Everyone has a right to their opinions but no one has the right to incite hatred on the basis of faith or race.
I am concerned there is an equivalence being made between these people, who came to provoke trouble, and people who stand against fasicsm and racism. There is no equivalence and it is wrong that people have been allowed to come into the city centre with this intent for trouble.
The fascists wants to see social disorder, especially scenes of violence between Muslim youth and white people, because then they can hold it up as ‘evidence’ of the ‘failure’ of multiculturalism.
Of course, our message is ‘do not be provoked’. We don’t want to see any scenes of violence in our Birmingham city centre; but the reality is they know some of these tactics have worked as in the past in Burnley, Oldham and Stoke where they instigated race riots and since that polarisation, they have benefited in their votes.
I believe the English Defence League’s so-called ‘protests’ are simply a repeat of this formula which they want to bring to Birmingham and other cities across the country.
I call on politicians from all parties, civic leaders and faith representatives to condemn the racist intent behind these so-called demonstrations and also call for the banning of any future such protests in our city.
Luton has also seen protests by the EDL and Casuals United, which have resulted in violence, and the police there have actually responded to a public outcry about this by calling for a ban.
Chief Superintendent Andy Frost, Divisional Commander for Luton police, said:
“The risk the proposed marches pose to public safety has left us with no alternative but to apply for a banning order.”
Alan Johnson, the Home Office Minister, granted this banning order in Luton, because he received over 14,000 letters directly to himself and the Chief Constable there, saying that they wanted a ban.
I urge people in Birmingham to write to Alan Johnson, as well as to the Chief Constable here to urge for a similar ban.
I love being a Brummie, I’m proud that Birmingham is a multicultural and diverse city. Let’s not be divided by the racists.
To request a ban, please write to:
Alan Johnson MP (Home Secretary): firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Constable Chris Simms (West Midlands Police): email@example.com
For reasons of transparency, we want to keep track of how many letters are sent. Please ‘CC’ Salma Yaqoob at: firstname.lastname@example.org