EDL protest over new mosque plan in Newport

Muslim groups have called on the police to act quickly to prevent violent clashes after the anti-Islam English Defence League announced plans to march on a Welsh city in protest at a new mosque. Members of the group are planning to protest against the conversion of a disused church building into the new mosque in Newport.

A spokesman for the English Defence League told Wales on Sunday: “We are disgusted that a holy building of Christian worship is being turned over to a minority religion, large numbers of whom are in agreement with, or actually support Jihad against the West and intend to take control of this country, impose medieval Sharia law and make Britain an Islamic state.”

South Wales Central AM Leanne Wood has written to the Chief Constable of Gwent Police to raise her concerns about the protest and another one being planned to take place in Swansea the week before.

Islamic Society of Gwent secretary Mubarak Ali said he was very concerned about the protest being arranged. He said:

“I’ve seen how these protests have ended in other cities and I do not want that sort of violence in Newport. People living in Newport have been very supportive of the new mosque and it is people from outside of Wales trying to stir up the trouble. Newport is a very multi-cultural place and has been for some years. These trouble-makers are not welcome here.”

A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said the relevant risk assessment would be carried out to make sure the right resources are put in place to facilitate a peaceful protest.

Wales Online, 20 September 2009