Tagged: Dipu Ahad

Nazi-affiliated hate website appeals for personal information about people marching for ‘Newcastle Unites’

A Nazi-affiliated hate website has appealed for the personal information of members of the public, after publishing photos of people who took part in Saturday’s ‘Newcastle Unites’ march.

Redwatch carries the slogan “Remember places, traitors’ faces, they’ll all pay for their crimes” – a quote from Ian Stuart Donaldson, the frontman of white power rock band Skrewdriver before his death in 1993.

Now the faces of dozens of people from Saturday’s counter demonstration against the anti-islamist group Pegida UK have been posted online under the ‘North East Reds’ section of the site.

Anyone can access the website as long as they agree to do so in the knowledge that it contains ‘potentially controversial‘ material intended for reference purposes and not unlawful activity.

In the North East Reds section, the site says that any information on ‘the freaks’ photographed at the Newcastle march would be gratefully received, along with a statement detailing a desire to increase activity in the region.

Redwatch gained nationwide notoriety in 2006, when Alec McFadden, a long-term union activist from Merseyside, was repeatedly stabbed in the face in his doorway – his picture and home address had been published on the site.

 The website, which displays affiliations with neo-Nazi organisations Combat 18 and Aryan Unity on its homepage, claims that it is simply reacting to left wing organisations who have published the personal details of white nationalists online, and that it does not encourage violence against political opponents.

However, Newcastle Councillor Dipu Ahad, who helped organise the Newcastle Unites march, disagrees.

He received numerous threats over social media before the march, including one threatening him with beheading.

He said:

“It’s all about intimidation, whether it’s through threats of beheading on twitter or being named on this site.

“They’re trying to keep mouths shut and the police need to deal with this.

“Anybody who spots themselves or anyone they know on that site should report it to the police immediately.”

Source – Northern Echo,  03 Mar 2015

Anti-racist Newcastle councillor Dipu Ahad sent mocked-up image showing him being beheaded

Councillor and anti-racism campaigner Dipu Ahad received vile online beheading threats in the hours leading up to demonstrations on Tyneside.

Police are today probing pictures tweeted to the Elswick ward representative.

The images show Coun Ahad’s face superimposed onto the body of a man kneeling before a masked knifeman, as if he was about to be decapitated.

They were posted on Twitter just hours before German anti-Islam group Pegida held its first UK demonstration in Newcastle, alongside a counter-march by Newcastle Unites.

Coun Ahad said the author of the post had since apologised to him via Twitter after receiving condemnation by other users of the social media site.

And he has vowed not to let the troll’s actions put him off standing up for what he believes in.

But the father has admitted he is now living in constant fear for the safety of himself and his family.

Coun Ahad said:

“This was a direct threat on my life. I fear for my physical safety every day now. I’m always looking over my shoulder. But I’m not going to stop fighting for what is right. I’m not going to be intimidated.”

 

Muslim Coun Ahad, a life-long campaigner against racism and intolerance, was busy putting the finishing touches to Newcastle Unites’ march plans when the picture surfaced on Friday evening.

It appears to be an image of a masked Islamic State fighter holding a large knife above a hostage in an orange T-Shirt, with the councillor’s face photoshopped on to the condemned victim’s body.

Coun Ahad reported the incident to police immediately and officers are now investigating, while taking steps to look after the safety of Coun Ahad and his family.

“When my cat jumps around at night now I have to get up and check there is no one there,” he said.

“I’m more scared for my family’s safety than I am for my own. Every time I go out I am very cautious, I’m always on edge now.”

A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said:

“At 7.20pm on Friday police received information regarding a malicious communication having been received via a social media site. Enquiries are ongoing and steps were taken to ensure the safety of those concerned.”

And Coun Ahad said Saturday’s events have confirmed his belief that he must continue to stand-up to hatred and prejudice, even if it means putting himself at risk.

“It is getting to the point now where you wonder whether it will ever stop,” he said.

“But I now believe it will only stop either if I shut my mouth, or if I’m dead. This is obviously just part of my life now.

“Saturday was absolutely amazing. So many people came together from different groups. It was so humbling. I’m so passionate about our communities.

“Getting threatened is not going to stop me. At least this has started a conversation and it’s opened up communication.”

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 02 Mar 2015

‘A united Newcastle’ is declared by those opposing Pegida’s first UK march

“Today we are a united Newcastle.”

Thousands of voices will be joined in unison to reject attempts by a controversial ‘anti Islam’ movement to spread their message to Tyneside.

Pegida, which claims it is trying to defend the UK from the spread of Islamic extremism, was due to hold its first British demonstration in Newcastle city centre on Saturday.

But a rapidly growing counter-demonstration, attracting in excess of 2,000 people, is expected to simultaneously march through the city centre in protest over Pegida.

The counter-demo has attracted a series of politicians, public figures, community leaders and activists.

Catherine McKinnell, MP for Newcastle North, today sent this message to Pegida:

“I am horrified you have decided to hold your first event in the UK in our fantastic city.

“But the event shows that vile views – which incite religious and racial hatred – will not be allowed to take root in Newcastle and the North East.

“Tyneside has a proud history of cultural diversity, multi-faith co-operation and mutual respect. That will continue long after Pegida have left. Hopefully – thanks to the huge swell of support from all participating – they will well and truly get the message that their message of hate will not take root here.”

 

North East Journalist, author and vice president of the European Muslim League, Yvonne Ridley, is also returning to her home city for the counter-demo.

Today she said:

“I love Newcastle. It’s a city of happy memories for me. It has been my home, workplace and playground. It’s the city where I became a mother and it is the city which is now educating my daughter, courtesy of the university.

“My ties with Newcastle are unbreakable. That the far right group Pegida has chosen here to stage its first march outside of Germany is beyond shocking and I will do everything in my power as a mother, trade unionist, peace activist and Geordie to make sure this visit is the last.

“The march is about Islamaphobia – the targeting of a group of people purely for their religious beliefs and who remembers the last time a religious group was persecuted in Europe?

“My 88-year-old widowed mother Joyce says she will travel from her home in County Durham with her friend to show her solidarity with Muslims across Britain. Why would she do such a thing for a group of people she’s never met? As she says her own father took up arms in the First World War and her husband in the Second World War, as well as many others in her family who paid the blood price so that millions could enjoy the sort of freedoms and liberties denied under fascist regimes.

“Make no mistake, those who invited Pegida to come to this great city have no love for the region or those who live here. First they play the nationalist card and then they try and link their evil ideology to mainstream issues in party politics, political communication and immigration.

“It is undeniable that huge swathes of our population genuinely feel abandoned by the government which seems to care more about protecting corporate business and the banksters, but these issues can only be sorted out through becoming politically engaged especially at the ballot box.

“Come and join me and my mum on Newcastle’s counter rally. It’s the right thing to do.”

The counter-demo has been organised by multi-cultural organisation Newcastle Unites.

 

Elswick Councillor Dipu Ahad, from Newcastle Unites, said:

“I hear so many people’s anger and frustration that Pegida are coming to Newcastle.

“I fully understand, however let us not hate Pegida, but pity them, but most importantly thank them, thank them for uniting us all, people from all backgrounds, race and religion

“This is the first time I’ve see so much unity, and this makes me proud to be a British Geordie Muslim, who’s elected to serve all, no matter who

“So let’s not disunite after possibly the biggest counter demo against hate the UK has seen, and let’s make this a platform to build on something great and eradicate all types of evil

“I urge you all to be part of something great, and this can only be achieved by our unity

“Saturday is the beginning of Pegida in the UK, and together we can ensure it’s the end of Pegida.”

The Pegida movement started in Germany but has reportedly launched a number of other European off-shoots in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.

Gillian and Jim Anderton were both due to take part in the counter-demo.

Jim, 46, of Heaton, said:

“I was hoping this wouldn’t happen and Pegida would change their minds about coming.

“But the people of Newcastle will always come together for the good of the city. We are a united Newcastle.”

A spokesman for the Tyne and Wear Anti Fascist Association said:

“We are appalled at the presence of Pegida on the streets of Newcastle. We call upon the decent people of the North East to protest at the hateful and divisive racism of this organisation.”

Pegida demonstration

The following roads will be closed to allow for the demonstrations to take place:

The Bigg Market will be closed to traffic from around 10am. Pegida are due to hold their static demo at 11am.

A small section of Gallowgate will be closed from around 10:30am to 10:45am Newcastle Unites march begins.

A section of Newgate Street will be closed from 10:30am.

There are no plans to close Clayton Street or Grainger Street.

Officers say they may need to temporarily close other roads depending on activity, however they will look to re-open them as soon as possible and keep the city road network flowing.

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 27 Feb 2015

Pegida Newcastle: Thousands due to flood streets for counter Pegida demo

Organisers of a counter-march against a planned “anti-Islam” demonstration in Newcastle say they are expecting more than 2,000 people to flood the city centre this Saturday.

Newcastle Unites say representatives from the Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Christian and Islamic communities will unite in one voice against Pegida’s first UK demo, due to be held this weekend.

Under the banner of ‘Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West’, Pegida claims it is trying to defend countries from the spread of extremism at the hands of Muslim immigrants.

This Saturday will be the first UK demonstration by the British branch of the organisation.

But counter demonstrators say they are expecting low numbers to turn out in support of Pegida.

Councillor Dipu Ahad, from Elswick and part of Newcastle Unites, said:

“Their Facebook page suggests more than 700 people have agreed to come but the reality is there will probably only be a couple of hundred.

“As far as they are concerned, it is looking as if it will be a bit of a damp squid.”

> Damp squid ?  I think he means damp squib.

Northumbria Police have met with both groups to discuss policing on the day.

Newcastle Chief Superintendent Laura Young said:

“It will be a busy day in Newcastle on Saturday with a number of events taking place and with lots of people coming into the city centre for things like shopping, socialising and the football.

“The city is a busy place on a Saturday anyway and with all of the extra things taking place then we are advising anyone who is thinking of driving into Newcastle to give themselves extra time and be aware of how their journey might be affected by the delays.

“To minimise disruption to the public we will have motor patrols officers out on the roads to ensure traffic flow and we will do everything we can to keep the roads open and to reduce the impact on the public.

“We have spoken with the local authority and local bus and travel companies about the road closures and we are looking to have all roads re-opened as soon as possible on Saturday.”

Councillor David Stockdale, Newcastle City Council’s Labour ward member for Blakelaw, will be one of the counter-demo’s speakers on the day.

He said:

“I will be talking about Newcastle and how it is a city of sanctuary; how it is a community with a proud and long history of standing up to injustice.

“I intend to tackle some of the brutal misrepresentations of Islam which Pegida paints. I think it’s important that a non-Muslim stands up and does that.

“I do wish Pegida were not coming on Saturday but I believe everyone has a right to express their views, no matter for distorted and wrong they are. The best way to deal with these kind of views is to challenge them.”

A public meeting by opponents of Pegida will be held at the city’s central library on Thursday. The event will take place at the Bewick Room at 6pm.

Journalist Yvonne Ridley, who converted to Islam after she was arrested in Afghanistan, will be speaking at the event along with Coun Ahad.

The meeting is intended for supporters of Stop the War Coalition and those who oppose Islamophobia and racism and begins at 6pm.

John and Jennifer Martin, of North Shields, are among those planning to take part in Saturday’s counter-demo.

Mr Martin, 36, a car showroom manager, said:

“My wife and I feel like we have an obligation to take part on Saturday because Newcastle is our home and we don’t want groups like this thinking they can come here and disrupt the harmony we have.

“I don’t know much about where Pegida have come from but I know we don’t want their messages spreading in the North East.”

On Saturday, the following roads will be closed to allow for the demonstrations to take place:

  • The Bigg Market will be closed to traffic from around 10am.
  • A small section of Gallowgate will be closed from around 10:30am to 10:45am Newcastle Unites march begins.
  • A section of Newgate Street will be closed from 10:30am.
  • There are no plans to close Clayton Street or Grainger Street.

Officers say they may need to temporarily close other roads on the day depending on activity, however they will look to re-open them as soon as possible and keep the city road network flowing.

Source –  Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 24 Feb 2015

Newcastle Unites against Pegida demonstration backed by unions from across the country

Unions across the region are joining forces in protest against the controversial anti-Islamic demonstration set to take place in Newcastle next week.

German right wing group Pediga plans to hold a demonstration on Saturday in the city’s Bigg Market.

But opposition Newcastle Unites plans a counter march beginning at Gallowgate and heading to Newgate Street.

Comedian and activist Russell Brand and Respect MP George Galloway have pledged their support to the anti-facist group.

Dozens of groups from across the region are backing Newcastle Unites, and organisers are now asking all unions across the country to strengthen their cause.

Newcastle councillor Dipu Ahad said:

“I urge all the unions in the country, to unite and support Newcastle Unites Against Pegida.

“I urge you all, who want to see a better future for our children, where we can coexist in peace, no matter what our race or religion. Let us start today, and not tomorrow as each and everyone of us has got a responsibility as humans.

“Our unity is our strength, and together we can eradicate all types of hate, no matter what.

“Too many times we focus on what divides us, which diverts the real issues. We’ve got a responsibility to combat evil, so I urge you all to stand up and be counted.”

The councillor said many groups had come forward voluntarily to support Newcastle Unites.

Just days ago Pegida were told by Newcastle United fans: “We’re black and white”.

The demonstration is planned for the same day as Newcastle face Aston Villa at St James Park, and NUFC Fans United put out the defiant message on their website which reads:

“There is a fear that Newcastle United supporters who are of the Islamic faith or origin may be singled out for abuse by this group and we say that the authorities cannot allow any of our community, whatever their race, creed or religious belief to be treated in such a manner in our city on match day or any other day.

“As Supporters of Newcastle United we are asking what kind of message is such a rally sending to players such as Papiss Cissé, Mehdi Abeid, Cheik Tiote and Moussa Sissoko as well as to our wider Muslim community? Remember, we are black and white; we are UNITED.”

A heavier-than usual police presence is expected on the day of the two marches.

Newcastle Chief Supt Laura Young said:

“We have met with representatives from both of the organisations and have agreed on plans for their demonstrations.

“The organisers from both groups have assured us they do not want any trouble and their intention is to hold peaceful protests before moving on and we will act in a neutral capacity to facilitate this.

“People often ask why we can’t ban protests. Police forces do not have the power to ban a protest or the right to peaceful assembly. This is a fundamental democratic right and is laid down in the European Convention of Human Rights.

“On occasions we can insist on certain conditions being applied to ensure we preserve public safety, prevent crime, serious disorder and serious damage and protect the rights of others.

“Our priority is ensuring public safety and minimum disruption to the local community.”

Newcastle Unites against Pegida supporters so far are:

• The Durham General Branch of the GMB

• Northern Cultural Projects CIC

• The Durham Miners Association

• The County Durham Trades Council

• Northumberland County Unison

• The Newcastle Hindu Temple

• Islamic Diversity Centre(IDC)

• Spice FM

• Show Racism The Red Card

• Durham UAF

• County Durham Unites Against Racism

• Newcastle Council of Faiths

• North East People’s Assembly

• Newcastle Stop The War Coalition

• Northumberland County Unison

• UAF North East

• Sunderland Anti-Fascist Coalition

• West End Housing Co-operative in Newcastle

• TWAFA

• Unite Against Fascism

• Stand up to UKIP

• 5Pillars

• Newcastle Council for Voluntary Service(NCVS)

• Jude Kirton Darling MEP

• Julie Ward MEP

• Lord Beecham

• Comedian and activist Russell Brand

• Journalist and activist Yvonne Ridley

• Dave Anderson MP

• Chi Onwurah MP

• Davy Hopper (General Secretary of Durham Miners Association)

• Palestine Solidarity Campaign Fife

• Sunderland Together

• NUFC Fans United

• PCS Northern

• Bakers Union

• Tyneside Irish Centre

• Unite The Union

• Gateshead Unison

• Unison Northern Region

• TUC Northern Regional

• Newcastle Central Constituency Labour Party

• North East Greens

• Tyneside SWP

Source –  Sunday Sun,  22 Feb 2015

Newcastle United fans hit out at far right group Pegida

Concerned Toon fans have sent out a message to anti-Islamic extremists planning a controversial march in Newcastle on a match day telling them to “Remember we are black and white; we are united.”

NUFC Fans United have put out the message on their website after the demonstration was announced by far right German group Pegida in the city centre on Saturday, February 28 – when Newcastle take on Aston Villa at St James’ Park.

The statement reads:

“The purpose of this notice is to bring to the attention the serious concerns of many Newcastle United supporters that have contacted us regarding the proposed Pediga anti Islam rally being planned in our city on 28th February and the subsequent and inevitable counter demonstration that will ensue.

“The aim of the rally seems to be to protest against what they (Pediga) perceive as an Islamification of Britain. The concerns being voiced are multiple but primarily they centre around the fact that firstly this Far Right German movement have chosen the city of Newcastle upon Tyne; a city famous for its tolerance, integration and warmth of spirit to hold their rally and secondly the fact that the rally is planned for somewhere in the city centre on a match day, (when we entertain Aston Villa) and the possibility for conflict that it might bring to our wonderfully diverse and glorious city, when bigotry and intolerance replaces match day euphoria.

“There is a fear that Newcastle United supporters who are of the Islamic faith or origin may be singled out for abuse by this group and we say that the authorities cannot allow any of our community, whatever their race, creed or religious belief to be treated in such a manner in our city on match day or any other day.

“As Supporters of Newcastle United we are asking what kind of message is such a rally sending to players such as Papiss Cissé, Mehdi Abeid, Cheik Tiote and Moussa Sissoko as well as to our wider Muslim community. What kind of message does it send to those who come to study in our colleges and universities, or who visit as tourists to wonder on the splendour of our heritage history? What message does it send to those who may be offered the opportunity in the future to come and work in a city that has prided itself on its warm welcome but will now be tarred with being a city that allowed itself to be associated with those of the German Far Right. Is this the message we want our city to be remembered by and tarnished with?

“If your answer is NO then please join us in ensuring that as strong a message as possible is sent out by the widest section of our Tyneside community as possible to say that this rally is unacceptable, uncalled for and not welcome on the streets of Newcastle. With the support of all like minded football supporters we hope we can all openly bring pressure to bear on the authorities and add to the pressure already being placed by other like minded groups to refuse this group the oxygen of publicity, not least because of the nature of its being but also because of the risk of conflict between football supporters on match day and those who wish to come to our city and besmirch its reputation.

“Remember, we are black and white; we are UNITED.”

Comedian Russell Brand has pledged to march against Pegida in Newcastle.

The political activist and stand up accepted an invitation by Newcastle councillor Dipu Ahad to stand shoulder to shoulder against the “anti Islam” march.

He told Ahad, who is a key figure in Newcastle’s Muslim community, he’d be at the march after the councillor contacted him on Twitter.

The march will be the German anti-Islamic group’s first in the UK.

The counter demonstration will be attended by Respect MP George Galloway, among others.

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle,  19 Feb 2015

Newcastle community leader threatened with ‘beheading’ after making a stand against Pegida

A community leader making a stand against an “anti-Islam” demonstration in Newcastle has received beheading death threats from a vile racist thug.

Councillor Dipu Ahad, a key figure in Tyneside’s Muslim community, told how he received a late-night anonymous call saying “you watch; going to kill you, you just watch.”

Mr Ahad, who says he has been the target of racist threats on a number of occasions, said:

“They called me calling me a Black f****** b******. They also said they would chop my head off as well as a f****** Muslim ****.”

The call came as Mr Ahad helped organise a counter-demonstration to Pegida UK’s first British demo, planned to take place in Newcastle city centre at the end of this month.

Now, fears are growing that the protest is attracting members of the region’s Far Right organisations, which Pegida claimed they were trying to “distance” themselves from.

Pegida said last week they planned a “peaceful” demonstration not associated with any extreme Far Right organisations.

Hundreds of people have already gone online to confirm attendance at the rally. The British arm of the highly-criticised German protest movement say their North East following is one of the reasons they will be coming to the city on February 28.

Now, in response, multi-cultural group, Newcastle Unites, chaired by Howard Dickinson, say they will be organising a counter-demo on the same day.

Councillor Ahad, spokesman for the group, said:

“We pride ourselves on the diversity of our communities and our mixed heritages. Newcastle Unites notes, however, an increase in racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in Britain and the rest of Europe. In particular a virulent Islamophobia movement known as ‘Pegida’ has emerged recently in Germany where it has been strongly condemned by politicians and faith leaders.

“We are aware that local racists are intent upon importing the ‘Pegida’ message into the UK and are organising an Islamophobic march through Newcastle.

“Newcastle Unites believe that such a development will only serve to stir up racism and division, undermine community cohesion and besmirch the name of Newcastle in the eyes of many in the UK and indeed around the world.

“We believe Pegida must be stopped from spreading their message of racist hate and intolerance and from getting a toe-hold in Newcastle and the UK.

 

“In the event of Pegida’s provocative march going ahead Newcastle Unites is committed to organising a vibrant, peaceful, multicultural and multi faith counter demonstration that will involve people from the widest possible backgrounds.

“The aim of the protest would be to send on clear and simple message that Pegida is not welcome in Newcastle. The people of Newcastle and the North East must all stand together in unity in the face of Islamphobia, anti Semitism and all other forms of racism and fascism.”

Councillor David Stockdale, from the Blakelaw ward, is backing the counter-demo.

 

He said:

“Pegida’s UK branch like to present themselves as reasonable and harmless. In planning their Islamophobic rally in Newcastle they claim to be operating completely independently of the usual extreme-right gang who frequent EDL and National Front demonstrations in the region.

“Nothing could be further from reality. A simple search of their Facebook and Twitter profiles reveal the truth. It’s the same people pedaling the same racist hate under a different banner.

“When I confronted Pegida about this they blocked me from commenting on Facebook and Twitter but the North East EDL seemed to take exception at being challenged. They spent much of the weekend cowering behind their anonymous Twitter account trying their best to intimidate me with not-so-subtle threats. I don’t encourage anyone to engage online with these bullies and I should have followed my own advice by ignoring them.

“I am fully behind the counter-demonstration being organised by Newcastle Unites. This is a broad Coalition of the Left who are coming together to stand up and speak out against Islamophobia, racism and intolerance.

“We will be standing shoulder to shoulder with Newcastle Unites in opposing the intolerant views of Pegida if they descend on our city. I encourage anyone who can to come along to the counter demonstration.”

 

Under the banner of ‘Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West’, Pegida claims it is trying to defend countries from the spread of extremism at the hands of Muslim immigrants.

Since the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, dozens of Pegida chapters have popped up online, prompting some reports that the group is establishing a bigger presence across Europe.

Plans for the counter demo came on the day MPs warned social media users who spread racial hatred could be banned from sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

An All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into anti-Semitism wants prosecutors to examine whether prevention orders like those used to restrict sex offenders’ internet access could be used.

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 09 Feb 2015

Pegida UK speaks about their plans for Newcastle demonstration

A leader of a controversial ‘anti-extremist Islam’ movement today claimed they already have an established following in Newcastle.

More than 320 people have now gone online to confirm attendance at Pegida UK’s Tyneside rally which has also sparked interest from Far-right wing groups in the region.

> Well, there’s a suprise – I wonder how many members of the local racist loonies are the same people as those apparently supporting Pegida ? I’m sure they’ll see it as a nice Trojan horse…

The British arm of the highly-criticised German protest movement say their North East following is one of the reasons they will be coming to the city at the end of this month.

The decision by the group to hold their first UK demo in Tyneside has already met with widespread condemnation.

But Pegida representative Matthew Pope said the march would be “peaceful” with the aim of standing against extremist forms of Islam.

Mr Pope added:

“We did not want to start our UK demos in London because there are a lot of right-wing extremists there and we wouldn’t want to associate ourselves with them.

> Tough shit, mate. You’re going to be their puppet organization.

“We are already have a following in Newcastle and it is far enough away from London to be the best place to get things underway.”

Mr Pope said anywhere up to 1,000 marchers could be expected in the city centre on the planned date of the demonstration, Saturday, February 28.

The plans have been met with concern and the Chronicle can reveal that several individuals, associated with Far-right groups in the North East have already, via social media, confirmed they will be attending.

In a Facebook post, Pegida UK sent out an open invitation to the march, stating: “All are welcome to attend. Let’s show the Islamists we show no fear.”

Under the banner of ‘Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West’, the group claims it is trying to defend countries from the spread of extremism at the hands of Muslim immigrants.

Mr Pope said:

“We understand that we are going to get tarnished with the same brush as certain other groups but this will be a peaceful demonstration.”

Mr Pope went on to say the purpose of the march would be to take a stand against Islamic extremism and not against the Muslim community.

However, he did say Pegida had concerns about the way the UK Government and police forces were approaching certain issues.

He said:

“We have concerns about the way Islam is being taught in schools. We are also worried with the way some groups seems to be setting their own laws withing our system of laws.

“We are certainly not against immigration, but feel our culture is being taken over by another culture.”

Mr Pope said that on February 28, protesters would be handing out leaflets and posters with containing information about their aims and about their views of Islamic law.

Opponents to the group have said they will hold a counter-demonstration if the Newcastle march goes ahead.

Councillor Dipu Ahad, from Elswick, Newcastle, has already written to Northumbria Police’s chief constable asking for the demo to be banned.

He added:

“I’m not hopeful this will happen so we will be planning our own counter-protest, bringing together people from all cultures in the city to celebrate the diversity of our community in a peaceful and celebratory manner.”

Anti Fascist groups in the city also say they are monitoring the plans for the protest.

Since the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, dozens of Pegida chapters have popped up online, prompting some reports that the group is establishing a bigger presence across Europe – in France, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Spain, the UK and other countries where local Pegida Facebook pages have sprung up.

Will the march go ahead?

Pegida UK say they are currently in talks with Northumbria Police over the date, time and place of the march.

Mr Pope said:

“As representative for the organisation I have just started liaising with Northumbria Police about our plans.

“We are hoping that this will be on February 28.

“Although an exact route has not been set down, it will be in Newcastle city centre and we can expect anywhere up to 1,000 people to be attending.

“We are happy to work with the police and follow any guidelines which they set down.”

Newcastle City Council said they had not been contacted by the organisation.

A spokesman added that they have to wait to be informed by the police about any demonstrations happening in the city before taking any necessary action.

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 06 Feb 2015

Muslim Newcastle councillor vows to support jailed far-right protestor

> Well, this is a move that should sow confusion in the ranks of the stormtroopers !

While they shared the same city streets, their political ideologies were worlds apart.

But now a Muslim councillor has become the unlikely supporter of a rioting thug jailed after a violent far-right protest.

Anthony Webster, from Newcastle’s West End, is beginning a 21-month jail sentence after he and scores of other far-right supporters ran riot on the streets of Birmingham following a march through the city.

But today Coun Dipu Ahad, a passionate antifascism campaigner who has regularly publicly condemned such views, has revealed how he tried to help the yob turn his life around after meeting him and seeing his remorse.

And the Elswick councillor now feels he may have missed his chance to save Webster, and reach out to others through him.

He said:

“I was gutted he went to jail. I think he just got swept up in it all and didn’t know what he was getting himself into.

“I hope I can work with him when he gets out and show him what different communities are about. I really think he wants to change.”

Webster, of West Road, was among more than 50 people charged with violent disorder after attending an English Defence League (EDL) march in Birmingham on July 20, 2013.

After yobs ran riot in the city’s Centenary Square, hurling missiles and injuring a number of cops, a police operation stretching across the nation swung into action to trace those responsible.

And by last week 50 rioters had been jailed for a total of more than 75 years.

But as Webster awaited his fate at court he ran into Coun Ahad on the West Road.

“After we got chatting I realised he was genuinely remorseful,” said Coun Ahad.

“He said he wanted to learn more about other cultures and religions. I told him to call me if he ever needed anything.

“He told me no one had ever shown him any support, and about three or four days after he gave me a call and we chatted.

“After speaking to me I think he realised that I’m a human being, like anyone else. I think he began to realise that Muslims are not bad people.

“He also assured me that he will withdraw his membership from any far right groups and will not partake in any demos in the future.”

Coun Ahad was so moved by 38-year-old Webster’s remorse and desire to make amends, he even wrote a letter to the sentencing judge asking him to consider giving Webster a chance – despite the criticisim he knew that might attract.

“I thought I would get a lot of backlash from people that have been fighting racism and fascism for a lot of years,” he said.

“But I was convinced that he wanted to change.

“So I explained why I was doing it and that he was a human being too.

“Some far-right group members might have racist values but that’s because of ignorance. If you can speak to these people a lot of them will change their ways.”

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 13 Jan 2015

Police drop claim of racism directed AGAINST English Defence League (!)

EDL – thick, white and then some…

> Fascist feelings hurt by comparison with loaf of bread shock ! And on St George’s Day too – the irony of it…

Police investigating a city councillor for sending an allegedly racist message on social media have dropped their case against him.

Dipu Ahad, who represents Newcastle’s Elswick ward, was quizzed by Northumbria Police after members of the public complained he had retweeted an image racially targeting the far-right English Defence League.

But the case was dropped over a lack of evidence and Mr Ahad denies the tweet had racist overtones.

He said: “I’m glad that the Crown Prosecution Service have seen sense and they realise what I do in the community and that the tweet wasn’t racist.

“I’m not saying that I didn’t retweet it, but sometimes you tweet something and it comes up as a link and the picture doesn’t come up.

“This has been a campaign against me from the far right. It is sad that the police have questioned me over this.”

The message is alleged to have been shared on Twitter on March 10 and contains an image of a loaf of bread containing the words ‘white’ and ‘thick’ on its packaging.

Shortly afterwards, he was questioned by the police and spoken to by senior staff at Newcastle City Council after two members of the public complained.

However, friends of Mr Ahad leapt to his defence following the incident.

Aaron Lipsy, Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation in Newcastle, who works alongside him to organise the city’s Holocaust Memorial Day, said Mr Ahad works tirelessly to fight against racism.

Tony Dowling from the National Union of Teachers said he was against prejudice of any kind.

Mr Ahad said the alleged tweet is the latest in a string of smears from far-right groups which include a website that has been made about him.

He said: “From my point of view this has been part of an ongoing campaign from the far-right.

“I work really hard in this community in regards to race relations and everybody knows that.”

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle   23 April 2014