Calls for English Defence League to be branded ‘extremist’

Labour’s Black and Asian Assembly Members have written to the head of the Metropolitan Police to urge him to revise the Met’s view about the English Defence League (EDL) not being viewed as an extremist group. Last week the Government banned the EDL from marching in Waltham Forest, Islington, Newham and Tower Hamlets for 30 days.

Assembly Members Murad Qureshi, Jennette Arnold OBE, Dr Onkar Sahota and Navin Shah signed a joint letter to Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe asking his to reconsider the EDL’s status.

The Met applied to the Secretary of State Theresa May amid fears of public disorder as the EDL prepared to march in Walthamstow for the second time in one month. Members of the EDL have targeted London boroughs where there are a number of different faith groups and non-white communities.

Labour London-wide Assembly Member Murad Qureshi said:

“We call on Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe to brand the EDL as an extremist group. Members of the EDL are disrupting our communities and promoting violence and racist ideology. They are obviously a far-right group, bent on causing as much trouble in our diverse communities as possible.

“It is disgraceful that people such as the EDL who don’t even live in London and have to travel from outside the city are allowed to come to our neighbourhood to promote their evil racist ideology. We must stand together and recognise the EDL for what they are, an extremist far-right group.”

GLA press release, 5 November 2012