FINAL STATEMENT BY MEND ON ‘STOP AND SEARCH’ OF MUSLIM MALE OUTSIDE REGENT’S PARK MOSQUE
Categories: Latest News
Tuesday August 15 2017
On Friday 7 July 2017 just before Friday prayers at around 1:30pm, Mr. Muhammad Chamoune was stopped and searched by the police on Park Road, London, outside Abbey Lodge near Regent’s Park Mosque (the video footage can be seen here). For further background information please refer to the MEND statement issued on 9 July 2017 and 14 July 2017.
Since this incident the Islamophobia Response Unit (IRU), run by MEND has been liaising with the Metropolitan Police to clarify what happened in this incident.
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 carrying a ‘prohibited article’ and thus alerted colleagues to him, leading to the search. They have released the following statement;
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 contacted Mr Chamoune to seek his views on this, and subsequently on Friday 21st July 2017 facilitated a meeting between him and an officer from the Professional Standards Unit in Westminster Police to discuss the events of the stop and search on the 7th of July 2017.
In regards to the meeting the Met spokesperson said:
“He and a representative from MEND (Muslim Engagement and Development) spoke with an officer from Westminster who provided a detailed explanation of the rationale for the actions police took. All parties were content that any concerns raised had been addressed.”
At this meeting the Met Police clarified that the reason for the search was due to intelligence given to them about a suspicion that Mr. Chamoune was carrying a potential prohibited article. It was then established after the search that Mr. Chamoune had no such item on his possession and as such was not further questioned or arrested.
Mr. Chamoune was given the opportunity to address his concerns with regards to the stop and search incident and came to the conclusion that, “I accept the on duty officers were carrying out their duty to protect the public but it was unfortunate that the information that they were acting on from the off duty officer was inaccurate in this instance.”
Notes for Editors:
- The Islamophobia Response Unit (IRU) is a project run by MEND (Muslim enagagement and development) – www.mend.org.uk.
- MEND is committed to empowering British Muslims in the fields of media and political engagement.
- MEND’s work has been commended by The World Economic Forum, The Office for democratic Institutions and Human Rights and EU Parliament Magazine.
- Queries and further information requests to be sent to[email protected]