January 23, 2012
Two men have been arrested after a series of incidents in London saw members of the public harassed by self-styled vigilantes who posted footage of their activities online. One included a clip showing a man being subjected to homophobic abuse.
The incidents are believed to be linked to a group claiming to be behind "Muslim patrols" of Whitechapel. In the latest video in which a group of men described themselves as "vigilantes implementing Islam upon your own necks", a man is followed and told: "Get out of here you fag … Don't stay around here any more."
His pursuers tell him that he is "walking through a Muslim area dressed like a fag".
The East London Mosque has condemned the actions. It said in a statement last week that individuals claiming to be 'Muslim patrols' have been harassing members of the public on the streets of east London late at night, including outside the mosque after it has closed, and that it had contacted the police to alert them to the presence of the individuals and video.
"These actions are utterly unacceptable and clearly designed to stoke tensions and sow discord," it said.
"We wholly condemn them. The East London Mosque is committed to building co-operation and harmony between all communities in this borough. The actions of this tiny minority have no place in our faith nor on our streets.
The gay rights group, Stonewall, said : "This incident is yet another reminder of the homophobic abuse that gay people face all too often. We urge victims of all homophobic crimes and incidents to report them to the police and for the police to take action to protect gay people from these disturbing crimes."
The Metropolitan Police said that two men were arrested in connection with a series of incidents that took place over the course of 12-13 January in east London. Videos of the incidents were later uploaded onto YouTube.
A 22-year-old man was arrested in Acton on Sunday while a 19-year-old man voluntarily attended an east London police station on Monday.
A Met spokesperson said: "The pair were arrested on suspicion of GBH and Public Order offences and have been bailed to return to an east London police station on a dates in February and March pending further enquiries.
"The Metropolitan Police Service takes these incidents very seriously and is pursuing various lines of enquiry with a view to identifying and prosecuting the individuals concerned.