'London Taliban' targets women, gays
Cape Town – Suspected 'Talibanesque thugs' are being investigated by London police after a spate of attacks against women and gay people in what seems to be a bid to impose Sharia law in the Tower Hamlets area, reported the UK's Daily Mail on Monday.
The paper said women who do not wear headscarves were being threatened with violence and even death by Islamic extremists intent on imposing Sharia law on parts of Britain.
Stickers have been plastered on public walls stating: "Gay free zone. Verily Allah is severe in punishment", The Daily Mail reported, adding that posters for H&M which feature women in bikinis and a racy poster for a Bollywood film had been defaced.
An Asian woman who works in a pharmacy in east London and is not a practising Muslim was told to dress more modestly and wear a veil or the shop would be boycotted.
When she went to the media to talk about the abuse, a man later came to the pharmacy and told her: "If you keep doing these things, we are going to kill you."
According to the Daily Mail, the 31-year-old said she has since been told to go on leave by the pharmacy owners and now fears she may lose her job.
She said: "Why should I wear a hijab (headscarf) or burqa? I haven't done anything wrong."
Ghaffar Hussain, of the anti-extremism think tank the Quilliam Foundation, told The Sunday Times that the intimidation was the work of "Talibanesque thugs".
Three men have been charged with religiously-aggravated criminal damage in connection with some of the incidents.
Firebrand Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary told the Mail that he was aware of individuals who would speak up if they saw a Muslim woman without a headscarf, but insisted they were only giving advice about their views of Islam.