Muslim leader accuses police of ‘racist’ harassment

Shacklewell Mosque, which has been targeted by police raids Credit: Dr Neil Clifton

The Met Police is facing accusations of Islamophobia following a series of unexplained raids on a local mosque.

Erkin Guney, Trustee and Site Manager for Shacklewell Lane Mosque, told the Hackney Post that officers had “raided” his mosque three times in the past two years, but did not clearly explain why they were there.

He claims that on one occasion in 2015, around six officers searched the premises out of a “farcical” concern that a Kung Fu class run in the mosque was a front for a terrorist training camp.

None of the raids yielded any results, according to Guney.

“They turn up here unannounced,” he said. “They’re institutionally racist to the bone.”

During the third search earlier this year, police were looking for a volunteer working for the mosque’s resettlement programme, which aims to help ex-convicts back into the local community.

“If they’ve got an issue with someone like that they need to come to us instead of raiding us”, Guney said.

Two officers also showed up at the mosque this summer when Guney hosted a Black Lives Matter meeting.

Anti-Islamophobia group Tell MAMA called for greater communication between the two parties:

“Clearly, there is an issue of trust between the mosque and the local police, which may be reduced by them communicating and speaking together more regularly. We would expect that the Met Police would inform the mosque as to the reasons for the searches.” a spokesperson told the Hackney Post.

The Met Police has faced repeated accusations of racism in recent years, mostly over its stop-and-search and counter-terrorism policies. Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe accepted last year that claims of “institutional racism” within the force carried “some justification”.

The Metropolitan Police declined to comment on Guney’s accusations.