BNP is linked to petition against new ‘mega-mosque’

English_RoseRight-wing extremists have manipulated a Downing Street petition to stir up racial hatred over the building of a “megamosque” in east London, an investigation can reveal.

More than 270,000 people have signed a petition on the Number 10 website that calls for the scrapping of plans to build Europe’s largest mosque close to the main site of the 2012 Olympics.

But the Standard has learned that the anti-mosque campaign has been infiltrated by the British National Party, which has told its members to sign the Downing Street petition. The petition was originally posted on the No 10 site by a Right-wing extremist called Jill Barham.

The BNP today admitted orchestrating a campaign to get its members to sign the petition. An email had been sent out to supporters with links to the petition on the Downing Street website. The party used a similar tactic to try to influence a poll on the Evening Standard‘s website that had simply asked: “Are you in favour of the £100million mosque?” The poll was withdrawn after the discovery of the extremists’ attempts to manipulate the outcome.

BNP leader Nick Griffin said: “We have publicised the petition on our website encouraging people to sign and we have had a small part to play in that [reaching 270,000 signatures]. We also had an email campaign to get our people to sign it.”

Asked whether he was aware of the English Rose blog or if Ms Barham was a BNP activist, Mr Griffin said: “Even if I knew who she was I wouldn’t tell you. She may be involved in the BNP at a local level but I just don’t know. I can neither confirm nor deny.”

The website of Lancaster Unite Against Fascism says that it believes the BNP’s local candidate, Chris Hill, is a friend of Ms Barham. The group said today its inquiries indicated Ms Barham ran two websites English Rose and Cry For Freedom, both of them which it described as “rabidly anti-Islamic”.

Evening Standard, 20 July 2007

A leader in the Standard asserts that “the BNP’s involvement should not detract from the real public concern about this venture promoted by Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic group with strong links to the fundamentalist Saudi Wahabi [sic] sect. Tablighi has been accused by French intelligence of being an ‘antechamber of fundamentalism’, while two of the 7/7 bombers allegedly visited its Yorkshire HQ. The police and security services must advise planners on whether extending this group’s activities could create a security threat.” The leader goes on to warn against “turning part of West Ham into an Islamic monoculture”.

See also Reuters, 20 July 2007

For Barham’s response to the Standard piece, see English Rose, 21 July 2007