Race riot flared after Muslims were urged to confront right-wing protests
I have seen nothing on the English Defence League site to justify calling them 'right wing'. 'Right wing' has become a term of abuse in some circles, where it would be politically incorrect to call someone 'English' as a term of abuse, and calling us 'plebs' would be giving the chattering class game away.
Other than conforming to that rather hackneyed (I was born in Hackney - that makes me a pleb, of course) definition The Times has reported something rather important here.
Birmingham’s top Muslim leader urged his followers to “vent their feelings” against anti-Islamic protesters during a weekend rally that ended in violence and dozens of arrests, The Times can reveal.
Muslims were encouraged by the Birmingham Central Mosque to counter-demonstrate during Saturday’s protest in the city, which was organised by the right-wing English Defence League (EDL). It is understood that Muslims were encouraged to confront the protest against the advice given by the West Midlands Police to community leaders to stop their followers from attending.
Mohammad Naseem, Birmingham Central Mosque’s chairman, considered to be the most senior community leader in the West Midlands region, told The Times yesterday that he encouraged members of his congregation to attend the rally, at which about 80 people were arrested, to express the Islamic community’s solidarity.
Dr Naseem’s advice came less than a month after Muslims of predominantly Asian heritage clashed with the EDL in Birmingham at another antiIslamic rally that led to 35 arrests.
He said the presence of Muslims at the weekend protest was an important stand against anti-Islamic fascists. “I think it shows that the community has got a sense of cohesion,” he added.
The Times understands that the West Midlands police received assurances from Muslim leaders during numerous meetings in the past two weeks that their community members would be discouraged from attending the protest, which the EDL had announced at the August 8 demonstration in Birmingham.
“The police had a lot of engagement with mosques, youth workers and social workers, and a lot of work went on to encourage people to stay away and not attend,” police sources said. “But it is obviously difficult to stop kids going and their presence alone would be deemed provocative.”
Asked if it would have been a better idea to encourage Muslims not to attend the rally at all, Dr Naseem said: “The thing is, that is their right, I cannot say, ‘You don’t have this right’.”
But Dr Naseem emphasised that his followers were told not to attend the rally alone but to form allegiances with other counter-demonstrators such as socialist groups and members of other religious denominations.
West Midlands police stand accused of failing to manage the protest despite obtaining a Section 14 authorisation from the Home Office under the Public Order Act to arrest anyone who breached the conditions of the demonstration.
The order enabled the police to nominate the protest’s location, the maximum number of activists and the time length of the event.
But what was planned as a two-hour “stationary protest”, which could not be legally banned by the Birmingham City Council or the police, turned into a scene of chaos and disorder after the rival groups clashed.
Elsewhere I posted that arrests of EDL supporters had been made following damage to the seats of the buses in which they were removed from the centre of Birmingham to the underpass where their demonstration was allowed to continue.
I have since read that the buses were attacked by missiles including stones and rocks. And that, according to the Birmingham Post
As the convoy made its way to the demo site, drunken men were seen ripping up the seats and throwing them out of the window.
I don't know what sort of windows Birmingham buses have these days. The buses I have traveled on recently (in London, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk) either do not have opening windows, or windows so small it would be hard to hurl anything bigger than a crisp packet out, were one minded to be a litterbug. Damage to seats I can believe - hurling them out of the windows of a moving bus I don't.
Posted on 09/07/2009 3:02 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax