Are the “Muslim Boys” terrorising Croydon?

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This week’s Croydon Advertiser has a report on an apparent “religious war” which led to a teenager being stabbed in April 2005; the case is currently the subject of an Old Bailey murder trial:

An Old Bailey jury heard how the defendant, from Croydon, also 16 and who cannot be named, told police: “On the streets these days it’s like Muslims against normal people.

“Stefan [Persaud] and this other boy were Muslims and they were trying to turn people over to become Muslims.”

The youth died in a fight between his gang, “Take Them Out” and a rival gang “Till Death”:

The youth said fights had broken out between Stefan and the rival gang several times before he was beaten unconscious at the junction of Towpath Way and Davidson Road, South Norwood, on April 23 last year.

He said: “I heard there was a fight with Stefan a couple of weeks before.

“He and a couple of other people attacked [a co-defendant] on a bus.”

The teenager agreed that the fighting had escalated into a “mini war” and he said he heard youths shouting: “Is it war? Is it war?” as they clashed, but denied that he was part of the fight.

While not familiar with this case or people in that part of Croydon (despite my old house being near the other end of Davidson Road), it seems to bear the hallmarks of the so-called Muslim Boys, a pseudo-religious criminal gang which is known for its murderous antics in the Brixton area (see here, here, and here). When David Cohen interviewed them for the Evening Standard, it turned out that they are not really Muslims (see this earlier post):

When I ask Winston whether he believes in Islam, he prevaricates. “Sort of,” he says. “I converted when I was in prison. I found it relaxing, we got better food. Now we all go to mosque together. If I refuse, they blow [shoot] me, innit. I pray twice a day: before I do crime, and after. I ask Allah for a blessing when I’m out on the street. Afterwards, I apologise to Allah for what I done.”

A misconception about this gang is that they are some sort of London branch of al-Qa’ida, a mistake made by the clearly not very conscientious, or not very bright, journo on the Daily Mirror in January this year, who claimed that prisoners on one wing at Belmarsh jail were being attacked by “violent Islamic extremists” belonging to this gang, who hold weekly religious meetings at which “top members of al-Qaeda preach” (see earlier entry). I fail to see why detained al-Qa’ida suspects would bother themselves with this petty knife gang, who by their own admission are not really Muslims. (The Daily Moron made the same stupid accusation two weeks later.)

In reality, the “Muslim Boys” have nothing in common with the sort of Muslims who carry out terrorist acts, other than that they kill people. There is a history of Islamic terminology being used by Black nationalist groups like the so-called Nation of Islam, which alongside the association with violence lent to Islam by al-Qa’ida and various other groups, may well be what motivates these cut-throats to brand themselves Muslims as well. The fact is that a Muslim is one who affirms, believes and practices Islam, which these thugs do not (and even if they did, Islam certainly does not condone what they get up to). In the times we live in it is incumbent on the media to make this distinction, but they seem remarkably lax about doing so.

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