Statement from One Society Many Cultures
Nothing could be more ill-judged and likely to stir up community tensions than the decision by Prime Minister David Cameron to choose to launch a frontal assault on multiculturalism on the day when the violently anti-Muslim English Defence League are holding the ‘homecoming’ demonstration in Luton.
The English Defence League (EDL) which has targeted Mosques and Muslim communities, claiming Britain is in danger of ‘Islamification’ as a justification for generalised hatred and violence towards these communities, is gathering for its planned largest demonstration to date, seeking to divide a united, multicultural city and intimidating its Muslim population. Last December its supporters were caught on camera at its demonstration in Preston chanting ‘Burn down the Mosque’. The Luton Islamic Centre was firebombed following a previous EDL demonstration.
Mr Cameron will claim that “when a white person holds objectionable views – racism, for example – we rightly condemn them. But when equally unacceptable views…come from someone who isn’t white, we’ve been … fearful, to stand up to them.” However this condemnation does not appear to extend to the EDL, which has been given extensive media coverage in the run up to today’s demonstration. Coverage which has presented them as a legitimate group that did not report on the violence associated with their demonstrations, or the criminal convictions of many of its members.
Cameron’s unhelpful intervention contrasts sharply with the recent statements from the Conservative Party Chair, Baroness Warsi, who spoke of the pervasiveness of Islamophobia both in society and in the media.
Sabby Dhalu, Secretary of One Society Many Cultures said:
“The Prime Minister is making a grave error in attacking the Muslim community and diverse Britain at this time. The reality is that multicultural Britain is not up for debate. It exists and brings a wealth of social, economic and cultural benefits to Britain helping to make it internationally competitive. However, senior politicians can impact on community relations, positively or negatively. Unfounded scaremongering about the Muslim community contributes to the climate of hostility which the EDL feed off. Vilifying Muslim communities on the day when they are being targeted by the EDL in Luton could not be more grotesque. We have been calling on the Government to ban this demonstration. Failing to do so, and instead attacking those victimised by the EDL, will only bring serious harm to community relations and weaken the fight against terrorism that Mr. Cameron’s speech is about today.”