Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Scottish Defence League not welcome in Edinburgh

The Scottish Defence League along with its English counterpart has called a march and rally in Edinburgh on the 10th September, one day before the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

In 2009 and 2010 several thousand marched in the Capital city as well as in Glasgow under the banner of Scotland United opposing the bigotry and racism of the SDL.

Once again under the banner of Scotland United, the First Minister, Party Leaders, Trade Unions and civic society have mobilised to condemn the proposal which will be considered at the Licensing Sub Committee on 19 August 2011.

A copy of the letter sent to the Regulatory Committee is attached below. Quote from organiser of Scotland United- Aamer Anwar “Neo Nazis masquerading under the flag of Scotland are not welcome in our capital city. Once again Scotland is united in demanding that any march be refused by the Council. These violent racist thugs have never been allowed to incite hatred against any section of our communities. As the only place in the UK that has successfully stopped these thugs marching through our streets, we repeat our message-you are not welcome in Scotland. The Police and the Council should not confuse freedom of speech with allowing racist groups the human rights to inflict a message of hatred and violence. We demand a robust refusal by the Council and Police as we cannot allow these racists to march and rally. “

Ian Tasker Assistant Secretary- STUC- “The SDL should not be allowed to exploit the deaths of innocent individuals and the pain and suffering of their loved ones to promote their far right aims, aims that we would add are based on a flawed understanding of the Muslim faith and a lack of respect for our civilised and multi-cultural society.”

Notes for Editors: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/8525939.stm http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/their-demonstrations-have-triggered-violence-on-english-streets-now-they-re-heading-for-scotland-we-go-inside-the-english-defence-league-1.925370 http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/features/Businessman-bankrolls-street-army.php http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/comment/Hatred-on-our-streets.6070663.jp http://news.scotsman.com/edinburgh/Thousands-to-take-to-the.6078949.jp



Dear Cllr Rob Munn


We the ‘undersigned’ are horrified that the racist Scottish/English Defence League intends to demonstrate on the Streets of Edinburgh on the 10th September. One day before the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, but also only weeks after the horrific attacks in Norway. They have applied for the right to march through the city culminating in a rally.

The City Council is due to meet on the 19th August and take a decision on whether to allow this march to take place. The Defence League terrorises people from ethnic and religious minorities across Britain, specifically targeting Muslims.

The Scottish Defence League was set up in 2009 by the EDL to imitate its successes in England. Scotland United an umbrella group was launched by campaigners, trade unions and political parties as a response to this threat. The SDL intended to march on the Glasgow’s Central Mosque, but after the launch of Scotland United over 3000 anti-racists, religious groups and political parties in partnership with the Council denied them the right to do so and this success was repeated in 2010 in Edinburgh.

Recently the Norway killer Anders Behring Breivik was inspired by the poisonous politics of the English Defence League, boasted of his links to them. The EDL’s true politics were exposed after their funder and strategist Alan Lake was exposed by the media. The EDL a vicious anti-Muslim organisation has a strategy of welding together football hooligan firms – who now make up the EDL’s hard core – into a unified fighting force of racist thugs.

Lake’s shocking comments that the Norway massacre was a case of “chickens come home to roost” were followed by a story in the Guardian newspaper reporting a post made by Lake on his 4Freedoms website in May 2010, which discussed the merits of killing prime minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams.

He claimed that “in 20 or 30 years the UK will start to fragment into Islamic enclaves” adding- “It’s time we decide… who we will force in the Islamic enclaves (and who we will execute if they sneak out.) By forcing these liberal twits into those enclaves, we will be sending them to their death at worst, and at best they and their families will be subjected to all the depredations, persecution and abuse that non-Muslims worldwide currently ‘enjoy’ in countries like Pakistan…It will be great to see them executed or tortured to death.”

The organisation has increasingly “hardened up” its position, with more frequent attacks on traditional fascist targets such as trade union demos, socialist and anti-racist gatherings as well as against Muslims and other ethnic minority communities EDL demonstrations have regularly descended into violence, rampaging through town centres attacking Asian and Black people, smashing windows of homes, shops and cars, attacking mosques and in one case a Hindu temple.

Considering the widespread condemnation of the inner city riots, one wonders why an organisation with a track record of violence should be allowed to march on the streets of Edinburgh. Up until now the only reason they have not marched in Scotland has been because of the sucessful mobilisation of thousands of people from across the political divide by Scotland United- demanding that the Police and Councils do not grant them the right to march or protest.

In Edinburgh, Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Lockerbie and Irvine the SDL were repeatedly denied the right to march, often being corralled in pubs and frog marched onto buses by the police and escorted out of the area. Freedom of speech is policy that the vast majority of decent minded people support but it also carries a responsibilities which the Defence League are unwilling to abide by. We the undersigned believe that any request by the SDL to march on our streets but especially on the 10th September should be refused by the Council.

As the STUC recently stated –“The SDL should not be allowed to exploit the deaths of innocent individuals and the pain and suffering of their loved ones to promote their far right aims, aims that we would add are based on a flawed understanding of the Muslim faith and a lack of respect for our civilised and multi-cultural society.”

We would urge the Council and the Police to deny the SDL the right to march or rally in the City of Edinburgh on the 10th September.

Yours in Solidarity

Aamer Anwar- Human Rights Lawyer & organiser Scotland United, Grahame Smith General Secretary STUC, Dave Moxham Dep Gen. Sec. STUC, Ian Tasker- Asst. Sec. STUC, Mike J Kirby, Scottish Secretary-UNISON , Lynn Henderson PCS Scottish Secretary, John Duffy-Scottish Regional Chair Fire Brigades Union, Edinburgh & Lothians Regional Equality Council,

Councillors: Derek Milligan, Council Leader Midlothian Council, Paul McLennan Council Leader- East Lothian Council, Councillor Gordon Buchan,City of Edinburgh Council, Margot Russell, Councillor Midlothian Council, John Williamson, Councillor, East Lothian Council, Stuart Roy McIvor Councillor City of Edinburgh Council, Gordon Munro Councillor, City of Edinburgh Council

The following Party Leaders: First Minister Alex Salmond MSP- Leader of the Scottish National Party, Iain Gray MSP- Leader of Scottish Labour Party, Annabelle Goldie MSP-Leader of Scottish Conservative Party, Patrick Harvie MSP- Leader of Scottish Green Party,

MSPs: Humza Yousaf, John Finnie, Aileen McLeod, Elaine Murray, Annabelle Ewing, Angus MacDonald, Neil Findlay, Joan McAlpine, Mark McDonald, Linda Fabiani, Alison McInnes, Dennis Roberston , Bill Kidd, Roderick Campbell, Richard Lyle, Siobhan McMahon, Kevin Stewart, Claudia Beamish, Christina McKelvie, Margaret McDougall, Colin Beattie, Jim Eadie, Brian Adam, Jackie Baillie, Jenny Marra, Elaine Smith, Michael McMahon, Anne McTaggart, Graeme Dey, Richard Simpson, Jamie Heburn, Johann Lamont, Lewis MacDonald, Richard Baker, Patricia Ferguson, Sarah Boyack, Kezia Dugdale, Alison Johnstone, Margaret Burgess, John Park, Stuart McMillan, Ken Macintosh

Pauline Rourke Branch Secretary, Dundee Clerical Branch, Tom Morrison, Clydebank TUC, Kevin Buchanan, Secretary, Glasgow General APEX Branch GMB, Mary Senior, Scottish Official, University and College Union Scotland, Paisley and District Trades Union Council Unite Against Fascism, Foysol Choudhury, Chair, Shami Khan, Vice Chair Edinburgh & Lothians Regional Equality Council, Sandra Deslandes-Clark, SEMPER scotland, Rebekah Gronowski (Dr), Member of Edinburgh Women's Interfaith Group (EWIG) and the Jewish Community in Edinburgh, Huda Ahmed, Sheila Rutherford, Mrs Hui HiangMcCulloch, Donald Laing, Emma Crawshaw, John Ballantine, Shabnam Hussain, Joy Barlow, Kim Wong, Chairperson of Edinburgh Chinese School, Wing Yee Li, Maggie Morrison,University of Edinburgh, Dave Edwards , Lyndsey Maricic, Fife Council, Keith Wimbles, Chief Executive, Voluntary Action Fund, Dr Ken McCulloch, Senior Lecturer, University of Edinburgh, Niki Kandirikirira, Engender, Khalida Hussain, Community Organisation for Race Equality, Saiqa Mujeeb, Fife Community Safety Partnership,

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