English Defence League protest outside Birmingham Mosque

Roughly 30 people chanted offensive slurs and comments about refugees outside Manarat Foundation in Sheldon

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Members of the right wing group faced arrests at a rally outside the Birmingham Mosque.

Some individuals waved a St. George flag with offensive words aimed towards refugees. The incident occurred on Coventry Road.

There were no reports of serious injuries or commotion as West Midlands Police kept the group separated from members of the public. Reports state an 18 year old man was arrested before being released on bail whilst a 30 year old man was arrested for displaying an offensive banner.

Mohammed Islam of the Manarat Foundation said the incident stemmed from an abandoned garage on the street that they planned to renovate. He claims they knew the protest was occurring and called the authorities.

“We knew from social media, they were giving leaflets to our neighbours that a three-storey building was being built. They were looking on the neighbours to come out but the neighbours have no concerns.

“It was about 1.30pm. I came for prayer. I think 15-20 people were standing on the other side of the road. I didn’t hear anything because we were inside the mosque. We encouraged members not to confront them.”

Inspector Dave Keen from Birmingham East local policing unit, stated that they were planning for these incidents for the past month and were assured the rally would be peaceful.

“Our negotiations with the organiser were very positive and they stressed their intentions to express their views without resorting to disorder.

“A post investigation is under-way to determine if any other offences were committed and action will be taken if any further offences are identified. I would urge anyone with photos or information to contact me.”

Birmingham City Council cabinet member for transparency, openness and equality, Waseem Zaffar argued that this was “no way to behave in society.” He claimed that despite questions about the group there is no doubt the protest targeted Islam and Muslims.

“There’s been a rise in Islamphobia and there’s going to be a bigger challenge because of the EU Referendum, not just the way the campaign happened but the result may give oxygen to certain far right groups.”

 

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