At a time when cries for individual freedom are at an all time high in the United Kingdom, a group of self-proclaimed Muslim vigilantes have emerged who believe they have the duty and responsibility to command what they believe is good, and forbid what they believe is evil. People belonging to these groups go around the capital city stopping people from committing acts they believe are against the teachings of Islam. Officials, community leaders and police officers have openly condemned these groups for their hardline tactics. All this began one month ago when a group claimed that a certain area of London was a ‘Muslim area’ and any acts that were against the teachings of Islam would not go unpunished in those areas.
The group, commonly known as Muslim Patrol, has filmed itself stopping people from committing acts such as consumption of alcohol in various parts of London. A large number of such videos have been uploaded on popular video hosting websites on the internet. In some of these videos, members of the Muslim Patrol can be seen destroying the advertisement of H&M lingerie and harassing those who are consuming alcohol in public. A young man is shown stunned in a video when Muslim Patrol members force him to throw away a beer can by telling him that alcohol is not allowed in this Muslim area. Besides immediately correcting what they feel is wrong, the Muslim Patrol warns their targets not to make the same ‘mistakes’ again.
The London Metropolitan Police has said that it is aware of the increasing frequency of such incidents, and that it was dealing with the issue with all its resources. Police patrols have been increased in the area and information about these vigilantes is being spread across frequently targeted neighborhoods. The Tower Hamlet Council was of the view that it was an act done by a small number of individuals from the Muslim community who have gone against the ethics code of the community. They further added that they were proud of the community cohesion in their area, and such irresponsible acts of some isolated individuals will do no harm to their relations with Muslims.
Chairman of the Tower Hamlets interfaith group, Alan Green, said that such behavior by a very few people who call themselves as Muslim Patrol does not represent the vast majority of Muslims. He said that such people are troublemakers who do not wish to see people with different worldviews living harmoniously together. The Muslim Patrol was also strongly condemned by a London Muslim center spokesperson who said that such individuals were not welcome in their community. He termed such behavior as contrary to teaching of Islam and their faith. He deplored the actions of this minority who was trying to sow discord between different communities.
Furthermore, Muslim Council of Britain who is a Muslim community representative organization also condemned this act. Although they argued that the validity of the videos should be questioned since they were posted by groups that have a history of anti-Islamic behavior, they urged the police to take urgent action if the videos were not fabricated.