Women who do not wear headscarves are being threatened
with violence and even death by Islamic extremists intent on imposing sharia
law on parts of
The 31-year-old, who is not a practising Muslim, said she has since been told to take holiday by the pharmacy owners and now fears she may lose her job. She said: 'Why should I wear a hijab (headscarf) or burqa? I haven't done anything wrong.' Other incidents reported include the placing of stickers across the white-minority borough which state it is a 'gay-free zone' and the daubing of paint on posters for clothing shop H&M featuring women in bikinis.
Ghaffar Hussain, of the anti-extremism thin tank the Quilliam Foundation, told The Sunday Times that the intimidation was the work of 'Talibanesque thugs' He added: 'This minority think they have the right to impose their fringe interpretation of Islam on others.' Paul Rickett from the Met Police said: 'I am saddened that there are a small minority of people who do not wish to respect the lifestyle choices of others'. He added that there was nothing to indicate the incidents were linked.
Three men have been
charged with religiously-aggravated criminal damage in connection with some of
the incidents, which have mirrored crude attempt at censorship in
'If people choose to
follow the religion they should be free to do so and we don't want to go down
the route that the French have done, but these people have to accept other
people. 'If it's about the freedom to do
what you want, others should have the freedom to do what they want to do. 'It's the actions of a very small minority,
Firebrand Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary said that he was aware of individuals who would speak up if they saw a Muslim woman without a headscarf, but insisted they were only giving advice about their views of Islam. He said no threats would be made and described the allegations of threats of death as 'completely ridiculous'. He said: 'There are groups who propogate Islam, and if they see a Muslim woman without a hijab they may say "sister, it's obligatory that you cover your hair".
'It's an individual
intervention to propagate Islam. For non-Muslims, they may point out to them
that women are being exploited in the West.
'It's about telling people about the preference of covering up, but
nobody's going to say "you are going to be killed".' Tower Hamlets has a reputation for being a
centre of Islamic extremism in
unemployed, Mr Dart regularly attends Muslim rallies
in which he was recently heard to say: 'When the Taliban defeat the allies we
will establish Sharia law and take the fight to the enemy.' Before Christmas posters appeared in the
borough claiming the religious festival was 'evil'. The campaign's organiser
was 27-year-old Abu Rumaysah, who once called for
Sharia Law in
Mr Rumaysah said: 'Christmas is a lie and as Muslims it is our duty to attack it. 'But our main attack is on the fruits of Christmas, things like alcohol abuse and promiscuity that increase during Christmas and all the other evils these lead to such as abortion, domestic violence and crime. 'We hope that out campaign will make people realise that Islam is the only way to avoid this and convert.'