Politicians slam anti-Islam EDL Bolton protest

POLITICIANS from across Britain have slammed plans by the English Defence League to hold an anti-Islam protest in Bolton, Greater Manchester.

The likes of Dawn Butler MP, cabinet minister for young people and youth engagement, and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone along with leaders from National Union of Teachers and Communications Workers’ Union have signed a statement which condemns the league (EDL) and it’s anti-Muslim rally.

The EDL protest is due to take place on Saturday 20 March 2010 and some groups are concerned that it could lead to disturbances, violence, and multiple arrests.

Disputing that it has any connection to fascism or the British National Party (BNP), the EDL says that it is against Islamic extremism in Britain. It also claims it welcome members from any race or faith into its organisation.

However, during the EDL protest in Manchester in October 2009 50 people were arrested and more than 90 were arrested during EDL’s Birmingham protest.

In both cases it was not clear whether the violence was started by the EDL or by the individuals and organisations that oppose it.

Because of these disturbances politicians have signed a North West Unite Against Fascism statement, which reads: “We, the undersigned, completely oppose plans by the racist ‘English Defence League’ to hold a racist, anti-Muslim protest in Bolton on 20 March.

“The EDL is a group of racists and football hooligans, with close links to the Fascist British National Party. When the EDL came to Manchester in October, Muslim graves in the area were desecrated. When the EDL came to Stoke in January, the words ‘Islam Scum’ and ‘EDL’ were daubed on a local Mosque.

“Islamophobia – bigotry against Muslims – is as unacceptable as any other form of racism. Its aim is to divide us by making scapegoats of one community, as the Nazis did with the Jews in the 1930’s. Today they threaten mosques, tomorrow it could be a synagogue, temple or church. Today they threaten Muslims, tomorrow it could be Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, blacks, gays, travellers or Eastern Europeans.

“We have beaten fascists and racists before by standing up in unity against them.
We cannot stand by and let these racists attack any section of our community.

“Let’s gather in such large numbers that we make it clear to these fascist and racist thugs that THEY ARE NOT WELCOME HERE.

“Let’s protest against the racists and fascists, oppose their politics of hatred and defend Bolton’s diverse and united community.”

In response to the policitians’ condemnation of its rally, an EDL spokesperson told Manchester Mouth: “Politicians are all corrupt left wing terrorist sympothisers. They have all created this unworkable hellhole where we currently live with no go zones for whites. Certain towns and cities are becoming third world slums.

“The word of a politician means absolutly nothing to the EDL and the only person in a political position we hold any regard towards is Lord Pearson of the UK Independence Party for his honest view on Muslim immigration.”

The EDL claims that it accepts Muslim members but rejects extremism. On YouTube videos of EDL supporters burning Nazi flags and carrying banners stating ‘black and white unite’ and ‘love England hate extremism’ can be found.

W Riley, who commented on an earlier story by Manchester Mouth about the EDL, said: “EDL are not racists. Most arrests were due to bully tactics towards EDL protesters.”

However, the link between EDL rallies and violence cannot be ignored.

To read Manchester Mouth‘s earlier stories about the EDL click here.

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