While Christians celebrated the birth of Christ in Ilford Town Centre on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, after having applied for permission with Redbridge Facilities Management Department for a Christmas celebration, a local Islamic group caused a panic by playing the Azan (a Muslim chant used for call of prayer), that triggered fears of an impending terrorist attack.
The peaceful family event, which was held in Ilford Town center on Saturday, was organized by 9 local churches in collaboration, and was both well attended and appreciated by local residents (click here). However, at around 2 p.m. during a prayer that was being said on the stage, a guttural Muslim chant was heard causing alarm to the many Christians and non-Christians attending the event.
It was soon established that a local Muslim group had decided to hold a religious stall in the town center at the same time as the Redbridge Christian festival, if not in spite of it.
When approached by the British Pakistani Christian Association, event organizers of the Christian event the Islamic group refused to stop the chant being played. However, the provocative use of amplified Muslim chanting offended other local people many who were non-Christian and included local Muslims. Despite a clear indication that their use of an unauthorized PA was causing offense, the Muslim group continued their use of the equipment.
When asked if they had sought permission for their event through the council, the Islamic group originally said yes. They then later asked Mr. Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, who was managing the collaborative Christian event, if he was from the council. After Mr. Chowdhry explained that he was not a Council officer but had applied for permission to use a PA system in the town center, the Islamic group ignored any further conversation. Left with no further option, Mr. Chowdhry then duly contacted the local police.
It would seem bizarre but not impossible that the council gave permission to the Islamic group to hold their stall and amplified Muslim prayers at the same time as the local churches' Christmas event. So this morning, Wilson Chowdhry sought clarification from the head of licensing for Redbridge Council, Mr. Ed Chaplin.
Mr. Chaplin has quite categorically confirmed the local Islamic group had not sought any permissions and that the unauthorized use of a PA system by them will be discussed at an enforcement action, tasking team next week. He wrote in an email:
"The 'stall' and group depicted in your photograph below are not given consent from the council to undertake this activity. Consents from the Council are either for a commercial event such as those run by Amber Markets, or for the use of the 'Community Pitch' for charitable, educational or similar purposes. Political, religious or other groups/persons wishing to deliver a (democratic) message, sometimes set up in the Town Center without any such consent. There is a risk of being moved on by police, or contravening the Highways Act for obstructing the highway, where there is no consent or license issued by the Council.
"Any group is free to apply for and be granted consent to use the town center facilities. Allocation of consents is on a first-come, first served basis and consents will not be given when the infrastructure is at capacity. This is to ensure public safety. As advised in point 1) above, any party may set up an activity, but there is a risk that police will ask them to 'move on' or prosecute for highway obstruction. If a group contravenes legislation (such as the use of loudspeakers) this may be dealt with by the respective authorities."
As we discussed, I am forwarding the issues you have raised for discussion and any necessary enforcement action to the Council's weekly tasking meeting, which will take place tomorrow."
Due to the natural affront and the nature of exhibited fears by members of the public, Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, called the local police, who talked with the individuals involved with the Islamic stall. They allowed the men to continue with the stall but stopped the fractious amplified Muslim chanting which they deemed to be in poor taste.
Recently on the front page of the Ilford Recorder, a police whistleblower told Redbridge Council to take anti-terror warnings more seriously; yet they seem to be heeding none of the warnings (click here).
Wilson Chowdhry, also Director of A.A. Security Ltd, explained why he felt warnings were being ignored, he said:
"Firstly, I am shocked that BPCA were not informed that we would be sharing the town center with a Muslim group, and that the Muslim group were being permitted use of a PA at the same time as us. Such negligence was always going to cause some conflict and an immediate review of Redbridge Council's policy for use of the town center is paramount.
"Ilford is a town with known terrorists links; all three of the jihadists involved in the London Bridge Terror attack were seen meeting at a gym that was known to be training jihadists. I myself and other local people reported this over two years ago (click here).
"This is also the 'wonderful borough' where Anjem Choudary, one of this country's most evil and vile hate preachers, resided and who is currently serving a term in jail for inciting hatred.
"With the fears that non-Muslim event organizers already feel in these times of heightened social polarity it does not make any sense for Redbridge Council to allow a Muslim group to hold a stall in Ilford town center parallel to a Christian event—worse still, it's completely daft to allow amplified chanting of Allah-hu-akhbar, a phrase that terrifies many non-Muslims. It flies in the face of common sense and is a painful reminder of the political correctness that is marginalizing non-Muslims in the U.K.
"Are the council and local police not aware that more often than not, Muslim communities state they do not know the extremists in their midst? Even family members of proven Islamists have indicated they are surprised and cannot believe that their accused family member held such radical views. One example is the family of Salman Abedi, the Islamist involved in the Manchester bombing; his family thought he was 'normal' (click here).
So how is it possible for the mosques or Islamic groups in Redbridge to know for certain a man involved on their stall is not a terrorist. With this in mind is it not dangerous to permit cross-purpose amplified religious events on the same day in our town center?
"I know of no Christian group that would hold a Christian stall at the local Eid in the park event, it makes no sense and is quite disrespectful. I have attended the event with Muslim friends just to share their joy; it was rewarding for me. I have also enjoyed the company of Muslim friends at all the BPCA Christian events including Redbridge Easter Parade that actually had Muslim volunteers.
"But the attack on Finsbury Park mosque and the rise of groups like the EDL, Pegida and Britain First reminds us that polarization is increasing and we must be more sensible with the make-up of events planned within town centers across the U.K., a situation that has obviously not yet registered with Redbridge Council or our local police yet."
Mr. Chowdhry added:
Quillam Foundation, a U.K. based Muslim NGO, recently uncovered alarming statistics that suggest that 84 percent of people convicted in grooming gangs since 2005 were Asian. They failed to recognize the majority of these if not all were Muslim. They say hundreds of Muslim youth are being radicalized on British soil every year.
"There is growing evidence that community cohesion in the north of England is at its lowest ebb, with an attack on an innocent Pakistani Christian Tajamal Amar, who was beaten till unconscious for displaying poppies and a cross from his car (click here) .
"Recently Nikki Hurst (real name protected) was attacked by a gang of youths she believes to be Muslim, for being a white Kaffir (click here).
"Nissar Hussain, a Christian man who converted from Islam, was persecuted for 17 years in Bradford and was told by Bradford police that he had to flee the city to preserve his life—they could not protect him. He was given a four-vehicle police entourage when he returned to collect a box from his home, a security precaution filmed by ITV Calendar (click here).
"I hope the same radicalization does not enter our borough, however Redbridge Council, and our local police really do need to wake up to the frictions that exist in communities and the potential for that to erupt into something more devastating.
"I am very aware that not every Muslim is an extremist, and in fact, I held a peace concert in Ilford town center, collaborating with people of all faith just after the Finsbury Park attack. The event was featured in most of our local media (click here) .
"However, that does not negate from the fact that in a town-center environment during a Christian concert a load shout of Allah-hu-Akhbar would cause obvious terror, especially when played during a quieter point during a Christian prayer at an event put on by churches. Moreover, the manner in which the members of the Islamic group looked at me like I was not human suggested that they held a more hardline approach to Islam. This fills me with great dread for the future of the Borough I live in.
"A former Muslim who lost his faith because of a mosque that was preaching hatred had to flee his home in Ilford previously, his story hit the headlines. If these men are teaching a similar aggressive form of Islam, it could be very detrimental to the cohesion of our community. Anjem Chowdhry must have resided in this borough for a reason, yet neither the police nor the council feel it is their responsibility to vett the religious groups out in our town center.
I am sure the local Christian groups and churches would not mind a vetting process being introduced for those wishing to participate in our town centre. For the safety of us all I think it is something that must be fashioned with haste. To expedite the process I will be raising the issue at a full council meeting to see what can be done to ensure groups operating in our town center are bona fide and espouse a spirit of unity rather than hate.
Mr. Chowdhry explained why he called the police. He said:
"I felt the need to call the police as the chanting was causing upset amongst Christians who notified me of the concern whilst I was on stage. When I approached the Muslim group, many non-Christians also asked for the Muslim group to desist with the amplified Islamic chants—they too were totally offended. To be honest, when I first heard the sound, I was filled with a moment of extreme terror and anxiety—it was a blood-curdling moment.
"The incident caused a blemish on what otherwise was a wonderful public event that was attended well and was favored by the local community."
On Sunday, Dec. 17, a bomb attack at a church in Quetta during a children's nativity play took the lives of at least 8 Christians and injured over 32 others, mainly women and children (click here). Mr Chowdhry believes this is evidence that the religious celebrations of Christians cause great offense to many increasingly radicalized Muslims.
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