Sikhs to join demonstration against EDL in Bristol

Sikhs Against EDL (2)

‘Sikhs Against the EDL’ to join the counter demonstration against the EDL march in Bristol on Saturday 14th July

Sikhs from London, West Midlands and Cardiff will be marching against the English Defence League (EDL) in Bristol on Saturday 14th July under the banner of ‘Sikhs Against the EDL’.

They will be there to support the counter demonstration against the EDL march in Bristol on the same day. The counter demonstration is being organised by a multi-cultural, multi-racial and multi-faith organisation known as ‘We Are Bristol’. It is a broad-based network of local community groups, political organisations and trade unions. Their aim is to ‘celebrate diversity and oppose racism and fascism’ and to show the EDL that they are not welcome in Bristol.

The EDL is a racist organisation that particularly targets Muslims. In the last three years, since it was formed, they have staged more than 90 provocative demonstrations in towns and cities around the country, attempting to stir up anti-Muslim racism and hatred. Many of their marches have ended in violence when in some cases they have broken free from police cordons and rampaged down the streets attacking cars shops and passers-by.

They claim to oppose ‘extremism’ but EDL supporters have been filmed chanting ‘Burn a mosque down’. A series of arson and other physical attacks on mosques and community centres have taken place in areas where the EDL is active. In Dudley, after one of their marches, a Hindu temple and a Sikh elderly gentleman were also attacked by their supporters.

EDL leader ‘Tommy Robinson’ – real name Stephen Yaxley Lennon – and a number of other leading members are former members of the fascist British National Party (BNP). Many more former members of the BNP, the National Front and other fascist organisations are also active in the EDL and often EDL supporters have been photographed giving Hitler’s ‘sieg heil’ salute.

Recently the EDL announced a formal alliance with the British Freedom Party (BFP), a breakaway group from the BNP but with equally fascist policies who want to ‘scrap the Equalities Act and ban all manifestations of religious and cultural separatism’.

The ‘Sikhs Against the EDL’ campaign was formed about 18 months ago in response to some Sikh youth being recruited by the EDL. The campaign immediately received wide support from some major Sikh and Hindu organizations, MPs, councilors as well as many other prominent people from the community. As a result of the campaign most of the Sikh supporters of the EDL now seem to have disappeared.

However, about six weeks ago the EDL tried to hijack a Sikh protest outside the Luton police station when some 200 to 300 Sikhs had gathered to protest at ‘police inaction’ regarding an alleged attack upon of a Sikh girl by a Muslim man. A dozen EDL members, including their leaders, and some wearing headscarves, also joined the protest and tried their best to inflame the situation by blaming all Muslims rather than the individual concerned. But, soon the EDL were requested to leave by some Sikh leaders. Since then a young Muslim man has been charged with ‘common assault’.

Balwinder Singh Rana, spokesperson for the ‘Sikhs Against the EDL’ said, “The EDL may pretend that they are friends of the Sikhs. But they can not fool us. Their alliance with the BFP has now totally exposed their true nature. They are no different than the BNP as they are against all minorities and are opposed to multiculturalism. We should never fall for their ‘divide & rule’ policies and we should oppose them where ever they show up to spread their racist poison”.

He further added, “At times like these when there is a deep economic crisis with mass unemployment and massive public spending cuts, they have always looked for scapegoats to blame. In the 30s it were the Jews, in the 70s and 90s it were the blacks and the Asians and now they have found a convenient scapegoat in the Muslims. But we should never forget that today it’s the Muslims and tomorrow it would be all of us”.

The details for the counter demonstration are:  Saturday 14 July. Assemble at 11am, Fountains, Bristol City Centre.

Turban Campaign press release, 9 July 2012