EastEnders spoilers follow.
Note: This article contains discussion of hate crime that some readers may find upsetting.
EastEnders is exploring the issues of racism and religious hatred in a new storyline, with Aaron Monroe's true motives being exposed in tonight's episode (November 16).
Viewers have already seen Aaron (Charlie Wernham) make it clear that he isn't a fan of Bobby Beale (Clay Milner Russell), who is dating Aaron's sister Dana Monroe (Barbara Smith).
In scenes that aired tonight, Aaron and Dana's dad Harvey Monroe (Ross Boatman) hosted a very awkward lunch for his kids, along with Bobby and Aaron's new love interest Tiffany Butcher-Baker (Maisie Smith).
Aaron seized the opportunity to question Bobby about his Muslim faith, demanding to know when and why he had converted. Despite the rest of the family clearly feeling uncomfortable, Bobby responded calmly and explained how peaceful his religion makes him feel.
When Aaron and Harvey were alone, Harvey began to question his son, asking him why he had asked Bobby so many questions and whether he was "involved" again.
Aaron insisted that he has "grown up" and no longer speaks to "those boys", implying that he had previously been involved with a dodgy group. Despite Aaron trying to deflect attention by mentioning Harvey losing his job due to his recent words to Ash Panesar (Gurlaine Kaur Garcha), it was clear that Harvey still had his suspicions.
Harvey became even more concerned when he opened up his wheelie bin to discover a blood-stained shirt belonging to Aaron.
Harvey questioned Aaron on why his shirt was covered in blood and, despite Aaron's claims that he had been passing by when he encountered a fight, Harvey made it clear that he didn't believe him.
Eventually, Aaron admitted that he had been involved in the fight and Harvey immediately realised that he had been hanging about with his former dodgy friends. He was even more horrified when Aaron told him that he had used him as an alibi, embroiling him in the crime.
Meanwhile, Tiffany sought out Bobby to apologise to him for Aaron's behaviour at the lunch and was touched by his kind words, as Bobby asserted that Aaron was simply keen to get to know his sister's boyfriend and that he understood Aaron's interest in learning more.
Later in the day, Harvey was worried when a police officer showed up to question him about Aaron's whereabouts on the night of the attack.
The officer explained to Harvey that the victim – a taxi driver who had been personally requested for a fare – has suffered severe injuries and has a high chance of going blind in one eye following the attack.
Following his police interview, Harvey confronted Aaron about the incident. Despite Aaron swearing on his dad's life that he hadn't touched the man, Harvey made it clear that he didn't believe him.
"These people aren't your friends," he said of the people Aaron had been out with. "They're the far-right, they're fascists."
Harvey revealed that he had given Aaron a false alibi and Aaron promised Harvey that he would never see the group again – but later that night, he was seen spraying hateful graffiti on the outside of the Argee Bhajee.
Speaking on the phone, he declared that "the old man bought it" and that his dad would now not be able to act against him after providing him with a false alibi.
He added that a planned mosque will "never" be opened, before dropping his spray can and walking back home, with his family none the wiser.
EastEnders airs on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays on BBC One.
Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is urged to call the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit the True Vision website. In an emergency, always dial 999.
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