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Saturday, 25 June 2011

Muslim council vows to oppose extremism (UK)

Cambridge Muslim Council held its official launch last night as the far-right English Defence League (EDL) gets set to march in the city.

The newly formed council has already held an emergency meeting after the News reported the march and counter protest would be held on July 9.

Muslim leaders are calling on the community not to get involved in a counter demonstration and fear for the security of mosques and shops in the city.

Mirza Baig, vice-chairman of the council, told the News: “We held a meeting of our emergency response committee as soon as we heard about the march. We have set out or policy on how we should react.

“We are urging Muslims not to take part in a counter protest and we do not want groups coming from Luton and Peterborough for the march – we can deal with any issues ourselves.

“We do fear for the security of our mosques and some of the shops but are working closely with police.”

He added: “The EDL has every right to protest and we support that democratic right.”

Last night, the city’s MP Julian Huppert, mayor Cllr Ian Nimmo-Smith and Farooq Murad, the Muslim Council of Britain chairman, met at the Holiday Inn, Impington, for the launch of the council, which has vowed to fight extremism and violence.

It has been formed because of an increase in the city’s Muslim population to 7,000 and it will become an umbrella group for 28 Islamic organisations in Cambridge.

Mr Huppert said he was delighted to support the formation of the new council and condemned the planned march by the EDL.

The MP is discussing the issue with Chief Superintendent Rob Needle and will shadow him during the march.

Mr Huppert said: “I deplore the fact that these people have targeted Cambridge in this way. They are not welcome here.

“I will be working alongside the police during the march and hope that it will pass off peacefully.

“While I recognise the EDL’s democratic right to protest, I hope that this protest will take place without incident.

“Our city is a very special place where people from a diverse range of nationalities and cultures live and work together. This multi-racial mix makes our city very unique and we are proud of the strong community spirit that exists here.

“We want to promote and protect that diversity and there is no room for people who don’t understand our city’s special qualities.”

Cambridge News