CAIRO - Appalled by a wave of attacks on Muslims and their worship places in the wake of a machete killing in London, hundreds of Britons have marched through the city of Newcastle in protest at hate-preaching campaigns against Muslims and their religion.
"We have a long and proud history of immigration and integration in the North East, Veronica Killen marching with University and College Union lecturers told Socialist Worker newspaper.But to combat far right groups on our streets we have to be constantly vigilant."
Hundreds of Britons marched Saturday, May 25, through Newcastle against anti-Muslim rhetoric championed by the far-right English Defence League (EDL).
The rally, organized by Unite Against Fascism, aimed to condemn rising attacks against Muslims and mosques in the wake of a machete killing of a British soldier in London last week.
An army cadet was hacked to death by two machete-wielding men on Wednesday near an army barrack in Woolwich, south London.
A video showed the attackers, who are Muslim converts of Nigerian origin, blaming British policies for the killing and calling on Britons to remove their government.
The grisly killing was condemned by British Muslims as contradicting the basic teachings of Islam.
The killing has sparked a wave of attacks on Muslims and mosques with the EDL and other far-right groups blaming Islam for the attack.
I hope the political parties trying to pander to the right on the immigration debate gets the message as well, Veronica said.
No to racism, no to intolerance."
Sandeep from local radio Spice FM agreed.
"This protest was brilliant and just what the town needed.
Another rally is planned outside the Prime Minister's office in London on Monday, May 27, to condemn anti-Muslim rhetoric in the wake of the Woolwich attack.
We reject the attempt by fascist organizations such as the English Defence League and British National Party to exploit the murder of Lee Rigby to whip up racism and direct hatred towards all Muslims, the Unite Against Fascism said in a press release on its website.
The rally, which is backed by the Stop the War Coalition, will be attended by trade unionists, faith representatives and community groups.
Standing up to Islamophobia wherever it raises, the group would release a statement on religious hatred following Wednesday's murder.
Together with all anti-racists, those of different communities, cultures and faiths, trade unions and others we, now more than ever, must stand up to Islamophobia wherever it raises its head, it said.
Britain's 2.7 million Muslims have taken full brunt of anti-terror laws since the 7/7 attacks.
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.