Tagged: Islamic extremism

‘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 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