Supporters of the ‘Sikhs Against the EDL’ campaign are set to be joining a mass counter protest called by Cambridge Unite Against Fascism (CUAF) against a static protest scheduled to be held in on Saturday 23rd February by the far-right English Defence League (EDL).
The EDL is a racist organisation whose main activity is street demonstrations against the Muslim community. Although it claims only to oppose Islamic extremism it targets the entire Muslim community and its actions deliberately seek to whip up tensions and violence between Muslim and non-Muslim communities.
This will be the second visit by the EDL in Cambridge in the past two years. In July 2011, the EDL attempted to march with only 200 members in protest against a mosque before being prevented from marching by 2,000 anti-racism campaigns and local residents.
Since then anti-racism campaigners have successfully prevented the EDL from marching at a number of locations across Britain. The EDL has suffered a series of humiliating defeats, most recently in Norwich and Waltham Forest. Their failure to mobilise sympathisers of their cause has resulted in them cancelling their scheduled march in Slough due to an expected ‘massive local opposition’.
Meanwhile, EDL leader – Tommy Robinson (also known as Stephen Lennon and Paul Harris) has been sentenced to ten months in prison for entering the US illegally on a false passport and his deputy, Kevin Carroll, was arrested last month on suspicion of race hate crime.
The ‘Sikhs Against the EDL’ campaign was initiated two years ago in response to a handful of misguided Sikh youth who were then supporting the EDL. They provoked an angry response from the Sikh community with many community leaders and prominent organisations condemning their actions in a joint statement for misrepresenting the community by carrying the Sikh insignia in their vile anti-Muslim propaganda.
However, most of the misguided individuals have since left the EDL, largely due to the campaign led by the ‘Sikhs Against the EDL’ campaign but also after the EDL decided to form an alliance with British Freedom Party (BFP), a breakaway group from the BNP but with equally openly fascist policies.
Balwinder Singh Rana, a spokesperson for ‘Sikhs Against the EDL’ campaign said, “We will continue to show our solidarity with all individuals against racism and the Muslim community. We must keep up the pressure on the EDL; they have been wounded but have not yet been defeated.”
He further added: “In the current economic climate with mass unemployment and austerity, the racists will always try to blame the minorities for all of their problems. When they go looking for scapegoats, we are an easily identifiable and convenient target. They try to divide our communities to turn us against each other, but now is the time for all communities to unite together and show to these racists that their message of intolerance will not work.”