A band of Islamic vigilantes has admitted to roaming the streets of East London, confronting and threatening to kill non-believers in an effort to enforce Sharia law. Three men have pleaded guilty to related charges after self-proclaimed “Muslim Patrols” attacked, intimidated and threatened to stab members of the public in an area of London that hosted the 2012 Olympic Games.
Ricardo McFarlane, 26, a Muslim convert, pleaded guilty to affray—fighting in a public place—on Monday, while a 23-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, entered a guilty plea for two public order offenses. They refused instructions to stand in court as the indictments were read out. Last month, Jordan Horner, a red-headed, white 19-year-old, pleaded guilty to two charges of assault and the use of threatening words and behavior.
McFarlane and Horner admitted taking part in an attack on January 6 this year when a group of five men were approached at around 4 am while enjoying a night out in the East End of London. They had cans of beer snatched from their hands and poured out. A previous hearing was told that Horner said: “Why are you poisoning your body? It is against Islam. This is Muslim Patrol. Kill the non-believers.”
He then allegedly told someone to “go get the shank [knife],” according to prosecutors. Horner has admitted to throwing punches at the men as they attempted to flee the scene.
The 23-year-old man admitted to taking part in two further vigilante confrontations along with Horner. One incident took place on December 19 last year while Claire Coyle and Robert Gray were threatened on January 13 this year.
East London’s “Muslim Patrols” first came to attention when a a series of videos were posted on YouTube including one called The Truth About Saturday Night, in which a group of men threatened and berated members of the public for being gay, dressing inappropriately and drinking alcohol. Hooded men derided women as “naked animals with no self-respect;” claimed alcohol was evil; and said to one man “you’re walking through a Muslim area dressed like a fag, mate.”
An American student who was drinking alcohol in public was confronted and beaten by a gang of Asian men in a nearby area this summer, although there is no suggestion that the attack was carried out by the men who pleaded guilty in this case.
McFarlane, who has a previous conviction for criminal damage after painting over a picture of a woman that was posted in public, wore a black and red keffiyeh scarf in court. He spoke to his co-defendant throughout the hearing despite the admonishment of the female judge. “Mr. McFarlane, would you just listen,” judge Rebecca Poulet demanded after he arrived over an hour late for the hearing. She later said: “I noticed that he doesn’t want to stand today and talks quite often in court.”
Horner, who changed his name to Jamal Uddin, was convicted earlier this year for assault and criminal damage, and sentenced to six weeks in jail in July, after an incident outside the home of a radical preacher, Anjem Choudary, two days after the murder of Lee Rigby, a British soldier, who was killed by two Muslim converts with alleged links to terror networks. He pushed one photographer and threatened to cut off the head of another.
The three men will be sentenced on December 6. The judge warned that they could be imprisoned. “The court does consider this passes the custody threshold,” she said.