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EDL, Britain First and locals to march in protest against Muslim school

EDL, Britain First and locals to march in protest against Muslim school

Categories: Latest News

Friday October 10 2014

The Portsmouth News reports that hundreds of people are expected to march through the city in a joint English Defence League and Britain First protest against Muslim primary school, the Madani Academy on Saturday. Local community members are also expected to take part.

The protest route has been confirmed by Hampshire police and a police presence is expected at the march. Protestors will walk through Fratton Road, Victoria Road South and Albert Road, returning to Lake Road before the march finishes at Guildhall Square.

The Madani Academy has already been targeted several times by different racist groups over the last year. A pig’s head was left on a spike outside the school’s fence in December 2013. In August 2013, the EDL protested outside the same school where a man was also arrested for attacking a police officer with a firework.

Protests in Portsmouth and Southsea have been known to get out of hand in the past with the EDL breaking barriers and clashing with police at a protest outside Jami Mosque. EDL protestors were seen holding up signs which read “terrorists are being radicalised here.”  An EDL member, Blaise Silvester, appeared in court in 2011 for attacking local community members at a demonstration, again, outside the Jami Mosque. He was given a two-month curfew and ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work.

One of the organisers of this year’s protest, Natasha Payne, claims that the protest “is not about religion” and that she is “not a racist person.” She further claims that “the school is going to divide us even more” and that “it’s about being given the choice if we want to allow our children to go there, regardless of beliefs.”

Ms Payne’s comments are noteworthy given her emphasis on the non-racist nature of the protest despite it focusing on a single (Muslim) community. There are countless faith schools in the Britain which cater to children of all different backgrounds, which are not targeted on the basis of their religious ethos and provide sound education. Her fears about community divisions are unfounded when compared to data on British Muslims and feelings of belonging, which suggests that Muslims identify with national institutions and British identity greater than the average for the rest of the population.


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