Video footage has surfaced of Muslims reacting to police officers entering a mosque with their shoes on, in response to an emergency.
The video shows people screaming at the officers angrily, while one of them tries to explain why they were called in. One of the officers is heard reporting on the radio that people were being “aggressive,” while the man filming is providing running commentary, ‘explaining’ that the officer just doing his job “thinks he’s a bad man.” He then asks why men are speaking to a female police officer and shouts:”who is she?”
According to a Thames Valley Police spokesman:
“Officers were called on Friday at about 13:40, following reports of an altercation at a mosque in Totteridge Road, High Wycombe. Officers were responding to an immediate call for assistance and as a result, and to prevent any serious harm to individuals or any further outbreak of violence, officers entered the mosque, and spoke to people who were present. An allegation of assault was recorded and officers are carrying on an investigation into the incident. No arrests have been made at this time.”
Local paper Bucks Free Press quotes Zafar Iqbal, the former chairman of the Wycombe Islamic Mission, who confirms the altercation, in an attempt to downplay its importance. According to him:
“There was a lot of shouting but there was no need to call the police. When they arrived there were about 400 to 500 people here for prayers so the whole road had to be closed.“
The paper also reports that at least six police vehicles were called to the scene, and according to a resident, who is said to attend the mosque occasionally, he was woken up by the noise outside of the mosque:
“My wife told me there were lots of police outside, so I went out to look. There were lots of people and lots of shouting. It’s a shame really because it’s a nice mosque.“
But instead of worrying about stopping the fight, disturbing the neighbours or the fact that it was necessary to close off the road because worshippers misbehaved, most in the mosque seem to have been upset by the fact that police entered the mosque wearing their shoes.
Muslim worshippers take off their shoes before entering a place of worship, to prevent dirt getting inside and to symbolise being clean before prayer. So when officers entered to break up a confrontation – itself something presumably not symbolising cleanliness for prayer, those inside greeted them with shouts of “get them out“.