Lewisham Muslims welcome BNP march restrictions

Lewisham’s Islamic Centre has expressed its relief at the “welcome news” that far-right group, the British National Party, will be barred from marching in the southeast London’s borough’s streets.

BNP leader Nick Griffin had planned out a route from Woolwich Barracks, near to the scene where soldier Lee Rigby was murdered, to the centre only a few miles away, which was scheduled to go ahead tomorrow (June 1).

However, police intervened in the BNP’s plans, citing potential for serious violence and damage to neighbourhoods.

Counter-fascist groups had also signalled their intent to demonstrate against the BNP march, leading police to believe the event would get out of hand.

In a statement issued by the centre, they said: “It gives us great satisfaction to hear that one of the most significant reasons that the BNP cancelled their march was because of the community concerns expressed by the communities of both boroughs.”

The Islamic centre is considering holding a celebration march to show solidarity between different faiths and religions – extremist activity from far-right fascists and extremist Islamists has escalated community tensions, leaving moderates to refute both sets of intolerant views.

“We have collectively shown that what binds us all together irrespective of race, religion and creed is our humanity”, the statement added. “As Mahatma Gandhi once said: ‘You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.’”

Unable to completely ban a BNP presence, the Met have imposed geographical and time restrictions on the planned BNP march, meaning it will instead be forced to take place in central London, in Whitehall, between 1pm and 4pm.