EDL set to march through Bournemouth on Saturday

We Are BournemouthThe English Defence League is planning to march through the centre of Bournemouth on one of the busiest weekends of the year.

The march, planned for this Saturday, is billed as a demonstration against Islamic extremism and could be attended by hundreds of people. In response, members of unions, the National Pensioners’ Convention and the Labour and Green parties have organised an alternative rally to celebrate the town’s diverse culture.

The EDL march will start at 12.30pm outside the Moon in the Square pub and go past the BIC to Pier Approach and up to West Cliff. The counter-protest, involving a number of groups co-ordinated by Unite the Union, plan to meet at Horseshoe Common, taking a proposed route that finishes at Bath Road South car park.

Some disruption is expected between midday and 2pm, although this will be for short periods of time while the marches move through different areas.

Adnan Chaudry, chief officer of the Dorset Race Equality Council, accused the EDL of racism. He said: “We recognise that the EDL is a racist organisation whose main activities are street demonstrations against Muslim communities. They deliberately seek to whip up tension and violence between communities. We’re not going to allow them to divide our communities in Bournemouth.”

The EDL says that it is not a racist organisation and that it is only against “extreme components of Islam”.

David Stokes, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Bournemouth West, will take part in the alternative march. He said: “We are using the slogan ‘We Are Bournemouth’ for our march and rally because we are trying to highlight the fact that Bournemouth is a peaceful multi-cultural place where we welcome people from around the world.”

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Fascists unite to oppose mosque in New Addington

BNP New Addington mosque meetingNotice announcing the cancellation of the BNP meeting, and Richard Edmonds addressing the audience with Cliff Le May looking on

Last week Labour and Conservative politicians in New Addington, including local Tory MP Gavin Barwell, united to issue an admirably firm statement opposing an anti-mosque campaign by the far-right British National Party. The fascists were not happy. They accused the statement’s signatories of “putting ethnic minority groups before the indigenous Brits” and setting aside their political differences to “conspire on an issue they all very much agree on – the Islamisation of Britain”.

The joint statement was important for its exposure of the BNP’s central role in the anti-mosque campaign, which has reportedly been run by the party’s Croydon & Sutton organiser John Clarke. The BNP itself has tried to play down its involvement, claiming that it was merely responding to a local initiative, having been “approached by concerned residents seeking the BNP’s knowledge and experience in dealing with proposed mosques popping up in every town and village in our green and pleasant land”.

As one of the BNP’s opponents told the Inside Croydon blog: “They are pretending to run a community campaign, claiming it’s not political. They are leafleting, knocking on doors, as well as running a street stall once or twice per week.”

The culmination of the BNP’s fraudulent “community campaign” was to be a public meeting on Sunday at the Addington Community Association centre. However, the ACA cancelled the booking, apparently in response to pressure from Croydon council, leaving the BNP without a venue. But they arrived at the ACA anyway and held their meeting outside the building, self-righteously complaining that they were the innocent victims of an attack on free speech.

Very few of those mythical local residents who had supposedly turned to the BNP for leadership actually turned up for the meeting. Considering that the party claimed to have persuaded two thousand people to sign its anti-mosque petition, and had invited them all to attend, the level of support was derisory. Inside Croydon estimated the numbers at “fewer than 30″. Nor were any “concerned residents” represented on the platform, which consisted of just two speakers, both of them notorious fascists.

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Row over French MEP’s Muslim veil comments

Nadine Morano tweet

A French MEP and former minister has created a storm in France by posting a picture of a veiled woman sitting on a beach and criticising it as an “attack on our culture”.

Nadine Morano, a close ally of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, took a picture of the woman wearing a headscarf and posted it on her Twitter feed and Facebook page next to a famous photo of sex symbol Brigitte Bardot wearing a bikini.

“When one sees this scene, one cannot but help feel an attack on our culture that goes against our sexual equality,” wrote Morano, from the centre-right UMP party.

“If you choose to come to France, a state of law, a secular state, one should respect our culture and women’s rights. If not, go elsewhere!” said Morano, who is well-known for gaffes and outspoken comments.

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‘Drunk’ Belgium diplomat specialising in protocol is arrested for tearing full-face veil off a Qatari princess

A senior Belgium diplomat specialising in protocol has been arrested for tearing off the full-face veil of a Qatari princess after she asked him for directions.

In the latest example of the difficulties involved in imposing a so-called “burka ban”, Jean-Marie Pire did not know the identity of the massively wealthy VIP before attacking her.

She approached him with two other women in broad daylight in central Brussels last week, asking for directions to the famous Grand Place. The kind of full face veils favoured by some Muslim women are banned in Belgium, just as they are in neighbouring countries including France.

“I said I don’t talk to anyone if I can’t see their face,” said Mr Pire. “With this reply, I wanted to make it clear that the veil is banned in Belgium. Because the person asking me a question didn’t seem to hear me, I lifted her veil. I know I shouldn’t have done that, but what she did wasn’t legal either!”

The woman, who has not been named, said she suffered cuts and bruises after her earrings were violently dislodged, along with her veil.

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France: Mosque desecrated for second time in a year

Cognac mosque fascist graffitiAccording to AFP, swastikas, Celtic crosses, and slices of ham were found on the walls of the mosque in Cognac on Sunday.

The same source said that the imam of the mosque discovered the misdeeds early Monday morning when the went to the mosque to perform the Fajr prayer, the first prayer of the day.

Abdallah Zekri, President of the National Observatory Against Islamophobia, a component of the French Council of Muslim Faith (CFCM), told AFP that “slices of ham were spread on the steps of the entry and two crosses painted on the walls.” “This is the same group wanted to celebrate the anniversary of the degradation of the mosque last year,” Zekri estimated, confirming that a complaint was filed.

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Tyrol mosque defaced with swastikas

Telfs mosque graffiti (1)A mosque in the town of Telfs, in Tyrol, which is known for its distinctive white minaret has been defaced with swastikas.

The Nazi symbol was sprayed in black paint overnight on Tuesday, around the entrance to the mosque and on some mosaic tiles. It is not known who defaced the mosque but the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution has launched an investigation.

The mosque was opened in 2001 by the local Turkish cultural association. However, many locals protested in 2005 when the cultural association announced that it wanted to build a minaret to accompany the mosque.

Among the roughly 15,000 residents of Telfs, about 2,400 people signed a petition against the building of the mosque, and nearby homeowners threatened lawsuits. Locals objected that the minaret would attract crowds and cause traffic congestion. Others complained that the minaret would represent a victory of Islam over Christianity.

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Hundreds protest Israeli wedding of ‘Jew with Muslim’

Lehava anti-wedding protest

A bride who converted from Judaism to the Muslim faith and a Muslim groom were married on Sunday to cries of “Death to Arabs” as Israeli police held back about 200 angry protesters.

The protesters, many of them young men wearing black shirts, denounced the bride, who was raised Jewish and converted to Islam before the wedding, as a “traitor against the Jewish state”. They sang a song that urges, “May your village burn down.”

A few dozen left-wing Israelis held a counter-protest nearby holding flowers, balloons and a sign that read, “Love conquers all.”

The groom told Israel’s Channel 2 TV the protesters failed to derail the wedding or dampen its spirit. “We will dance and be merry until the sun comes up. We favour coexistence,” he bravely said.

Several dozen police, including members of the force’s most elite units, formed human chains to keep the protesters from the wedding hall’s gates and chased after many who defied them. Four protesters were arrested, and there were no injuries.

A lawyer for the couple, Maral Malka, 23, and Mahmoud Mansour, 26, both from the Jaffa section of Tel Aviv, had unsuccessfully sought a court order to bar the protest. He obtained backing for police to keep protesters 200 metres from the wedding hall in Tel Aviv.

The far-right group Lehava has harassed Jewish-Arab couples in the past but has rarely protested at the site of a wedding. Sunday’s demonstration was a sign of how tensions have risen during the war in Gaza.

A protester against the wedding, Ofer Golan, told France 24, “It’s time that the Muslim will leave Israel. That’s it. This is a Jewish country, they don’t belong here, they don’t have to be here. They have 22 countries; they can go anywhere they like.”

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Mordechai Kedar joins Geller at pro-Israel, anti-Islam rally

Mordechai Kedar at AFDI rally August 2014Yesterday Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer’s American Freedom Defense Initiative held a rally in Union Square, New York, under the slogan “We the living support Israel”.

In an apparent attempt to boost turnout – even Geller must be aware that the vast majority of New York’s Jewish community, including committed supporters of the state of Israel, will have nothing to do with her – the event was subtitled “And minorities persecuted under Islamic rule”.

According to Geller, an individual who enjoys at best a tenuous relationship with reality, the event attracted “thousands” of AFDI supporters, though it’s odd that her website contains no pictures of this vast throng. From photographic evidence, it looks as though the attendance was at most a couple of hundred. A report at the Huffington Post puts it at “around 150″.

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Racist vandals target Muslim graves in Chadderton Cemetery

Chadderton cemetery vandalismRacist vandals have carried out a sickening attack on Muslim graves in a cemetery.

The yobs uprooted headstones, trampled on flowers and kicked over memorials in what police branded a ‘heinous and senseless’ crime in Chadderton Cemetery.

The raid took place at the site, on Middleton Road, between 8.30pm on Friday, August 15, and 7.30pm the following day.

Officers received a distressed call from someone visiting the grave of a loved one. When police arrived they found up to ten graves – all in the Muslim section of the cemetery – had been damaged, leading them to believe it was a racially-motivated attack.

Wooden grave markers and headstones were uprooted from four adjoining graves, one of which had a brass plaque ripped from the headstone itself.

A further two large floral tributes on other graves were smashed, trampled on and the flowers scattered across the other, while flowers on up to four other graves were also kicked over. There was also some evidence to suggest someone had walked directly over a recent grave. Police are now appealing for witnesses to come forward.

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Reports and comment from Islamophobia Watch 11‑17 August

Reports and comment from Islamophobia Watch 11-17 August 2014