To an address in North West London to join friends of March for England in singing Christmas carols outside the new home, (courtesy of the British tax payer) of Abu Qatada. He was moved from his previous rented house last week after his neighbours made him unwelcome and he complained about the carol singing. Within 5 hours of the press announcing his move a team of men from MfE and the Casuals had tracked his new address down by simple but painstaking use of information in the public domain. A visit confirmed that the Qatada family are not only in residence but enjoying the local amenities.
The owners of the house, who inherited when an elderly relative died are furious that they have been lied to about their new tenant; they do not want a notorious jihadist in their property and have instructed the agents to do all intheir power to terminate the contract.
The local church invited the Qatada family to visit for any Christmas service. Plans were made to take the Christmas carols to them. Originally it was going to be this evening but it was decided to bring the meeting forward a few hours at short notice. It's good to be spontaneous sometimes.
As I walked up the street and past the church I could hear the tunes of We wish you a Merry Christmas and the Twelve Days of Christmas. The programme was both secular and traditional. I joined MfE opposite the house and recognised others from the Casuals, EDL, a contingent from Essex and some other groups I am not familiar with. The police had hurredly arranged officers to attend and as I passed they were debating whether or not there were enough singers to merit closing the road. At that point they felt not, but later police cars did divert traffic down a side street. They did not allow anybody from the patriot groups on the same side of the road as the Qatada residence but local people went about their business.
Mince pies were passed round and Oh Come all ye Faithful was sung. The neighbours came out to see what was going on. Some of them were already aware that their new resident was Abu Qatada and they were not impressed. Others had noticed the constant police presence, the unmarked cars watching from every corner, the new and rather sinister looking security cameras on four posts either side of the house. When they were told who was living there they were angry. They object to such a man in their midst. They object to their taxes being used to support him while they struggle with their mortgages. Its a nice house, in a lovely area. Detached, from the look I would say 4 bedrooms, well maintained, handy for church, school and shops.
Some of the neighbours joined the group, below. The sign says Safer Neighbourhood Watch Area. Be aware, Mr Qatada your neighbours are watching you.
We didn't see any members of the family but when some officials (my guess would be from the Home Office, but that's only my opinion) arrived they were let in.
After an hour the MfE contingent decided that the point had been made and it was time to let the good people of the avenue go about their Sunday afternoon. I believe the other groups started to pack away shortly after. We left the residents discussing a petition to the council and letters to their MP.
As we approached the tube station we could see police vans - presumably expecting us to arrive later. Like I said, it's good to be spontaneous sometimes.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Mr Qatada - next year in Amman I hope.
Photographs E Weatherwax and the Casuals Christmas 2012.