Tower Hamlets is one of the most diverse and the most densely populated places in the country.
For centuries, Tower Hamlets has welcomed all communities and all faiths, and we are proud of this history. The borough has a long history of standing up against hate and division and we are an example of how people from different backgrounds and different religions can live and work together in harmony.
The dreadful violence and loss of innocent life in Israel and Gaza has shocked us all. We know in London many people hold strong and differing views about the situation.
Our hearts and minds are with the people affected including residents who have family and friends there. We hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the current violence which is causing so much suffering.
In Tower Hamlets, everyone has a right to live, work and visit in safety.
Since the conflict began last month, the borough’s Tension Monitoring Group, community faith leaders, our No Place for Hate Forum and partners including the police and Tower Hamlets Council have met regularly to monitor reactions in our borough, including any incidents or tensions.
There has been lots of proactive work including increased patrols of police and the council’s Tower Hamlets Enforcement Officers on our streets and at places of worship. This work is to provide reassurance along with responding to any intelligence picked up from the council’s CCTV control room and channels including social media.
And last month we celebrated national Hate Crime Awareness Week through several multifaith events including a reception at the Town Hall for our No Place for Hate Champions, a peace walk from Altab Ali Park to Rich Mix and a football tournament for people of all backgrounds in Stepney.
Since the conflict began there has been a small increase in reported hate offences, however the police say this is lower than other boroughs, something that is testament to our strong community bonds in the borough.
We are proud that shared values of mutual respect, tolerance, understanding and kindness are in our borough’s DNA. We want to thank those organisations, other partners and our residents themselves for their approaches to community cohesion which has helped to achieve this.
Any hate offence is of course an issue, and we know some go unreported, so we encourage everyone to look out for one another and report any offences by calling 101 or, in an emergency, 999.
Sufia Alam, Chair of the Tower Hamlets Interfaith Forum
Sarah Castro, Chair of the Tower Hamlets No Place for Hate Forum
Statement endorsed by the Tower Hamlets Tension Monitoring Group
Posted on Tuesday 7th November 2023