JTA — An Orthodox Jewish patrol group in London said it would protect a mosque after a rise in hate crimes against Muslims.
The Shomrim patrol group accepted a request for protection by the North London Community Centre in Cazenove Road, an Islamic institution situated in the heavily-Jewish Borough of Hackney in northern London.
The deal was brokered at a recent meeting coordinated by Ian Sharer, a member of the local council, the Hackney Gazette reported this week.
It came following a rise in anti-Muslim attacks after the slaying of a British soldier on May 22 in London. The suspect, a 22-year-old Muslim extremist, was filmed holding a large knife over the soldier’s decapitated body. A second suspect was charged with attempted murder and is believed to have acted as an accomplice.
Tell Mama, a watchdog on hate crime, recorded 212 incidents in the nine days that followed the murder, including 120 online. In 2012, the same group documented 12 anti-Muslim incidents per week on average and 624 in total.
Sharer, who is Jewish, told the Gazette that he was asked by “Muslim friends to chair the meeting. The meeting was a great success. The Shomrim patrols have agreed to include the local mosques and other buildings as part of their routine patrols.”
The local Shomrim group, numbering 22, was set up in 2008 in part as a reaction to anti-Semitic incidents, the Gazette reported. Members of the 24-hour patrol group have been trained by Hackney police, and have neighborhood patrol badges and uniforms.
Chaim Hochhauser, 33, one of two Shomrim supervisors said the request from protection came from the Muslim community through Sharer. “We told them what we could do. We are pleased the Jewish community wanted to help.”