CAIRO - A Labour councilor has urged the Muslim community in Bristol to ignore a march by far-right, anti-Muslim English Defense League (EDL) in the city next month, This Is Bristol reported on Friday, June 29.
Community leaders are asking Muslim families especially young people not to get involved in any kind of counter EDL demonstration on the day, Easton councilor Faruk Choudhury said.
"The police and the council constantly assure us that they are taking every step to ensure public safety."
Choudhury's comments followed news about a new anti-Islam march planned by EDL.
Failing to convince the organizers to cancel the march, the march will go on next July 14.
The march organizer, Mickey Bayliss, said the group was committed to a peaceful demonstration against what he claimed was the "Islamification of Bristol".
Bayliss denied accusations that the EDL preached fear and hate, claiming instead that it was a tolerant organization.
Unfortunately we are being painted as a racist group, but we are clearly not, he said.
He added that the EDL was not targeting Bristol in particular.
"There's been a few incidents involving Islamic centers springing up around the city and also more mosques, he said.
"We are against the extreme Islamist terrorism and Shari`ah law and people who preach hate and terror.
"We are also against the Islamification of Bristol."
In Islam, Shari`ah governs all issues in Muslims' lives from daily prayers to fasting and from, marriage and inheritance to financial disputes.
The Islamic rulings, however, do not apply on non-Muslims, even if in a dispute with non-Muslims.
The Labour councilor praised the Muslim community for having self restraint in the face of these hate messages.
We appreciate that it is hard for local Muslim residents to hear the message of hate from the EDL demonstrators, Choudhury said.
But we are urging everyone to take responsible action, he added.
Concerns have been growing in Britain and across Europe over the rise of white and supremacist groups.
The EDL, a far-right group that emerged in 2009, has held numerous protests against what it calls Islamic extremism in Britain.
Far-right groups like the EDL and the British National Party (BNP) are playing the card of immigration to stoke sentiment against Muslims and immigrants.
In November 2010, British police warned that the anti-Muslim demonstration by the EDL fuel extremism and harm social cohesion in Britain.
British Muslims, estimated at nearly two million, have been in the eye of storm since the 7/7 attacks.
A Financial Times opinion poll showed that Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims.
A poll of the Evening Standard found that a sizable section of London residents harbor negative opinions about Muslims.