Update, Redbridge Islamic Centre Attack.
“The first thing Abdul Wahab heard, he says, was the shouting. “Muslim bastards; Paki bastards.” Unpleasant enough in the street. But no one expects to hear such things in a mosque.
What to do? Just six old men there, four of whom were on their knees praying when the hoodlums intervened. Nothing to do but remonstrate, shoo them away and hope.
Why the Redbridge Islamic Centre? Hard to say at this point. No one who worships there seems to know. They think the attack last week was unpremeditated. Why would whoever was responsible want to spout their bile within the mosque itself? Why the ferocity? The snarling. The physical intimidation, the wall of noise, like a swat team flying in through the window. The smashing of the toughened glass; the hurling of the reddish bricks the mosque had bought for building work? One brick, Abdul says, struck the imam, who was also injured by flying glass. He had to go to hospital. By then at least, the terror was over and the assailants were gone. “He was lucky,” says Abdul looking skyward. “God helped him.”
The physical damage isn’t much. Abdul lifts the green metal grill to show me the broken glass; by now it will have been replaced. But there is damage that can’t be covered by insurance. The shock. “We have been here for nine years,” he tells me. “There has never been anything like this.”
He says they have done everything they are called upon to do. They engage with the community. Members of his mosque have visited local Christian churches. Those who follow other faiths have been welcomed through the same door. “It’s usually open,” he says. “It was open when we were attacked. That’s why they got in so easily.” “
Update 1: From Fresh:
“Update 2 April 7th – today’s Woodford Recorder reports that 6 face trial. Matthew Stephenson and Daniel Leal,19 and of no fixed address, Rockylee Beale of Woodford Green, also 19, and a 15 year old boy are on bail. Ryan Jones, 22, of Ilford and Elliot Jones, 19, no fixed address, are in custody. “