Police in London have launched an investigation into a sign telling dog owners to stay out of a park because it is “an Islamic area now” and “Muslims don’t like dogs”.
The sign, which was posted in Bartlett Park in the borough of Tower Hamlets in East London, was condemned by local MP James Fitzpatrick, who alerted police to its presence. He said that it may have been put up by “religious zealots” or a far-right group to stir up trouble.
He told the London Evening Standard: “The question is whether it was put up to be provocative or by religious zealots to be racist.”
“It’s another facet of intolerance, or, because there’s no guarantee it was done by Islamists, it could be those in society who are trying to polarise and divide us.”
He added: “Whichever side it was ought not to be able to get away with it and whoever’s responsible ought to pack it in.”
Police have removed the sign and increased the number of officers in the area. Local Borough Commander Dave Stringer said: “Bartlett Park does not have any history of community tension; however we are investigating the posting of these signs and conducting additional patrols to ensure that community reassurance and confidence are maintained in the area. At this time we retain an open mind concerning the motive behind the putting up of these signs.”
“We will continue to work with our borough partners to ensure that Tower Hamlets remains a safe and secure place to live work and raise families,” he added.
A spokesman for the local council said that posters were “alarming and divisive”.
“The council actively promotes the No Place for Hate campaign whereby people of different faiths, cultures, lifestyles and backgrounds live in harmony. This means we support community cohesion and would not want the actions of any individual or small group to impact on this.”