Violent street gangs are committing crimes in the name of Islam in south London, Muslim leaders have said.
They said there was evidence the gangs were targeting vulnerable young men and threatening them with violence if they did not “convert” and join them.
Scotland Yard said they were aware of a gang called the Muslim Boys, a number of whom had been arrested for gun and drug offences.
Police and Muslim leaders said the gang’s beliefs were not legitimate.
Wanoo Sheshmi, of the From Boyhood to Manhood Foundation, which works with young men in south London, said the gangs tried to get those from the most deprived areas to join them.
He said: “We know that they (the gangs) are targeting young people, vulnerable young people who are receptive to this message because they themselves are empty, they need something to believe in.”
Abdul Haq Ad-eye, of the Brixton Mosque, said: “People have been saying that there have been some Muslim youth that have an extremist understanding of Islam, so we are very concerned about that at Brixton Mosque because we have been quite pivotal in warning against extremist understandings of Islam.”
We need more than warnings. We need a campaign to give these boys, and other boys who have been influenced by Omar Bakri and Abu Hamza, a completely different perspective — on Islam, if that can be done, or if not, then simply a new view of life. But this is not being done: multiculturalism and the official obfuscation about the role of Islamic teachings in justifying violence forbid it.