British far-right group plans `anti-Muslim` campaign

A UK `anti-Muslim` group plans to step up a campaign against the minorities.

Updated: May 30, 2010, 17:48 PM IST

London: A British `anti-Muslim` far-right
group plans to step up a provocative campaign against the
minority community in the UK, fueling fears of widespread
unrest and violence in the country.

Based on undercover footage, the Guardian newspaper
said English Defence League (EDL) is planning to "hit"
Bradford and the London borough of Tower Hamlets to target
some of the UK`s most prominent Muslim communities in a
blatant attempt to provoke mayhem and disorder.

Thousands of people have attended its earlier protests
that have been marked by violence and racist and Islamophobic
rhetoric. The right wing group has attracted many from the
military, with 842 members as part of its online armed forces
division. The EDL claims that many serving soldiers have
attended its demonstrations.

"The soldiers are fighting Islamic extremism in
Afghanistan and Iraq and the EDL are fighting it here. Not
all the armed forces support the English Defence League but a
majority do," a spokeswoman for the EDL, whose husband is a
serving soldier, was quoted as saying by the British daily.

Top leaders in the new coalition government have been
briefed on the threat posed by EDL marches this week where its
supporters are expected to descend on Newcastle.

British lawmakers, including Bradford South MP Gerry
Sutcliffe, have warned against the groups "agenda of hate that
is designed to divide people and communities."

The EDL, which started in Luton last year, has become
the most significant far-right street movement in the UK since
the National Front in the 1970s.

Analysts say far-right activists may be moving away
from the ballot box and resorting to violent street
demonstrations.

"What we are seeing now is the most serious, most
dangerous, political phenomenon that we have had in Britain
for a number of years. With EDL protests that are growing week
in, week out there is a chance for major disorder and a major
political shift to the right in this country," said Nick
Lowles of Searchlight.

A spokesman for the EDL confirmed it would hold a
demonstration in Bradford on August 28 because the city was
"on course to be one of the first places to become a no-go
area for non-Muslims".

Even as the EDL claims it is a non-racist organisation
that only seeks to protest against "militant Islam", its
spokesman Guramit Singh highlighted the "security threat"
posed by the growing Muslim population in Bradford.

Phil Woolas, the former Home Office minister said it
was "deliberate attempt" to provoke and "push young Muslims
into the hands of extremists".

PTI