September 03, 2008

BNP church fire comment 'despicable'

A top Lincoln Tory has branded the words of BNP leader Nick Griffin as "despicable" after he commented on a fire at a church in the city which was about to converted into a mosque.

 The leader of the far-right party sent a statement to the Echo in the wake of a blaze at St Matthew's Church. Griffin, who lives in Wales, pointed the finger of blame at four groups and also included racist remarks. He said: "Perhaps a local householder was driven mad by the thought of being engulfed by a miniature version of Lahore."

 He also added that "druggie vermin that infest the dark corners of once proud Lincoln" or bored children may have torched the building.

 Karl McCartney, prospective Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Lincoln, said: "His statement comes as no surprise to me. He will use anything for his own ends. It's sad when something as devastating as this is used for political capital and what he has said is despicable."

 Later in the comments Griffin suggests that someone may have been "doing the new owners a favour of clearing the site". Lincoln City Council has called the remarks "idle speculation" and urged anyone with relevant information to report it to Lincolnshire Police or Crimestoppers.

 The authority's leader Councillor Darren Grice said: "I am angry that someone who has no affinity with Lincoln can question the sense of pride our residents feel about their city."

Lincolnshire Echo


Anonymous said...

Cyclops is fast going the way of Lee Barnes, lol

Nick said...

St Matthew’s Church Fire
Official Statement
Thursday, 04 September 2008

In the immediate aftermath of the fire which destroyed St Matthews Church on Saturday 30 August LARF did not feel it appropriate to comment. We felt this should be reserved until at least the cause of the blaze was known, if not the perpetrator. However, following Nick Griffin’s blatant attempt at making political capital of the situation, we feel we have no choice but to make a statement as an organisation committed to combating racism and fascism in Lincolnshire.

Firstly we wish to make it quite clear we are not accusing any organisation or individual of any criminal act. It is the job of the Police and Fire Service to ascertain the exact circumstances of the fire and decide whether or not a crime has been committed. However, Nick Griffin has clearly decided that the fire was an act of arson, despite living many miles away in Wales, and has chosen to offer us his view on why this happened.

Griffin’s statement that a local resident may have been “driven mad by the thought of being engulfed by a miniature version of Lahore” is ridiculous. To begin with it takes no account of the demographics of Lincoln. There are around 2000 Muslims living in Lincoln and the surrounding area . Allowing for a population of around 90,000, that is less than 3%. There is a greater influx of non-residents to Lincoln each time a match is played at Sincil Bank. This comment was clearly intended to be inflammatory and to stoke up anti-Islamic feeling.

Not content with trying to provoke racial tension, Griffin then goes on to claim that somebody may have been “doing the new owners a favour of clearing the site.” The intention is clearly to suggest that the fire was caused by Muslims, presumably to increase the value of the land. This is pure conjecture on Griffin’s part and borders on being slanderous. It totally ignores the amount of work and effort that the Islamic Association of Lincoln have put into securing a new venue. Through such statements Griffin is attempting to imply guilt upon the Islamic community in Lincoln without any evidence whatsoever.

Griffin also chooses to insult those who his party will soon be seeking votes from, by stating that the fire may have been caused by “druggie scum that infest the dark corners of once proud Lincoln.” The idea that the BNP can lecture people on criminality is ludicrous, given the record of some of their leading members . Griffin himself has convictions for inciting racial hatred, Colin Smith and Charlie Sargent (among others) have convictions for drug-related offences and even locally the BNP’s one-time press officer Stephen Bailey was convicted of criminal damage in 2006. The London nail bomber David Copeland was also a one-time member of the BNP.

Nick Griffin’s comments are a blatant attempt at trying to stir up racial tension in Lincoln. Similar tactics were used in 2001 at the time of the riots in Oldham, Bradford and Burnley. After the BNP made gains in Halifax, West Yorkshire Police reported that racist incidents rose by 21%. With their response to the St Matthews Church fire the BNP have again showed how they will opportunistically seize any issue in order to stir up racial tension. Lincoln Against Racism and Fascism has a proud record of combating racism and prejudice in Lincoln and the surrounding area. We intend to ensure that the BNP and other organisations do not succeed in using this unfortunate event for their own ends.

Marc Glasscoe
Publicity Officer
Lincoln Against Racism and Fascism
Tel: 07533 965534

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