British extremists condemned for anti-Islamic protest in Ramadan / PHOTO

British minister condemned extremists over their violent anti-Muslim protest near a London mosque, leading to 10 arrests.

British extremists condemned for anti-Islamic protest in Ramadan / PHOTO


British minister condemned on Saturday extremists over their violent anti-Muslim protest near a London mosque, leading to 10 arrests.

Communities Secretary John Denham said far right groups were deliberately trying to provoke ethnic minority groups into conflict in a bid to cause divisions within communities.

Riot police arrested 10 people Friday during an anti-Islamic protest by extremists who clashed with Muslim supporters outside the mosque in Harrow, northwest London, on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.


The English Defence League (EDL), which clashed with anti-fascists in an anti-Muslims demonstration in Birmingham last week, and Stop the Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) planned another discriminative protest at a mosque in Harrow.

Meanwhile, Unite Against Fascism (UAF) supporters held their own counter-demonstration to show solidarity with Muslims.



Police said they were attacked with bricks and bottles outside Harrow Central Mosque.

Police made the arrests for possession of offensive weapons and breaching the peace after bricks and bottles were thrown at officers. Items recovered include bottles of bleach, a hammer and a chisel, they said.



An Islamic leader with a loud-hailer appealed for calm from the protesters. He was quoted as saying : "We don't need any pictures on the TV of people fighting or shouting. Remember we're fasting, we're fasting right now."

Provoking violence

Denham told The Guardian newspaper that there was a need for a broader strategy from government to "undercut issues that racists try to exploit".



Denham compared those behind the anti-Islamic protest to the 1930s British Union of Fascists.

"If you look at the types of demonstrations they've organised... it looks pretty clear that it's a tactic designed to provoke and to get a response and hopefully create violence," he said.

"You could go back to the 1930s if you wanted to," he told the Guardaian newspaper. "The tactic of trying to provoke a response in the hope of causing wider violence and mayhem is long established on the far-right and among extemist groups."



Police moved in after a crowd of angry Muslim youths threw sticks and stones at a small group of about a dozen mostly shaven-headed protestors.

The mosque is not finished, but Friday prayers will be conducted next door in the middle of Ramadan, Islam's holiest month.



Anti-racist campaigners say the League has links with the far-right and with football hooliganism, BBC said.

Unite Against Fascism says that the EDL is "a racist group, out to attack Asians".

The government has been trying to improve integration of ethnic minorities since race riots across northern England in 2001. Denham said far-right groups were again trying to take advantage of white, working-class people although he added modern extremist groups lacked the potency and organisation of those of the 1930s.

"What we're seeing is small but we do need to take it seriously enough to say there are obviously people who would like to be provocative," he told BBC radio.

Support for the far-right British National Party has been growing, fuelled by anger at the main parties and suspicion that immigration was impacting on jobs and services. It won two seats in European Parliament elections in June.

Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Eylül 2009, 13:45
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