People objecting to plans for a mosque and community centre in Dagenham have denied claims that a demonstration held last weekend was intimidating. [Was it the very existence of the demo that was 'intimidating'... to Muslims? Nothing much, if anything, is said in this piece about who found it intimidating. So we can say: 'Intimidating' means: we Muslims don't like what the EDL is saying.
The POST reported in this week’s newspaper that residents and workers from the Green Lane area were “scared” by the protesters’ behaviour and that shops and businesses were forced to shut.
This was despite police confirming the demonstration passed peacefully, as stated in the article.
Members of the English Defence League – the group which organised the protest – have since contacted the POST to make their voices heard.
One protester, who attended the demonstration on Saturday afternoon outside the site of the planned mosque, said: “I fail to see how shopkeepers felt intimidated.
“At the thought of there being a mosque on this site, this has always been a nice area for the locals to shop in and there is already a African church at the old bingo hall which causes enough problems with traffic and parking. This is meant to be a shopping parade.
“The police were at our meeting point with the EDL and planned out routes with them and everyone was well behaved. As for the loud shouting and the banging of shop shutters the only shop shutter that was banged was Gary & Sons, where the site of the mosque is being built.
“As for shouting and chanting, demonstrators were there to be heard and have there opinions listened to. I thought we had the freedom of speech. Many members of the EDL were peacefully handing out leaflets to passers by on foot and in cars. Local residents joined the EDL at the demo point. Building this Mosque against the wishes of the local community.”
Another member, via the POST website, said: “There were over a hundred people there, mostly locals and although the gathering was boisterous it certainly was not intimidating. There was no need for any shopkeepers to feel threatened and the event was marshalled by stewards. We even cleared up our rubbish before we left.
“Local support was excellent as most people that passed honked their horns and cheered us. A lot of them stopped and took leaflets explaining what this protest was all about. There was no trouble and the police were happy with how it went.
“I am perplexed by the comment from the lady who claimed she was ‘ashamed to be white’. If this mosque gets the go ahead, she will be ‘ashamed to be white’ as she and her her business are pushed out.”
One objector said the demonstrators were “defending the culture and preserving the shopping areas” and that the EDL is “not far right, they are made up of all races and religions”.
But not all comments were positive about the protest. One woman said: “Can someone tell me what was peaceful about the behaviour I saw? How much money in takings did the local people lose due to the protest? I think the mosque will generate business for local shops, just as the local church does on Sundays.” [Would these people who moan about EDL demos also have moaned about demos against the German Nazis in the 1930s? Don't they realise that certain causes are far more important than the cash shopkeepers will earn on a single Saturday in a whole year? How shallow are these moaners? Don't they believe in anything except cash? Even if Islamism isn't the same kind of threat as German Nazism in the 1930s, these money-loving moaners still have to respect the EDL's right to be deeply concerned about Islamism - wrong or right. It's called democratic protest.]
The EDL - along with the English Nationalist Alliance - will stage another demonstration at Green Lane, Dagenham, on March 5.