There was a time when the Metropolitan Police Service, the force responsible for Greater London, was accused of being ‘institutionally racist’, not sufficiently sensitive to the needs of racial, ethnic or cultural minorities. Now the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, producing something I can only describe as ‘institutional cowardice.’
Once castigated for discriminating against minorities, they are now ignoring quite serious incidents in Tower Hamlets, a part of London where radical Islam is on the move in a campaign of violence, abuse and intimidation, revealed in a recent press report.
This comes as four Muslims from the area were jailed for attacking Garry Smith, a teacher, with a metal rod, a Stanley knife and a brick, causing grievous bodily harm which left him unconscious for two days. They had, according to the judge summing up at the trial, “literally smashed Mr. Smith's face in.” What was his crime, you may wonder? Well, as the head of religious education at a school in Bow, he, a non-Muslim, had the temerity to teach Muslim girls.
This is by far the worst case to date but there are others, less intense, perhaps, but no less worrying, that the police are effectively disregarding, fearful of causing offence. The victims, Muslim and non-Muslim, are being targeted for breaking Islamic ‘norms’, including one man who was beaten up in the street for smoking during Ramadan.
The gay community, in particular, has become an object of special treatment, with attacks in Tower Hamlets up by over twenty per cent in the past year, just as they have fallen in the rest of London.
The abuse has even gone so far as meetings of the local council, where gay councillors have been repeatedly heckled from the public galleries. Peter Golds, the leader of the Conservative group, who has complained twice now to the police, says that they are afraid of acting in case they are accused of Islomophobia.
Tower Hamlets happens to be home to the East London Mosque, which time and again has played host to extremist preachers, as well as holding a ‘Spot the Fag’ contest. The mosque is controlled by the Islamic Forum of Europe, some of whose member will greet one Raed Sallah, a Palestinian ‘poet’, in London later this month. Sallah is clearly an author of considerable talents, one of whose deathless verses appeared in a Hamas publication;
You Jews are criminal bombers of mosques,
Slaughterers of pregnant women and babies.
Robbers and germs in all times,
The creator sentenced you to be loser monkeys,
Victory belongs to Muslims, from the Nile to the Euphrates.
Mr Salah happens also to be a believer in a modern form of the medieval blood liable, saying that the Jews have used the blood of Palestinian children to bake bread.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police, ever on the defensive, says that it will take action against any form of hate crime “in accordance with and within the confines of the law.” It remains to be seen how far this process is allowed to go, and just how flexible the definition of ‘hate crime’ is.