"I am of an old East End family. We define the East End as the three old boroughs of Bethnal Green, Stepney and Poplar which since 1965 make up the current London Borough of Tower Hamlets, plus that area of Shoreditch around Shoreditch Church which since 1965 is part of the London Borough of Hackney. Although my mother was born in Hoxton (which is adjacent to, but not part of, the East End) where my grandfather had a market stall, her parents were born in Bethnal Green as were all of my father’s family. My cousins and I have traced many lines of our families back to the 18thcentury. We span 4 centuries and 10 generations in the area, at least. Welcome to my ancestoral homeland.
The East End encompassed London docks which meant that people have always arrived from all over the world and many settled nearby. Just in the relatively small circle of my own family history, through blood, marriage, kinship or family friendship I know of Irish, Welsh, Italian, Scottish, Jewish, Polish and Russian, French Huguenot, Indian, West Indian and Yorkshire. Every group that came to the East End brought their own customs. The Huguenot influence can be seen in our love of bright colours of clothing and the flowers of our little gardens, even if the only garden available was a yard or a veranda. The Jewish influence is famous and goes far beyond the food and the delicatessens (and bread). Limehouse was Chinatown for many years although it is now in Gerrard Street W1. They integrated while giving us the best of their culture. Until recent years....
There are very few Jews left in the East End; most have moved into the general East End diaspora in Essex. As I said above a Jewish councillor is regularly abused, even during council meetings. The East London Mosque would love to get its hands on the land occupied by the Great Fieldgate Street Synagogue.
In 2008 Jewish tourists on a walking tour of the historic East End were pelted with stones and abuse by ‘Asian Youths’ with a ‘narrow religious view’. This made the national press but I gather that it was not an isolated incident.
To quote one of the ‘youth’ “We all hate her. She comes here with her Jewish friends who are killing our people and then they come to our back yards. It is out of order. What do they expect?"
The ‘youth’ were believed at the time to be supporters of George Galloway who was later elected MP for the constituency, saying after the election that he owes more(of his election) to the Islamic Forum of Europe ‘than it would be wise to admit’.
In 2009 following Israeli action in Gaza a petrol bomb was hurled at Starbucks in Whitechapel and Tesco’s stores and delivery vans were attacked. “Kill Jews” was daubed on a children’s playground at the Chicksand estate....
Gary Smith, Head of Religious Studies at my cousin’s old school, Central Foundation Girls' School in Bow, was attacked by four Muslim men, (already under surveillance suspected of a terrorism plot) because 'He's mocking Islam and he’s putting doubts in people's minds...How can somebody take a job to teach Islam when they’re not even a Muslim themselves? . . . This is the dog we want to hit, to strike, to kill.
In 2008 Canon Ainsworth of St Georges in the East Shadwell was beaten seriously enough to merit time in hospital after he asked some ‘Asian youth’ to behave.
The church had previously been targeted when a brick smashed a window during a service. Allan Ramanoop, a member of the parochial church council, said: “On one occasion, youths shouted: ‘This should not be a church, this should be a mosque, you should not be here. The youths are anti-Christian. It’s terrible what they have done to Canon Ainsworth’.
The boy convicted walked free; the prosecution decided that the attack was not racially or religiously motivated and decided that a beating which put a man in hospital for 12 days was mere ABH (assault occasioning actual bodily harm) instead of the more serious GBH (grievous bodily harm).
This summer ‘youths’ put parents and children in fear at a toddlers sports day at the Montessori nursery at St George’s...."Read it all: http://www.newenglishreview.org/custpage.cfm/frm/96534/sec_id/96534