Islamophobia Watch reports that less than one week on from holding protests against a mosque in Sunderland, the National Front are now campaigning against plans to convert a building into Islamic centre in south London.
“No doubt flushed with the "success" of its recent protest at the site of a proposed mosque in Sunderland, the National Front has belatedly latched on to the plan to convert a vacant building in Worcester Park in South London into an Islamic centre, which has already been the subject of local opposition.
“The NF reports that fully seven of its supporters (probably almost the entire London membership) leafleted the area on Saturday in order to warn the non-Muslim population of Sutton of the fate that awaits them if the conversion goes ahead. The NF contingent was headed by veteran neo-Nazi Richard Edmonds (who, you may recall, has served as an inspiration to English Defence League leader Stephen Lennon).
“In an accompanying video filmed in front of the mosque's intended premises Edmonds declares: "The locals are absolutely correct to oppose this proposal. A mosque located here, close to the centre of the town, would change the character of Worcester Park irrevocably, and would be the thin edge of the alien wedge Enoch Powell warned us against."
“Edmonds then announces dramatically: "We will now show you what the townsfolk can expect if planning permission is granted. Let the good folk of Worcester Park and elsewhere take heed."
“The video then shifts to Edmonds gesticulating in front of the Baitul Futuh Mosque at Morden in the neighbouring South London borough of Merton… It covers an area of 5.2 acres and can hold up to 10,000 worshippers.”
As IW points out, the video grossly exaggerates any likely plan for a new Islamic Centre in Worcester Park, with its Planning & Design and Access Statement explaining: "It is expected that maximum 10-15 persons will attend for any one prayer session on a daily basis. Occasionally, the building can accommodate up to its maximum capacity of 140 persons."
Scaremongering and exaggerating claims to instill fear in local communities of the ‘Islamification of Britain’ is typical of the NF and other far-right organisations. Similar protests were recently held by the EDL in Chelmsford. Although the organised presence of the British far-right is still small in numbers, one can’t ignore the fact that elements of the far-right have attempted to take their absurd concerns against ‘Islamification’ global, with organisations such as the EDL taking a lead role in new ‘global counter-jihad’ initiatives. As Matthew Goodwin described in an article in the Observer on Sunday, the far right may be fragmented, however the core ideas of the threat of Islam and Muslims in the UK by and large remains a constant and possibly the most significant issue for the far right across the spectrum.
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