Last Thursday night the English Defence League’s Bournemouth Division held a demonstration outside the Havana Winebar in the Charminster district of the Dorset town. They were protesting against an alleged assault on a woman customer that took place during a fracas outside the bar over a month ago, under circumstances that are unclear and which are still under investigation by the police.
Why should this incident be of particular interest to Bournemouth EDL? As they explained on their Facebook page, their overriding concern was that the bar owner is “of Muslim decent”. This soon expanded into the claim that the Havana Winebar is “notorious for abuse towards non Muslim females”, followed by the assertion that “Charminster is becoming a beach head for Muslims in Bournemouth. Only we can stop it”.
Thus, in the paranoid imaginings of the EDL, an obscure fracas outside a bar becomes not only an example of “the misogynistic contempt Muslim men have for women” but even a sign of the impending Islamification of Bournemouth. (A process that evidently still has some way to go, judging by the 2011 census, which found that there are just 3,264 Muslims living in the town – 1.8% of a total population of 183,500.)
On their Facebook page Bournemouth EDL proudly announced that fully 14 of their members had participated in the protest outside the Havana Winebar: “We Stood For English Heritage And Freedoms That All Of Us Are Entitled To, Not What Some Barbaric Book Tells Them To Do. We Are Bournemouth EDL – We Shall Never Surrender!”
Quite where is that “barbaric book” the Qur’an it is recommended that Muslims should own bars selling alcohol is not specified. As for “Never Surrender!”, today’s Bournemouth Echo carries a report on the EDL protest. It quotes a Dorset Police spokesman as stating: “They were asked to disperse and did so peacefully.”