Rabbis, imams: EDL channelling our worst fears

By Jennifer Lipman, February 4, 2011
An EDL supporter

An EDL supporter

Jewish and Muslim leaders have called a demonstration planned for tomorrow by the English Defence League (EDL) an “inciteful event”.

The far-right organisation have announced that they will stage a rally in Luton, the town where the group was set up by Tommy Robinson in 2009.

A number of the EDL’s previous 30-odd rallies and protests have descended into violence and resulted in arrests.

Luton police are on high alert in anticipation of clashes tomorrow between EDL members and activists from the group Unite Against Fascism (UAF), which is planning a counter-demonstration. Last month Luton Borough Council unsuccessfully appealed to Home Secretary Theresa May to ban the event.

The cross-communal Rabbis and Imams Advisory Group said that while some EDL members should be able to express concern about the peace and welfare of society, “extremism in any religion or any creed is hateful and divisive”.

They said the EDL was not looking to promote “open dialogue or constructive answers to these complex concerns”.

In a statement, the group said: “We urge our communities and our colleagues actively to reject this inciteful event.

“We should always take a stand against those who preach or act in the name of a God through violence, hate and exclusion.

Accusing the EDL of “channelling our worst biases and fears of extremism” they said : “As rabbis and imams, and as concerned citizens, we reject in the strongest way any organisation which manipulates our fears in order to demonise religious beliefs.”

Last updated: 3:09pm, February 4 2011