Five men guilty of assault at Edgware Rd anti-Shia protest

Five men have been found guilty of assault after an anti-Shia protest in Edgware Road descended into violence last year.

Police said the men, some of whom were part of a group banned under government terror laws, and who cannot be named for legal reasons, were “carrying inflammatory banners” and “chanting sectarian slogans” targeting the area’s Shia Muslim community.

Demonstrators assembled at Regent’s Park Mosque last May before marching down Edgware Road. They were led by Anjem Choudary and were carrying banners condemning Bashar al Assad, Iran and Hezbollah over events in Syria.

Scotland Yard said two members of the public were beaten to the floor, punched, kicked and beaten with a wooden placard.

A video of the march shows a confrontation between protesters and bystanders and one man is seen with blood pouring from his head.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtDB6hVNkEk

Sentencing has been deferred to a later date.

Following the verdict the Islamophobia monitoring organisation Tell Mama said the community must be on guard against intra-Muslim hate.

“Tell Mama visited the victim and we spoke to the young man who had been quite severely assaulted on multiple occasions. Humble and seeking some form of justice, he kept re-iterating that he did not hold all Sunni Muslims accountable for what he suffered and that there should be and must be no division that leads to violence on the streets of Britain. In fact, his words came from a place of hope rather than anger…

“The individuals found guilty cannot be named for legal reasons and some of the individuals are well-known to the police. Which brings us onto our final point. We need to remain vigilant against all forms of hate and this also means intra-faith hate. Hate material against Shias or Ahmaddiyas for example, is not acceptable and such material can, sadly, have an impact on vulnerable minds. In fact, in many cases of individuals involved in crime and extremism, there are multiple vulnerabilities in their backgrounds that can easily be traced.

“There is a high likelihood that the individuals involved will get a custodial sentence and we salute the courage of the victim and many others who supported him. We also support the police for diligently working with Muslim communities to reduce any tensions and ensuring that they arrested those responsible. We hope that this saga is now over and that a strong message is sent out that such behaviour will not be tolerated by the courts.”

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