The former Jesters building, and EDL supporters Gerry Woody, Andrew Smith and David Croc Johnson
In September the Bristol Post reported that a planning application had been submitted to convert the former Jesters Comedy Club in Stokes Croft into a mosque. The proposal was initially uncontroversial – according to the Post, no objections or comments had been received in relation to the application. The English Defence League, though, were not about to let this latest act of aggression in the ongoing Islamic conquest of Britain pass without resistance.
A protest announced by the EDL Bristol division, which was to have been held on 7 December, was postponed until the new year, supposedly because it clashed with various charity events. However, as Steven Rose revealed last month, the EDL also launched a campaign to get their supporters to register objections to the planning application on the Bristol City Council website. The EDL appeal read:
“Please sign and share. this is a grade 2 listed building in bristol and holds a great deal of history for the city. once again, we see another part of english heritage under threat and being forced to make way for yet another mosque. put a stop to this now.”
Following objections posted by the EDL, public comments on the planning application had to be temporarily closed.
Last week Bristol EDL asked their supporters if they had received replies to their objections – or, as they put it, “Anyone else had a shitty letter from the council because they opposed the mosque in gloucster rd ?” (see below).
It turned out they had, and the response from council planning officers was not exactly favourable. That’s hardly surprising, given the nature of the objections EDL supporters said they had raised, such as: “with the muslim population of england just under 5% why do they need so many mosques? around 2000 in the u.k. to date, i oppose any more mosques”.
One EDL supporter reported that “they sent me a Email saying they cant take my letter under consideration because it contains Racist comments. All I said was I don’t wont anymore Mosques over here”. Another indignantly complained that he had received a reply “threatening to grass me up to the plods if I re-posted similar comments & they made out it was racist!!!”
It’s a measure of the stupidity of the EDL that they thought such objections could possibly influence the planning process. Any Islamophobe with half a brain knows that objections to planning applications for mosques have to be couched in terms of noise, parking, traffic etc. Complaints about there already being too many mosques in the UK cannot be taken into consideration by planning officers or a council planning committee and are simply going to be ignored.
Still, just because the EDL are thick, that doesn’t mean they’re not a threat. Among the comments posted on the Bristol division Facebook page were calls for attacks on the building that is intended for conversion into a mosque. Gerry Woody of Weston-super-Mare wrote “Unbelievable burn it down”, while Andrew Smith of Bristol similarly urged EDL supporters to “burn the counting [sic] thing down”. Another contributor from Weston, David Croc Johnson, advised “pigs head will stop it”.
Some might say this is just words, but we know from past experience that calls for action by the EDL on social media not infrequently translate into hate crimes on the ground. Furthermore, these inflammatory Facebook comments are in clear breach of Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003, which makes it an offence to send a menacing message by means of an electronic communications network, with a potential six-month prison sentence on conviction. Hopefully Avon and Somerset Constabulary will be taking an interest in this matter.
Update: See “Bristol police probe ‘burn mosque’ comments on EDL Facebook page” here.