “We have spoken to a number of people in the area and continue to liaise closely with members of the Redbridge mosque.
“We have already secured additional patrols for Eastern Avenue and we would like to reassure the local community, and those who worship at the Redbridge mosque, that we are treating this case extremely seriously.”
Anyone with information about the incident should call Redbridge CID on 020 8345 2632.