On Friday 28th May 2004 the British National Party exercised their right to make a party political broadcast. Against a backdrop of Muslim women in hijab, the image of Abu Hamza and also Muslims praying on St Thomas’s Road outside Finsbury Park Mosque, BNP leader Nick Griffin delivered a threatening Islamophobic message:
“…the real danger of Islamic fundamentalist terror does not come from distant Iraq. It comes from the growing threat from Muslim extremists living here in Britain. The former Archbishop of Canterbury has pointed out that only a few Muslim leaders have condemned the evil of terrorism… Tony Blair, Michael Howard, Charles Kennedy – all claim that Islam is a religion of peace – there are many peaceful and tolerant verses in the Qur’an, but there are also some, like Chapter 9, v. 123… of course Christianity used to be like that but our forebears reformed it and made it compatible with the modern world, with democracy and our Western tradition, tolerance and intellectual freedom. Now moderate Muslims who want to live here in the West must do the same with their faith…we insist that Islamic fundamentalists stop Islamifying Britain….In 1968 Enoch Powell spoke about his forebodings for he future [at this point there is an image of Powell with a quote ‘I see the River Tiber foaming much blood’] and Enoch was right. Unless urgent action is taken to defuse the crisis by shutting Britain’s doors to any further immigration and deport bogus asylum seekers and radical Islamists…unless these things are done then Powell’s warnings will come true and we will find ourselves in the middle of a bloody civil war….”
The Muslim Council of Britain has responded by urging the community to turn out and vote against the BNP:
“The rise of Far Right parties poses a dangerous threat to our communities. Many of you will have seen the threatening and virulently anti-Muslim party political broadcast by the BNP shown on our TV screens last Friday. They make no secret of their extreme hatred of Islam and Muslims. Under the electoral rules, this fascist leaning party needs only five percent of the votes to win seats in the Greater London Assembly elections and around 9% of the votes to gain delegates to the European Parliament. If this happens, may God forbid, the BNP would have access to much more than just television and radio. By right, they would be given funding with which to promote their racist agenda in Britain. Therefore, it is important to make sure that all members of our community, men and women, young and old, cast their vote on Thursday 10 June. Irrespective of whom they vote for, their participation will help reduce the percentage of votes cast for the BNP, making it more difficult for them to succeed with their divisive and menacing plans. This is the time to make a difference.”
For full text of MCB letter to Imams, 2nd June 2004, click here.