Socialist Worker

Protests as EDL occupy site of mosque in Dudley

Issue No. 2199

The racist English Defence League (EDL) have descended on Dudley again. They turned up on the proposed site for the new Dudley mosque and occupied an empty warehouse on Sunday afternoon.

EDL supporters are flying an Israeli flag and a St George’s flag and a banner with the words “No Surrender” from the roof of the building.

Within an hour of the EDL turning up, local Muslim and anti racist activists mobilised from across Dudley and the region to protest. Around 200 people protested at the site of the mosque. The police prevented attempts to enter the building and remove the EDL.

Sadia Jabeen was part of the group of activists from Birmingham who went to Dudley. She said, “Young Asian people are furious at this attack on their religion and their right to their beliefs and religious practices.”

Simon Byrne, another protester, said, “Some activists managed to get into the warehouse. Inside they found large numbers of police who drove them back.

“People got hurt – one woman had her leg badly injured and needed an ambulance but they didn’t call one for ages.

“Many of us are bruised and sore and angry that the police went to all that trouble to defend the EDL.”

“People were chanting ‘whose mosque? Our mosque!’, said Sadia.

“The EDL have been blaring out the Muslim call to prayer from loudspeakers followed by heavy metal music.

“People were furious that a call to prayer had been used in insulting this way. It is never played so loudly or that late at night.'

Assed Baig, president of Staffordshire student union, told Socialist Worker, “People were very angry and frustrated. The police were defending the EDL not the community.

“The EDL threw bricks and stones at us and at one point it got so bad that the police were forced to turn their shields around to protect us.

“People were asking what next? Today it is the proposed site for a mosque. How long before it is a real mosque or the home of an Asian family that the EDL attacks?

“What would happen if Muslims took over the proposed site for a church?”

Martin Lynch, Dudley NUT branch secretary, told Socialist Worker, “It is outrageous that these racists should be allowed to stir up hatred and division in our community. They are not welcome here. We want to get as many people as possible to come out and join us in showing their disgust at what they are doing.”

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