The Metropolitan police have defended their actions after a video of an innocent Muslim man being stopped and searched near Regents Park Mosque went viral.
Muhammad Chamoune was interrogated after a member of the public complained that he was wearing too many clothes on a hot day.
Since last week the Islamophobia Response Unit (IRU), run by MEND has been liaising with the Metropolitan Police to clarify what happened in this incident.
MEND says the police have indicated that they had “reasonable grounds for suspicion” in this matter and explained that an off-duty police officer initially had concerns that Mr Chamoune was running towards the Mosque and carrying a “prohibited article” and thus alerted colleagues to him, leading to the search.
MEND understands that the lady in the video footage of the incident who altered the police to Chamoune is the off-duty police officer.
A Met spokesperson said: “At around 13:00hrs on Friday, 7 July, a man was stopped and searched by officers in Park Road, NW1. Officers responded quickly and appropriately to a man who was deemed to be acting suspiciously in the vicinity of a mosque.
“Officers are aware of the vulnerability of faith premises and acted accordingly. It is imperative that we act on information we receive positively and proactively to help safeguard communities.
“The man was searched, he was not arrested. Officers explained the reasons for the search and no complaint has been received at this stage.”
MEND’s IRU has been in touch with Mr Chamoune to seek his views on this. They will be seeking to host a meeting with him and the police, including the off-duty officer who initiated the stop and search.
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