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Ban the EDL from Luton

Luton MP Kelvin Hopkins, anti-racist activists and faith representatives are calling for a ban on the demonstration planned by the English Defence League (EDL) for Luton this weekend, which is being promoted as their ‘homecoming’. Evidence from previous EDL events is clear; wherever the EDL mobilises, Mosques and other place of worship have been attacked, with Muslim people and police officers being assaulted. The EDL were caught on camera at a demonstration in Preston chanting ‘Burn down the Mosque’.

Kelvin Hopkins MP said:

I have written to the Home Secretary, and asked her to ban this march. Our diverse communities in Luton have always lived peacefully side by side. A march by the EDL will damage community relations in the town when much work has been done to build and sustain them. Freedom of speech is important but when outsiders are determined to come into Luton and incite racial hatred they should not be permitted to do so.”

Farooq Murad, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said:

The Muslim Council of Britain deplores the attempt by the EDL and its spokespeople to stoke up fear and hatred in the heartland of our peaceful communities. The EDL’s latest, cynical and hypocritical attempt to pass itself off as the champion of an inclusive multicultural and interfaith Britishness embracing of Sikh, Jewish and Christian communities imperilled by Islam and Muslims would be risible if it were not so tragic in its consequences. The EDL no more represents the interests of minority faith communities than it does the working classes of this country, White, Black or Asian. The EDL’s racism is blatant; so must be our common front in the denunciation of the EDL’s racist targeting of Muslims. The EDL’s ‘marches’ not only wreak havoc in towns and neighbourhoods across the country, they threaten to rent asunder the very fabric of our common society.”

Len McCluskey, Unite General Secretary said:

The EDL and its poisonous rhetoric has no place in our communities or workplaces. We condemn the EDL and everything it stands for. At a time of economic uncertainty, unemployment and deep public spending cuts we must do everything possible to stop racism gaining ground. No matter what your race, religion or background is, in the end everyone suffers when communities and workplaces become divided.”

Bruce Kent, Vice Chair of Pax Christi said:

To allow the EDL to parade in Luton is deliberately provocative and should not be allowed. If you wanted to cause civil disorder, this is the way to go about it.”

Dr. Edie Friedman, Executive Director of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality said:

We are alarmed about the EDL demonstration in Luton. JCORE isn’t afraid of honest debate about challenges for our multicultural society, but demonising one group with lies and laughable stereotypes is profoundly destructive. All of us in anti-racism organisations must redouble our efforts to promote the vision of an inclusive, plural society.”

Sabby Dhalu, Secretary of One Society Many Cultures said:

We cannot turn our eyes away from the Islamophobic nature of the EDL. If a movement had been set up to target Churches or Synagogues in the way the EDL targets Muslims, Mosques and Islam, there would rightly be a national outcry. The lessons of history are that fascists target those most vulnerable in society in order to grow. The growth of the EDL from a one-off demonstration in Luton to regular mobilisations around the country shows the emboldening of this fascist group which has attacked people and police alike. The local authorities and the government must act to ensure the safety of the people of Luton by banning this demonstration.”

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