March 9 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
A British National Party-linked group is driving armoured Gulf War vehicles around the East End trying to “bait” Muslim extremists.
In a video posted on YouTube, members of nationalist group Britain First are seen standing outside the East London Mosque in Whitechapel smoking and drinking beer, before unfurling a banner with the word “resistance” on it.
The group, which describes their activities as “Christian Patrols”, claims it is defending British soil against so-called “Muslim Patrols”.
Britain First’s chairman, Paul Golding, formerly a senior figure in the BNP, said he hoped to “draw out” Muslim extremists using cigarettes and beer as “bait”.
Mr Golding, who left the BNP three years ago after a bitter falling out, said: “This is going to be a regular thing. We’re going to be out there every weekend to draw out these Muslim Patrols.”
In December, three members of self-styled Muslim Patrols were jailed for threatening the public for “un-Islamic” behaviour.
Last week, Britain First posted a video online of its first Christian Patrol handing out leaflets in Brick Lane.
In the video, one man is shown saying: “This is our country. You want to live here, you adhere by our laws.”
The Rt Rev Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney, condemned the group.
“East London is proud of its generous attitude to diversity, based on tolerance and respect,” he said.
“There is no place for vigilante patrols, Christian, Muslim or any other faith, on the streets of Tower Hamlets.”
He added: “Our kaleidoscopic community thrives on celebrating our differences, not condemning them.”
A spokesman for the East London Mosque said: “Britain First’s patrol does not represent Christians, just as al-Muhajiroun’s patrols did not represent Muslims. Both are tiny, extreme groups, unwelcome in our community.”