Lancashire News reports that police have obtained an order against extremist right-wing group, the English Defence League (EDL), over their protests against Blackburn’s KFC serving halal chicken.
From the article,
“Officers acted after seven nights of demonstrations kicked off with scenes of disorder as 50 English Defence League protestors descended on the Haslingden Road restaurant.”
“Four men were arrested on suspected public order offences late on Sunday and a skip was set on fire.”
Blackburn MP, Jack Straw, commented, "this seems to be an effort by these people are more right-wing than the BNP to stir up problems which don't exist", adding, “I eat Halal and I have never had any problems with it.”
The Chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM), Salim Mulla, however, commented that the LCM did not even accept the KFC meat as halal. Lancashire News reports:
“He said to be granted the status by the LCM the killing needed to be taken in the name of God, be hand slaughtered and ensure the three main veins are cut so death is instant.”
“Coun Mulla said: "This method is less cruel than other methods and that has been shown in evidence from scientists.”
"KFC stun the animals first and use a mechanical slaughter device, so we cannot support that."
The EDL extremists have picked up on the campaign over the last few weeks, instigated by the Mail on Sunday, against halal meat. The report by the Mail on Sunday sparked a torrent of coverage by the usual right-wing suspect tabloids, attempting to manufacture outrage at the fact that businesses were serving halal meat to their customers. The campaign has continued for the third week, with the Mail claiming some sort of victory in its efforts when Waitrose decided to introduce non-halal lamb products. It is of interest that the article in the Mail now seems to have an issue with the Islamic prayer recited over all halal meat when originally we were being led to believe it was about animal welfare. They even brought in a “devout Christian”, Patricia Dunton, to comment, “I don’t like the fact that an Islamic prayer has been said over it.”
It is the atmosphere that this kind of anti-Islamic rhetoric creates that extremists such as the EDL to exploit to give credibility to their particular brand of bigotry.
The EDL have, time and time again, attempted to disrupt social cohesion by committing acts of hatred against Muslims and attempting to sow discord between communities. Their planned march in Leicester on 9th October was yesterday banned by Home Secretary, Theresa May. A Home Office spokesman commented, “Leicestershire Constabulary are committed to using their powers to ensure communities and properties are protected and we encourage all local people to work with the police to ensure community cohesion is not undermined by public disorder.” However, a static protest is still possible and is reported to be going ahead.
The last time there was such a ban on an EDL march was in Bradford, when the Home Secretary consented to a requested ban following a 10,000 strong petition from Bradford residents. A static protest was allowed to go ahead, which resulted in bricks, bottles and smoke bombs being thrown at anti-racism supporters and police by around 700 EDL hooligans.
In Leicester, the general secretary of the Indian Workers’ Association’s Leicester branch, Sital Singh Gill, commented on the tensions that were being stirred up in the local community:
“The English Defence League are organising these kind of events across the country, stirring up racism and provoking violent attacks on Muslim, black and Asian Communities and on mosques and Hindu temples.”
It is worth asking how long will the EDL be allowed to continue its rampage of hatred and destruction, while other, non-violent groups, have been banned. It is also worth asking what it will take for the usual tabloid suspects to wake up to the effects of their anti-Islamic rhetoric and take some responsibility to create cohesion instead of disunity.
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