Redbridge councillors join protest against the English Defence League

TWO SIKH Redbridge councillors have joined a countrywide campaign against the English Defence League which is set to stage their biggest demonstration later today.

Cllrs Baldesh Nijjar (Chadwell Heath, Labour) and Gurdial Bhamra (Clayhall, Labour), have signed a joint statement with other Hindus and Sikhs across the UK against the group.

The English Defence League, (EDL) a group which was established to oppose Islamist extremists in Britain but which has been accused of Islamaphobia and racism, will rally today in Luton provoking fears of disorder on its streets.

Anti-EDL group Unite Against Fascism is also mustering its members for a counter demonstration in the Bedfordshire town.

Previous meetings of the two sets of protesters have led to clashes between the two sides.

But Cllrs Nijjar and Bhamra are concerned the EDL is actively recruiting young Sikhs and creating a “divide and rule” culture between Asians of different religions.

The statement, signed by more than 30 organisations and individuals, says: “We are deeply concerned by the rise in fascism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and racism. The English Defence League has organised events across the country, stirring up hatred.”

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But the group insists it is not Islamaphobic, and a statement on its website reads: “We are a human rights organisation founded in the wake of the shocking actions of a small group of Muslim extremists who, at a homecoming parade in Luton, openly mocked the sacrifices of our service personnel without any fear of censure.”