Wednesday, August 25, 2010

On the EDL visit

I have been disinclined to post on the EDL visit, their arguments are superficial and they want to provoke. The council and the local newspaper the Telegraph and Argus are to be applauded for their leadership in uniting the city against the proposed EDL march, the police should be applauded for the professionalism in how they have approached this issue and the Home Secretary is to be applauded for the ban on the march which was a serious risk to public disorder. A static protest will be much easier to police.

However, there remains some potential for disorder on Saturday and the following is my two penny's worth.

There are three events taking place in Bradford at separate venues:

1. The EDL protest against the Islamification of Britain
2. The UAF protest against the EDL
3. A celebration of diversity

My view is that all public events in the city centre should be avoided on Saturday. The police will do their best to keep the protagonists apart, but there is a possibility that at some point there could be some confrontation. If this is the case then the less people in town, the better. If anyone is seen in the vicinity of such violence then they run the risk of being arrested themselves. It is not our responsibility to act as heroes, rather it is the responsibility of the police to serve and protect everyone on the day. Not ours.

The UAF and the EDL are protesting on Saturday but many of you will remember that the majority of people arrested and jailed after the 2001 riots were young South Asian men. This is because after starting the trouble in 2001 the racists and the anti-racists left to leave the young South Asian men to riot for the rest of the day and many of them served time in jail, we all know about the controversy of the disproportionate nature of the sentences. It could be possible that on Saturday the EDL and the UAF after having jointly ignited something on Saturday afternoon all go home to watch Match of the Day while some young South Asian men will spend their first night in jail, in Ramadan. So the best thing to do is stay away. I'd also be extremely careful about rumours flying around before the event and on the day itself. Rumours are the oxygen for trouble on days like Saturday, so it's best we don't provide any oxygen for trouble on the day. Make sure you question what you are told and don't pass on what could be false or exaggerated information.

There is no point after the event for parents to say that my son only threw one stone. The best thing for most parents to do on Saturday afternoon is to make sure their sons are not in the town centre.

It is the job of the police to defend the city. That is their responsibility by law. If you want to do something about Islamophobia or anti-Muslim prejudice then protesting against the EDL is a waste of time. Challenge the anti-Muslim discourses, some of which come out of Bradford. If you want to know how to do this, then get in touch with me through this blog. Read the rest of this blog, through which I have been challenging anti-Muslim discourses for about five years. Get involved, become aware, understand your situation better. Become political, but in a serious and effective way. Protesting on Saturday will not help counter the argument. And as for those who wish to celebrate diversity in Bradford. I think that Bradford celebrates diversity every single day when thousands of people travel in to work and just get on with their lives in a mutually helpful and constructive manner.

May God keep Bradford peaceful and safe on Saturday.