URGENT APPEAL FOR WITNESSES AND INFORMATION

Rainbow Hamlets, the LGBT Community Forum for Tower Hamlets, and the Metropolitan Police are appealing to anyone who has information about the recent Islamist vigilante videos to come forward.

In particular if you are depicted in any of them or know someone who is, or if you know of other related incidents that may have gone unreported, we would like to hear from you.

Anyone with information relevant to the investigation is asked to contact police at Tower Hamlets Community Safety unit. DI Cliff Jones, DS Chris Bagshaw or DC Stacey Yarker can be called on 020 7275 4758 or via 101. They can also be emailed at thcsu@met.police.uk or Crimestoppers can be called anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The police have agreed to offer confidentiality.

We appreciate that some people may want to talk this through confidentially before approaching the police, to have support following their experiences or to discuss concerns about issues like safety. Rainbow Hamlets has worked with LGBT community partners GALOP, and recommend people call their confidential community phone line on 020 7704 2040 in operation during office hours, or if preferred email witness@rainbowhamlets.org in confidence at any time. This is service is open to victims of homophobic attack who may not identify as gay or bisexual.

Rainbow Hamlets has again been working closely with the police and the council to ensure all the lessons have been learnt since the ‘gay free zone’ stickers of 2011, and that the concerns of LGBT people are being addressed. Along with the early arrests, we are satisfied that the posting of the videos, and the events depicted within them, are being treated by the police as serious public order offences, with a fully-committed investigation spearheaded by officers in Tower Hamlets. A Gold Group has been formed to provide a channel for both Muslim and LGBT community advice.

We welcome the clear repudiation of this small group by local Muslims organisations and leaders, and by the Muslim Council of Britain. It is important that we do not fall into the trap laid by both the far right and the Islamist faction, by treating these incidents as representative of the wider Muslim community. They are not. We recognise there is still work to do to build understanding between LGBT people and their Muslim neighbours, and we work in partnership with Imaan to build greater awareness of LGBT Muslims experience. Anyone who wishes to get involved pleased contact us atinfo@rainbowhamlets.org

THIS APPEAL IS AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD, REDISTRIBUTION OR VIEW AT http://goo.gl/6Z5vr