Sikhs against the EDL


‘Sikhs Against the EDL’ will be marching against the English Defence League (EDL) in Walthamstow, East London this Saturday 27th October. A counter demonstration is being organised by a multi-cultural, multi-racial and multi-faith organisation known as ‘We Are Walthamstow’. It is a broad-based network of local community groups, political organisations and trade unions. Their aim is to ‘celebrate diversity and oppose racism and fascism’ and to show the EDL that they are not welcome in Walthamstow.

This is the second time the EDL is coming to Walthamstow within two months. Waltham Forest Council has issued a statement against the EDL march and has, “called on our whole community to come out”. The last time they came to Walthamstow was at the beginning of September, when they received a comprehensive show of disapproval. The 200 EDL supporters were blocked off by more than 4000 local people. Thus the police forced them to abandon their march after making several arrests.

But now they want to cause deliberate provocation and offence to the Muslim community by returning during the holy Muslim festival of Eid. Since its formation three years ago, they have staged more than 90 provocative demonstrations in towns and cities around the country, attempting to stir up anti-Muslim racism and hatred. Their march in September in Walsall, like many others before, ended in violence when they pelted the police with bricks and sticks and resulted in 28 of their members being arrested.

Over this weekend, it has been reported that 53 supporters of the EDL were arrested on the M1 motorway. They were hiding in a removal van heading towards London, apparently to be used as a trojan horse, to allegedly, target a Mosque while the police were occupied at the large TUC demonstration.

It is also alleged that among those arrested were EDL leader Tommy Robinson aka Stephen Yaxley Lennon and deputy leader Kevin Carroll who is also running for the Police Commissioner's position in Bedfordshire on behalf of the EDL's political wing, the British Freedom Party. The British Freedom Party, is a breakaway group from the BNP, but with equally fascist policies who want to ‘scrap the Equalities Act and ban all manifestations of religious and cultural separatism’.

The EDL claim to oppose ‘extremism’ but EDL supporters have been filmed chanting ‘Burn a mosque down’. A series of arson and other physical attacks on mosques and community centres have taken place in areas where the EDL are active. In Dudley, after one of their marches, a Hindu temple and a Sikh elderly gentleman were also attacked by their supporters.

Balwinder Singh Rana, spokesperson for the ‘Sikhs Against the EDL’ said,

The EDL want to come back to Walthamstow to try to intimidate the Muslim community and to cause divisions. In the past they have pretended that they are friends of the Sikhs. But their alliance with the BFP has now totally exposed their true nature. They are no different than the BNP and they are against all minorities and opposed to multiculturalism. So, they can not fool us and we should oppose them where ever they show up to spread their racist poison.

The ‘Sikhs Against the EDL’ campaign was formed about two years ago in response to some Sikh youth being recruited by the EDL. The campaign immediately received wide support from major Sikh and Hindu organisations, MPs and councillors. As a result of the campaign most of the Sikh supporters of the EDL now seem to have disappeared.

Rana added,

We should all take note of what is happening in Greece where the fascist ‘Golden Dawn’ party has taken advantage of the deep economic crisis and have grown considerably in a matter of months. They go around dressed in ‘fascist like’ uniforms and openly attack immigrants in the streets. In this country we are also in a deep economic crisis with mass unemployment and massive public spending cuts. At such times they have always looked for scapegoats to blame. In the 30s it was the Jews, in the 70s and 90s it was black people and Asians and now they have found a convenient scapegoat in the Muslims. But we should never forget that today it’s the Muslims and tomorrow it will be all of us.

Francine Fernandes