EDL march slammed by community leaders
Unity rally planned for same day as far-right event
On Saturday 14th November, members of the far-right English Defence League (EDL) will march through the streets of Bradford for the first time in over two years.
Following a subdued event in October 2013, demonstrators will return to the city next month with a large police presence once again predicted.
Now, a community organisation has arranged for a counter-demonstration to take place on the same day, with the chair of the group slamming the far-right protestors.
The ‘We are Bradford’ group are calling on people to join them for their peaceful rally - ‘Justice for the victims - We will not let the racists divide us’.
Ashiq Hussain, chairman and spokesperson for the group, said the EDL were attempting to ‘exploit’ certain crimes for their own benefit and urged the public to stand against the protest.
“We are Bradford condemn the EDL's decision to come to Bradford on Saturday 14th November. We believe it is a cynical attempt to exploit the appalling crime of sexual exploitation for their own selfish ends,” he said.
“We support and seek justice for all victims of sexual exploitation regardless of their social or ethnic background. We condemn and seek prosecution of all those responsible for these crimes irrespective of their ethnicity or creed.
“We reject the attempt by the EDL to whip up racism and division in our city by trying to turn communities against each other without a care for the damage it leaves in its wake.
“We also reject the attempt by the EDL to use the crime of sexual exploitation to demonise one community. It is important to emphasise that the victims and perpetrators come from all communities.”
Counter-demonstrations have occurred previously when the EDL have visited many cities and towns, with Bradford hosting their own in recent times.
Ashiq added: “The EDL is a racist group dedicated to attacking Asian people and Muslims. Islamophobia – bigotry against Muslims - is as unacceptable as any other form of racism. Today they threaten Muslims, tomorrow it could be Jewish people, Hindus, Sikhs, black people, LGBT people, Travellers or East Europeans.
“We urge people of goodwill to support the 'EDL not welcome in Bradford' statement and join the 'Justice for the victims - We will not let the racists divide us' peaceful unity rally on Saturday 7th November.”