||A West Yorkshire newspaper, The Press, reports that the police have denied rumours spread by the English Defence League that Muslim men have been trying to abduct young white girls. The EDL state that ‘vigilante action’ would follow if the police did not act on their allegations. The claims have surfaced just ahead of a planned protest by the EDL in Dewsbury on the 30th June.
From the local paper:
“Police have quashed rumours of Muslim men trying to abduct girls in Batley and Heckmondwike being spread by English Defence League activists.
“It follows claims by members of the EDL’s Dewsbury Division that two attempted kidnappings occurred earlier this month.
“The right-wing group’s Facebook page, which has more than 1,500 members, says they have ‘clear evidence’ of the incidents and that vigilante action would follow if police failed to act.
“After asking EDL supporters for more information The Press investigated allegations of a 10-year-old white girl being targeted in Hollybank Avenue, Carlinghow, last Monday.
“Police deny this and said the girl merely reported a van driver as trying to talk to her, with no suggestion that it was a ‘kidnap’ attempt.
“The victim was unable to describe the man to officers – meaning claims that he was Asian are also wide of the mark.
“DCI Paul Jeffrey, of Kirklees Police, said: “A van driver stopped to engage a child in conversation and asked her to look inside his vehicle. She was called away by her sister.
““No attempt was made to force her into the van. This was an isolated incident and very unusual for the area.”
“An unrelated incident in Heckmondwike is alleged to have occurred near the town centre two weeks ago and also involved a school-age girl.
“When asked for details EDL activists were unable to give further concrete information, while police records showed either it did not happen or was not reported to them.
“The abduction rumours have since circulated around the internet – but more worrying is a suggestion that the EDL could take the law in their own hands.
“A statement on Facebook said: “The English Defence League will seek a meeting with the authorities to express our concerns.
““Failure to respond to our requests may leave us with no alternative but to patrol our streets as parents and people who will protect our children.”
“The EDL are due to hold a national rally in Dewsbury town centre on June 30, a year on from a locally-organised protest at the railway station which cost taxpayers £172,000 to police.
“Kirklees Council leader Coun Mehboob Khan condemned the rumours and called on residents to turn their backs on the EDL.
“He said…“Child protection is a serious issue and not one to be used by political extremists in their search for support.”
Previous EDL demonstrations in Dewsbury and the Yorkshire area have resulted in violence. The claims of abduction follow suit from criminal cases involving charges of sex grooming and are indicative of the lengths that far-right groups are prepared to stretch to in order to spread Islamophobia and anti-Muslim racism. Moreover, the reports of EDL warnings that they may “take the law in their own hands” support findings recently published by the Institute of Race Relations that some European far-right organisations are engaging in vigilantism.