The English Defence League plan to protest the building of a Dudley Mosque
The far-right protest group intend to hold a demonstration in the town on February 7th according to their social media pages.
West Midlands MEP (Member of the European Parliament) and Dudley councilor Bill Etheridge has implored the group to cancel their plans and leave the mosque issue to be settled democratically.
The UKIP MEP said, “The mosque is a controversial matter and a lot of people have their opinions on it.
“It is being opposed on planning grounds.
“Groups like the EDL have nothing constructive to add with the way they behave.
“I ask them to stay away from Dudley. This is a sensitive issue and it does not need people causing trouble.”
This issue stems from the Dudley Muslim Association who are engaged in a tense battle with Dudley Council over a proposal for a mosque on land off Hall Street. Earlier this month, the association were granted planning permission for the mosque.
But they still have at least two court hearings and legal struggles lasting at least two years before the building can be erected. In an attempt to avoid the rising court costs and prevent community disharmony, Muslim leaders say they will consider alternative sites.
On a Facebook page purporting to belong to the EDL’s Dudley branch two pictures were added, one giving the date of a ‘Dudley Demo’ on the backdrop of a St George’s flag, with ‘no surrender’ written underneath. Another picture has ‘Dudley we are coming’ written on it.
The EDL first came to Dudley to demonstrate against the planned mosque in 2010, violence broke out and parts of the town were brought to a standstill after around 600 followers became involved in the commotion.
Houses and cars were damaged, missiles were thrown at officers and steel fences were torn down as trouble flared between English Defence League demonstrators and police. Homes, cars, restaurants and even a religious temple were all targeted by vandals.
In 2012 another EDL protest occurred in Walsall.
A Pakistan flag was burnt and placards were also displayed with messages such as, ‘Our Walsall will never be part of Pakistan’, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard the following year. Pages of the Quran were also allegedly burnt.
The EDL also came to Birmingham in October this year.
Before the Birmingham protest the EDL posted a message about Dudley on its main website, saying, “We went to Dudley twice to protest against the mosque in 2010. In 2014, the plans for the mosque are back and so we must go back.
“We have a duty to the local residents to help them fight this monstrosity once again, and we have a duty to ourselves, our children, and their children to stop yet another step in the Islamisation of this country we hold so dear.”