PRESS RELEASE: West Midlands Police Investigate Unacceptable and Shameful Events on Coventry RoadAssima Alam
Over the past few weeks of Ramadan, there have been increasing concerns about nightly events and trading activities on Coventry Road near Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre (GLMCC).
As a masjid, we have witnessed a range of antisocial behaviour, including youth gang fights, littering, noise disturbance for residents, illegal trading, road blockages, unauthorised food outlets without hygiene certification, and young children walking the streets alone. Some young people have also been misleading their parents by claiming to go to the mosque while socializing at the markets instead. Additionally, gangs of youth have been intimidating others, including women.
To address these community concerns raised by residents, local traders, imams, councillors, and others, West Midlands Police conducted a joint operation with Birmingham City Council last night. Unfortunately, the events that escalated were completely unacceptable and shameful. A large crowd gathered on Coventry Road in Small Heath around 1.30am, and the officers were sworn at, pushed, and jostled. One officer even suffered a minor injury when a bottle was thrown.
Both West Midlands Police and Birmingham City Council want people observing the holy month of Ramadan to enjoy the celebrations, but they also have a responsibility to ensure that everything is done safely and within the law.
The police are now examining body-worn video and social media footage of last night’s events and are appealing to anyone with information to come forward.
Det Ch Insp David Sproson, from Birmingham Police, said: “It’s completely unacceptable that officers who were there last night to make the community a safer and better place were met with such hostility. We were there at the request of the community to deal with concerns they had raised, and so what happened last night is intolerable. We’re now investigating a number of reports of criminal damage, as well as the assault on our officer, and those responsible are being sought and will face prosecution.”
Imam Mustafa, one of the main imams from GLMCC, commented that the month of Ramadan should be dedicated to worship, charity, and righteous deeds, and not to causing harm and distress to others. Late-night socializing is not appropriate during this blessed month. Ramadan is a time for observing good behaviour and avoiding sin, which is worse during this time than any other.
Mohammed Saeed, Chair of Trustees at GLMCC, also supports the work of the West Midlands Police in tackling this behaviour during one of the holiest months of the year. He appeals to the community to show good manners and etiquette during Ramadan and to consider the risks and consequences of their actions.
The GLMCC team has been stewarding and addressing concerns, and announcements have been made from the imams at the mosque. However, many people attending these markets are not from our community and are causing these issues.
“The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “When anyone of you is observing fast, he should neither indulge in obscene language nor should he raise his voice.”
Finally, we urge anyone with information about last night’s incidents to contact the police via live chat, quoting 3488 of 15 April.