Video of London Muslim ’Patrol’ Harassing Gay Man Sparks Outrage
A YouTube video showing a group of self-proclaimed "Muslim Patrol" in the Whitechapel area of East London shows them harassing a man walk by because they believe he is gay. The footage has gone viral around the world on the Web this week.
The clip, which clocks in at just over a minute, first shows an image that reads, "Islam will dominate the world" and a quote from the Koran. In the background, gunshots can be heard going off.
When the video begins, one of the members of the group asks the victim, "Hello mate, don’t you know this is a Muslim area? Why you dressed like that for? [sic]" Another member can be heard shouting, "Homosexual! Homosexual!"
The victim, seen in a hat, a vest and carrying a tote bag, asks, "Why are you bothering me?"
A young man responds, "Because you’re walking through a Muslim area dressed like a fag, mate. You need to get out of here."
Members of the group also call the victim "dirty", a "fag" and a "mug" several times.
The video was posted on Jan. 19. Since then, as reported by the BBC and elsewhere, a mosque in East London Mosque released a statement denouncing the group’s harassment.
"These actions are utterly unacceptable and clearly designed to stoke tensions and sow discord," the statement read. "The actions of this tiny minority have no place in our faith nor on our streets. We will monitor the situation closely and our Imams will be speaking out against such actions."
The mosque complained about the patrols harassing members of the public for the past few weeks. Mosque officials said they alerted the police about the problem.
Stonewall, a British gay rights organization that is also the largest-such group in Europe, also issued a statement in which it cited statistics that one in eight lesbian and gay people in Britain annually suffer some from some form of criminal activity or harassment because of their sexual identity."
Responding to the publicity, London authorities also have responded to the footage. As reported in the Guardian, the Metropolitan Police arrested a 22-year-old man and a 19-year-old man in connection with the actions in this video and others. Prosecutors charged them with grievous bodily harm and public offense.
UPDATE: On Jan. 24, police announced they have arrested three more men in this case.
Watch the clip below: