About 50 Islamists, who want to establish Sharia law in the UK, participated in a protest march in Waltham Forest, carrying black flags and chanting slogans like “democracy is hypocrisy”, “Sharia for UK”, and “Secularism go to hell”. The march is a response to the anti-Muslim comments made by Anders Beivik, who killed 77 people in Norway on July 22nd. Amongst the protesters are members of Muslims Against Crusades (MAC) and the extremist group Waltham Forest Muslims (WFM).
News Agencies – October 19, 2010
Masked youths clad in black torched cars, smashed storefronts and threw up roadblocks, clashing with riot police across France as protests over raising the retirement age to 62 took a radical turn. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the vandals are students, as young as 12 years old. These youth, says the official, are opportunistic and unstructured, forming sporadic groups. The most destructive are armed with makeshift weapons found on the way: a snatched post, or a stolen bicycle are used to smash store windows and then loot them, says a police agent in Seine-Saint-Denis. One of the ‘rioters’ even forgot his notebook in a shop in Seine-Saint-Denis which was looted by 40 people. Fifteen years old and without a police record, he was arrested six hours later at home.
The proximity of the ‘trouble suburbs’ to the marching routes complicates the job of the police, for example, in Nanterre, where rioters gathered to harass the riot police. At the departmental directorate of public security in Essonne, a police officer says that during the protests, high-school and college students from the underprivileged areas (“difficult neighborhoods”) turn into rioters. They put on a hood and start to pelt the police, or burn garbage, or even cars. Then they melt back into the protest march, some changing their clothing so as not to be recognized by the police videos.
The extremist organization Al-Muhajiroun, also operating under the name Islam4UK and headed by radical Anjem Choudary, plans a protest march through Wootton Bassett, an English town that has become famous with public mourning ceremonies for British soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Islamist organization now wants to carry 500 coffins through Wootton Bassett in memory of Muslims “murdered in the name of democracy and freedom”. Anjem Choudary claims that those who honor the soldiers are no different to those who support the 7/7 bombers – in fact, Choudary himself has never explicitly denied his support for the 7/7 attacks.
Moderate Muslim groups meanwhile urged the police to stop the protest to prevent a backlash against British Muslims by right-wing British extremist groups. Gordon Brown condemned the plans as “abhorrent and offensive”, while senior police officer Sir Hugh Orde claims it would be better not to stop the march in order to avoid tension. So far, Choudary has made no attempt to withdraw from the plans, despite largest opposition.
Up to 2000 people from more than 50 Islamic organisations in Britain have demonstrated in London to condemn what they called heavy-handed procedures in the fight against global terrorism. “The basic message is that the Muslim community wants to voice its opposition to what it views as the oppression of the war on terror,” said Imran Wahid of Hizb ut-Tahrir, one of the groups behind the protest march. He said Muslims were angered by so-called control orders imposed by the British authorities on terrorism suspects, and by the US detention of terrorism suspects without trial at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. There were no incidents as the protesters – led by a banner reading United Against the Oppression of War on Terror – made their way to Paddington Green police station in west London, where terrorism suspects are questioned. “It is kind of symbolic because a lot of people are taken there and released without charge a couple of days later,” Wahid said. The march occurred five days before a general election in Britain which Prime Minister Tony Blair hopes will give his Labour Party a third straight term in office.