Redbridge mosque would welcome attackers for future visit

Four teenage thugs who smashed up a Redbridge mosque will be welcome to visit the building in the future once they have “reflected” on their actions and “become better citizens”, representatives for the centre have said.

The teenagers were jailed for a total of 12-and-a-half years last week for their involvement in the attack on Redbridge Islamic Centre (RIC), Eastern Avenue.

Imam Shafeel Begg was struck by a brick while windows of the Islamic centre were shattered and the gang of four tried to storm their way inside while taunting worshippers with sickening chants.

Rocky Beale, 19, of Purleigh Avenue, Woodford Green; Eliot Jones, 19, of Keswick Gardens, Redbridge and 18-year-old Matthew Stephenson, of Burrow Road, Hainault will each serve three-and-a-half years in a young offenders’ institution.

Harry Deluca, 16, of Manford Way, Hainault was given a two-year detention and training order.

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In a public statement mosque representatives said: “RIC reaffirms its commitment to community engagement and community cohesion and in doing so making Redbridge a better place to live for all together, through its many services.

“RIC hopes the case sets a precedent in Redbridge and beyond that attacks targeting a community or place of worship will not be tolerated and the culprits will face the full force of the law.”

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The statement went on: “RIC hopes the young men found guilty of the attacks use the sentencing time to reflect on their actions and become better citizens, once released back into the community, so they can make positive contribution to society.

“RIC welcomes the opportunity for them to visit the centre in future and find out about its work.”

The four teenagers were found guilty of violent disorder during the March 24 attack last month when a jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court spent just 90 minutes deliberating.

Cllr Shoaib Patel, cabinet member for community safety on Redbridge Council, said of the sentencing: “I am delighted with the result and it is great news for all the people that suffered because of the attack.

“It shows that Redbridge will not tolerate racial abuse after the community has worked hard to promote strong cohesion.”

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