Claims from far-right activists that Cambridge is in the grip of terrorists have been branded "outrageous".
Members of the Cambridge Division of the English Defence League (EDL), who are preparing for a march next Saturday, said Muslim “extremists” are “pervasive” in the city. They also defended accusations they are racist, saying “the Cambridge Division’s organiser’s best mate is black”.
The group is marching next Saturday in protest at the building of a mosque in Mill Road. The march will clash with Cambridge’s Big Weekend celebrations. Designs for the Islamic centre go before the city council’s design and conservation committee on Wednesday.
The EDL division’s website says: “The EDL Cambridge Division is a group of lads who have had enough of the Islamic extremists so pervasive in Cambridge. We are saying enough is enough and are making a stand. For too long Islamic terrorists have had Cambridge under their thumb, but no longer!”
The group also states Muslims “keep demanding the ‘right’ to apply for planning permission” to build mosques. The website says: “If we were in the countries these Muslims are from we would respect their way of life. No-one would build a church in say, India, and absolutely no one would practise Christianity in Saddam’s Iraq.”
In fact, 3 per cent of Iraqis are Christian and the faith is India’s third-largest religion. Both countries have Christian churches.
Mirza Baig, vice-chairman of Cambridge Muslim Council, told the News: “Although the Cambridge Division of EDL claims to be a non-racist group, the website is full of racist remarks. We support EDL when they condemn terrorism and radicalism. However, they very quickly jump on to condemning all Muslims. Unfortunately, they are doing it in the name of British culture. According to my understanding this is not the correct face of the British culture. While giving out a hate message, EDL forgets every fifth person in the world is Muslim.”
Cllr Lewis Herbert, a Labour city councillor who is organising a counter protest, branded the EDL branch’s claims contemptible – but warned the national group was a serious threat. He said: “There is no room in this city for stirring up hatred and the EDL haven’t any support in this city. The website actually shows what they really think about the right of people to have places of worship. Their claims are clearly outrageous.”
The website adds: “We are ready to take action against the terrorists wherever they strike in Cambridge.”
EDL leader Tommy Robinson was yesterday unavailable for comment but previously told the News he wants the march to be “peaceful” and that the group is “not racist”.
Thanks to NewHound for the heads-up