Nick Griffin, leader of the fascist British National Party (BNP), is set to appear in court in Leeds on Wednesday 2 November to face charges of incitement to racial hatred.
The charges against Griffin stem from the screening of a BBC documentary, The Secret Agent, in July last year. Undercover reporter Jason Gwynne infiltrated the BNP and filmed leading Nazis boasting about organising and taking part in racist attacks.
He also recorded Griffin speaking at a BNP meeting in Keighley attacking Islam as a “wicked, vicious faith” and claiming that Muslims were threatening to rape white women.
Griffin will appear in court alongside his sidekick Mark Collett, former youth organiser of the BNP, who faces eight race hate charges.
John Tyndall, founder of the BNP, was also charged with inciting racial hatred following the BBC documentary. But he was found dead at his home in Hove, Sussex, on 19 July.
Anti-fascist campaigners in Leeds are organising a demonstration against the BNP on 2 November The protest, called by Yorkshire and Humber TUC and Unite Against Fascism, will start at 9am outside Leeds Crown Court.
It will be followed by a lunchtime rally outside Leeds Art Gallery starting at 12 noon with speakers representing trade unions, religious groups and community organisations.
Campaigners will be coming from Liverpool. One activist said, “We want to show that we’re enraged at the BNP, especially after the racist murder of black teenager Anthony Walker — a murder that the BNP tried to capitalise on and which was a result of the sort of racist filth the BNP pumps out.”
Griffin has been convicted of inciting race hatred once before. In 1998 he received a nine month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and a fine of £2,300 for publishing racist and anti-Semitic material in a magazine called The Rune.
In a 1996 article he said, “I am well aware that the orthodox opinion is that six million Jews were gassed and cremated or turned into lampshades. Orthodox opinion also once held that the earth is flat…
“I have reached the conclusion that the ‘extermination’ tale is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lie, and latter-day witch-hysteria.”
Following the bombing of a gay pub in Soho, in which three people died, Griffin wrote, “The TV footage of dozens of ‘gay’ demonstrators flaunting their perversion in front of the world’s journalists showed just why so many ordinary people find these creatures so repulsive.”
The Nazis are threatening to turn up on 2 November to demonstrate in support of Griffin. The BNP wants to whip up hatred against Muslims in Leeds following the 7 July London bombings.
The Nazis are also planning to hold a national rally on Saturday 5 November in nearby Keighley, West Yorkshire, where Griffin stood as a candidate in the general election.
To build their demonstration in Keighley the BNP is promoting the racist myth that Muslim “paedophile gangs” are preying on white girls in the town.
The police have applied to the home office for a banning order against the BNP’s Keighley event, following pressure from local politicians and the town’s MP, Ann Cryer.
The home office had not made a decision over whether to allow the 5 November event as Socialist Worker went to press.
Unite will be organising a counter-demonstration if the Nazi protest goes ahead.
The BNP wants to boost its presence on the streets in the run up to council elections in England and Wales next May, where the Nazis hope to make gains in target areas such as Yorkshire and Barking, east London.
This return to the streets follows several years where the Nazis have avoided marches or rallies, concentrating instead on electoral campaigning and cultivating a “respectable” image.
Unite is organising a national conference titled Stop the BNP in 2006 to counter this threat. It will be held at the TUC centre in central London on Saturday 5 November.
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