Bradford Council to consider bid to make English Defence League illegal

A motion to have the far-right English Defence League deemed an illegal organisation on grounds of terrorism will go before Bradford Council next week.

Respect councillors Alyas Karmani (Little Horton) and Ishtiaq Ahmed (Manningham) have put forward a motion for debate when the authority holds its full meeting on Tuesday. They want to petition Home Secretary Theresa May to proscribe – be made illegal – the EDL and offshoot organisations “immediately”.

Coun Karmani said: “I will put my neck on the line for this. I am going to get death threats. This is nothing to do with Muslims, but if we pander to these individuals we give them far too much – they do not represent the mainstream.”

In the motion, entitled Proscription of the EDL, Councillors Karmani and Ahmed claim that the EDL is “no different to their counter organisation ‘Al Muhajiroun’ and its offshoots and reinventions like ‘Muslims against Crusades’ that were proscribed in 2010 under the premise that it contained individuals who glorified terrorism and incited racial violence and was not conducive to the public good and community cohesion”.

The EDL is also described as a “conveyor belt for individuals to extreme right groups and movements that advocate direct action, terrorism and violence in the pursuance of their objectives”. It claims there are “adequate grounds” for proscribing the EDL under the Terrorism Act 2000.

About 600 EDL supporters held a protest in Bradford city centre last Saturday. It passed off without incident, with police and community leaders praising the people of Bradford for ignoring the protesters.

Council leader Coun David Green (Lab, Wibsey) said: “I need to look at the detail of the motion. Whilst I can understand the reaction from the councillors who are moving it, as I have stated previously, we need to make sure that we do not have a simple kneejerk reaction.”

Bradford East MP David Ward gave his views on proscribing the EDL in yesterday’s Telegraph & Argus, claiming it would not be straightforward. He said: “We would have to be looking at brand new legislation.” Bradford West MP George Galloway insisted on Monday that organisations like the EDL must be made illegal.

Update:  See “”, Telegraph & Argus, 16 October 2013