Far-right group the English Defence League (EDL) is planning a demonstration in Slough early in the New Year. A website, aiming to expose and counter the EDL, says the group is planning four marches – in Slough, Cambridge, Manchester and Newcastle. The anonymous website founder claims the information was leaked to him by an EDL member.
News of the group’s plans have been met with condemnation across the community. Mohammed Ayub, former president of the Pakistan Welfare Association and chaplain for Muslims at Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, believes any extremist or racist group should be banned from having a public platform.
He said: “The EDL is based on hatred and the spreading of hate, Muslim-bashing and Asian-bashing. Any organisation with this kind of message is not an organisation as far as I’m concerned.” He added: “There used to be terrible racial problems in Slough and because of tireless work and dialogue between all sides of the community, they no longer exist.”
James Farmer, former chairman of the Manor Park Community Forum, wants the EDL banned from Slough and said: “Wherever they march, there is always trouble.”
Wayne Strutton, Conservative deputy leader for Slough Borough Council, wants more power to stop groups like the EDL holding large demonstrations.
He said: “I’m disappointed that we’re getting a extremist organisation march in Slough. However, we have to respect people’s freedom of expression and I hope they make their protest peacefully. If they break the law, the police will arrest them.”
He added: “I wish they weren’t coming to Slough, but until we have more power to stop these people, we have to respect their rights.”