LONDON, United Kingdom – It is a muggy evening in one of London’s most “diverse” boroughs – Redbridge. A figure stalks the pavement, ambling past the Coral bookmakers, clutching in his hand a package he so desperately wants to deliver to the shop next door – two conjoined buildings, non-descript on the outside besides a few wooden boards and peeling paintwork.
He walks by the door, missing the postbox, and instead delivers his parcel – a brick with a note – directly through the window of the shop, which is now the Woodford Muslim Cultural Centre. The glass smashes. The sirens wail. And the man hot foots it past the florist to the left, and disappears into the night.
Rewind to just eight months prior, when hundreds of local residents signed petitions and lodged their objections with their local council over the building of the mosque. Not because it is built for Muslims, but rather, because their high street wasn’t built to take such a “cultural centre” – and the very nature of the planning application was opposed by their elected leaders on the basis that it didn’t comply with the local plan for the retail areas of the community.
Never mind. Because just seven months on Britain’s central government agency, the Planning Inspectorate, decided that the council and local residents were wrong. The mosque should be allowed. Damn the parking problems. Damn the impact on community cohesion. And damn the fact that the council as well as local residents had promised to find a more suitable location. No, according to the British government, there must be a mosque on this main high street. Directly opposite the 111-year-old St. Barnabus Parish Church, and just yards away from rows of terraced housing, where parking is already hugely problematic.
Circa two hundred worshippers can now attend the mosque on Snakes Lane East, in the borough that has experienced a four-fold increase in its Bangladeshi population since 2001, and which has the highest proportion of Pakistanis of all London boroughs. In short: the rise of “multiculturalism” and top-down enforced “diversity” is playing havoc with this local community.
And it may seem crass, or insensitive to say it, but it is little wonder that thugs are arming themselves with bricks, terrorising the owners of the mosque who circumvented the council’s as well as the residents’ wishes by appealing to the Planning Inspectorate to get their way. It’s not condoned, it is not acceptable, but we have to be honest about what we know happens when local democracy is treated with such scorn, while immigrant populations continue to rise at a pace that locals simply cannot adjust to. It breeds resentment. On both sides. And there’s no doubting that Redbridge is not the only place in the country with such problems.
The blame for the attack should obviously lay with the attacker. A handwritten note posted on the building accompanied the attack. It read: “The rivers of blood are close to overflowing,” a seemingly educated reference to a quote from the late, oft-revered politician Enoch Powell. In recent years, Powell and his legacy have become toxic. But it was as recently as 1998, when the man passed away, that Tony Blair was referring to him as “one of the great figures of twentieth century British politics”. This would now be a completely unthinkable endorsement, as Powell has been vilified by the liberal establishment and the political left. During the General Election campaign, comedian-cum-politico Russell Brand even referred to UKIP leader Nigel Farage as a “pound shop Enoch Powell”. The political left erupted with glee.
But it is unsurprising that the brick-hurler used Powell’s caution over mass migration, which was delivered in 1968 when net migration stood at around 75,000 across the decade. Today, it stands at around 320,000, not withstanding illegal immigration that the government has no handle on. As local councillor Paul Canal explained to me, it wasn’t so long ago that the British National Party were within 80 votes of winning a council by-election in the area. Community tensions were heavily exploited by the nationalist party. But these weren’t tensions they had cooked up. These were genuine public concerns. It is unsurprising that immigration is still the number one priority for the majority of British voters: it is out of control.
And Canal is right to “oppose violence in all forms” as he told the Ilford Recorder. Issues such as this will not be solved with street violence, or bricks through windows. They will however be solved by following the rule of law, the democratic wishes of local people, and by bringing net migration down to a level that communities can handle.
On Snakes Lane East, the number of retail stores already falls below the “local plan” – a document which local authorities publish in order to ensure the stability and continuity of neighbourhoods and their high streets. The forced abandonment of this plan means the high street and its other stores will come under increased stress. Canal was “astounded” by the move, and he is someone who has experienced this sort of thing for years. It is unimaginable how local residents feel about their high street – which is just a narrow, two lane street – being turned into a car park for a mosque.
“In an ideal world, we would have found a different building for the centre,” said Canal. Now he says there will be more “unwanted tension” in the community. And it won’t be the Planning Inspectorate that has to deal with it. It is the local council, the residents that elected it, and the already stretched police force.