Waltham Forest Council of Mosques backs Walthamstow demo

We Are Waltham Forest flyerThe Waltham Forest Council of Mosques has thrown its weight behind the Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and ‘We Are Waltham Forest’ demonstration against the English Defence League (EDL).

The EDL is planning to march in Walthamstow, north east London on Saturday 1 September. It is a violent group of racist thugs who want to whip up hatred against Muslims, and spread intolerance in our multicultural community.

The ‘We Are Waltham Forest’ campaign, which is supported by all the major local trade unions and community groups, has now received backing from the Waltham Forest Council of Mosques.

The EDL had planned to march on 18 August, the same day as the Muslim Eid festival. After overwhelming public opposition the EDL postponed its original march.

Irfan Akhtar, spokesperson for Council of Mosques said:

We are committed to a peaceful protest against these fascists coming to our diverse and tolerant borough, and we will be alerting our congregations to attend the community event in the town centre.

Sophie Bolt, spokesperson for ‘We are Waltham Forest’ said:

We urge everyone to join us on 1 September to send a strong message that the EDL are not welcome here. It is only by standing up to these racist thugs that we stop them coming back time after time, attempting to divide and intimidate our community.

Unite Against Fascism and ‘We are Waltham Forest’ are calling for a unity protest on the day to send a clear message that Waltham Forest says ‘No’ to the EDL.

Assemble 11am on Saturday 1 September at the top end of the High Street in the Arcade Site next to Hoe Street.

For updates go to We Are Waltham Forest. Sign up to the email list at: waltuaf@gmail.com

Unite Against Fascism news report, 22 August 2012

See also “Campaigners who are against a march by the far-right English Defence League in Walthamstow next month have criticised police for not trying to ban it”, Waltham Forest Guardian, 22 August 2012

Update:  Waltham Forest Council has issued the following press release:

Waltham Forest Council is calling on the Home Secretary to ban the impending EDL march that is set to take place in Walthamstow on Saturday 1 September – midway through the Paralympic Games.

Originally the march had been scheduled for 18 August, but the Council worked with the local Police to postpone the demonstration. While the Council supports the freedom to protest in a peaceful way, it has continued to express its concern due to the timing of the event and potential for violence. Residents are being encouraged to stay away from the march and any counter demonstrations to avoid trouble.

Councillor Liaquat Ali, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Cohesion, said: “Waltham Forest is among the most diverse areas within London. We consider this to be one of the borough’s key strengths, helping to give the area its unique sense of vibrancy.

“The EDL is targeting our community because of its rich diversity, but we are standing together and calling on the Home Secretary to ban any action by the EDL and groups whose main aim is to incite hatred against others because of their religious belief, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.

“As an Olympic host borough, the eyes of the world will be upon Waltham Forest and we want to show Games-times visitors that we are an inclusive and cohesive community.”

A Community Cohesion meeting with the Police and community leaders will be held on Tuesday 28 August at the Town Hall, where the Council will further try to influence decision makers to stop the march from taking place.

The Police are working to minimise the impact on the community as they facilitate peaceful protests.