Tagged: Muslim

Threat to behead Newcastle UKIP parliamentary candidate probed by police

Police are investigating a threat to behead a UKIP election candidate after the 62-year-old reported a disturbing phone call.

David Robinson-Young, a 62-year-old barrister who hopes to be elected to represent the Newcastle East constituency, has said he fears for his personal safety after the “chilling” experience.

He described the man as an “irate” constituent who he says identified himself as a Muslim and angry with the Government.

He said the man was initially calm but after some minutes began to shout and swear at which point the former policeman hung up.

Mr Robinson-Young said:

“He said the Muslim community is really annoyed with the British government supporting bombing Muslim countries and that the community here just wants to get on with their family lives.”

UKIP's Blyth headquarters vandalised a second time
UKIP’s Blyth headquarters vandalised a second time

Mr Robinson-Young said the man swore at him before making the beheading threat.

Northumbria Police confirmed they had received a complaint and are investigating the matter.

Mr Robinson-Young added:

“I’m not a man who is easily intimidated, I’m an ex-policeman and I’ve been subjected to numerous physical threats in the past. I left the police service because of injuries received in an assault on duty.

“I found this man’s threats to be particularly chilling and it as really shaken me. However I will not let this incident prevent me from continuing in the campaign to try and change our country for the better.”

> How very ironic – it’s only a few days since Robinson-Young was coming under fire from Newcastle’s Jewish community for his party’s xenophobic policies. UKIP certainly seem to be uniting the local population.

See: https://unemployedtynewear.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/newcastles-jewish-community-heckle-ukip-parliamentary-candidate-for-xenophobic-views/

Meanwhile, the UKIP campaign office in Blyth has vandalised this week for the second time.

Crosses and the word ‘No’ were daubed on to the shutters of the office.

Jonathan Arnott, North East UKIP MEP, said:

“This is now the second time that anti-democracy protesters have vandalised our office in Blyth.

“Sadly some people don’t respect our fundamental British freedoms.

“This comes at a time when some of our candidates have received death threats, showing the ugly face of some of those who oppose our message of freedom, independence and democracy.

“Ultimately this kind of criminal activity will prove counterproductive as it will simply spur our activists on to work harder and campaign for longer.”

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 23 Apr 2015

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Far-right website RedWatch calls for information on anti-Pegida marchers

Police are monitoring a “disturbing” “neo-Nazi” website called RedWatch after images of anti-Pegida protestors were posted alongside a request for information.

Newcastle MP Chi Onwurah is among the people pictured after she spoke at a rally against an anti-Islam demonstration in the city.

The site – run by a far-right group not directly connected to Pegida – brands protestors “degenerates”, claims they were involved in violence and calls on people to provide personal data.

It is believed RedWatch has links to the paramilitary group Combat 18 and many featured on the site fear their names and addresses could be shared with dangerous individuals.

Chi confirmed she was reporting the matter to police, adding:

“The reference to illegal activities appears defamatory as well as an incitement and to call me degenerate and say I was making death threats – which is absolutely untrue – would also appear to incite people to take aggressive action.”

She added: “I think it is disturbing and I have asked the police to keep me informed.”

Pegida marchers, who claim they are trying to defend countries from the spread of extremism at the hands of Muslim immigrants, were outnumbered in Newcastle by counter-demonstrators at a rate of more than five to one. People are calling on Northumbria Police to take action on RedWatch.

Newcastle University student Gary Spedding, another anti-Pegida marcher whose picture features on the site, said:

“I was shocked to discover the website known as RedWatch.

“The police informed me that my image, and those of a number of others that I know personally, had recently been uploaded to this neo-Nazi site following Newcastle Unites highly praised and successful rally against Pegida in Newcastle last month.

“The modus operandi of RedWatch, uploading images of anti-fascist individuals and groups in order to identify them and gather our personal details including telephone numbers and home addresses, is something I find to be sinister, creepy and potentially criminal.

“Publishing the image, personal details and contact number of individuals with implied intent to incite violence against them is possibly a breach of the Electronic Communications Act (2000).

“RedWatch is a far-right platform with strong ties to a paramilitary group known as Combat 18 – the publishing of personal details on the website has previously resulted in actual violence towards people at their home addresses and even death threats to elected representatives, including members of parliament and their families.

“I would urge those who may have had their images and personal details uploaded to the website to be vigilant and report the website – along with any out of the ordinary occurrences such as no caller ID phone calls – to the police as soon as possible.”

A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said:

“We have been made aware of this website and are currently making inquiries into this matter.”

The people who run the site use this introduction:

“This is a site designed and intended for people who are involved in the struggle against the spread of Marxist lies in the UK.”

> Nothing actually new – RedWatch has published photos and requested info on protestors at protests in Newcastle and Sunderland before. 

Though undoubtedly they are sinister, creepy and potentially criminal.

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 13 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

Newcastle: ‘Stay out of our city’ Final message to Pegida ahead of Tyneside demo

You are not welcome in our city.

That was the overriding message from residents, community leaders, political parties and union bosses just 24 hours before an “anti-islam” protesters arrive in Newcastle city centre.

Under the banner of ‘Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West’, Pegida supporters will be taking to Tyneside’s streets amid claims they are trying to defend countries from the spread of extremism at the hands of Muslim immigrants.

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

A growing counter-demonstration, now expected to attract in excess of 2,000 people, will simultaneously march through the city centre in protest over Pegida.

The counter-demo, organised by Newcastle Unites, is also aiming to attract a string of high profile speakers including George Galloway MP.

 

Police said they were fully prepared to cope with the extra influx of people into the city centre just hours before Newcastle United kick off their home match against Aston Villa.

Today, opponents to Pegida made one final rallying call.

David Stockdale, councillor for Blakelaw, who will also be speaking at the meeting, said:

“Newcastle is a friendly, tolerant and inclusive city of sanctuary. We thrive on the diversity of our communities which make our city one of the truly great cities of the world.

“We have a proud history of standing up to intolerance and hate and to groups like Pegida who seek to do harm to our Muslim sisters and brothers.

“Pegida paint a brutal misrepresentation of Islam. It’s important to stand up to that and for me as a non-Muslim it’s important to speak out against Pegida’s twisted prejudice.

“The Newcastle Unites counter-demonstration will show Newcastle at its best. Islamophobia targets Muslims but it hurts us all and I’m so proud of how our wonderful city has come together to march in peace and solidarity against Pegida and everything they stand for”.

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.

Jeremy Beecham, former leader of Newcastle City Council, said:

“This city has a deserved reputation for welcoming people and for good relations between the communities which enrich its life.

“It has welcomed the contribution made by people from a variety of cultures across a range of activities, from the NHS to St James’s Park. Pegida is an extreme right wing movement driven by hatred of Muslims, on whom they have focussed their resentment for problems they perceive in Germany.

“Their Islamophobia is totally unacceptable, and it’s difficult to understand why Newcastle has been singled out for their malign attention. I hope the people of this city will unite to reject the message of division which they seek to bring to our streets.”

David Kelly, 33, from Newcastle, will be part of the counter-demo.

He said: “We don’t want these people in our city. They don’t belong here. We are a friendly, tolerant and welcoming place.”

Pegida claim to have chosen Newcastle for their first UK march due to having already established a following in the city.

 

Chi Onwurah,  Newcastle MP, said:

“We are a city of diverse communities and shared values where we both respect and look out for each other. We have a history of facing hard times together and growing stronger.

“People coming from outside to spread a message of division and hatred are not welcome. Pegida is targeting Muslims in our community and we have to stand up and say it is wrong, Islamaphobia is wrong, anti semitism is wrong, all racism is wrong, we can do better than this, we have done better than this when we saw off the National Front and the BNP.

“The idea that there might be children in Newcastle who feel unwelcome or unappreciated because of the religion they practise I find absolutely obscene. That is why I’ll be there on Saturday.”

Police say they have had open dialogue with parties from both demonstrations and say they are satisfied the demos will pass “peacefully”.

Chief Superintendent Laura Young, from Northumbria Police, added:

“I have had guarantees from both organisations that this will be a peaceful demonstration.

“People should not be put off coming into the city centre on Saturday. People will still want to come shopping, there is a football match on in the afternoon and people will be coming for other events.

“I would just say that they should give themselves some extra time to get in and out of the city centre as there have been some road closures.”

The march, which will begin at 10.30am, has attracted national, and international interest.

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 26 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

Pegida urge other right-wing groups to keep Newcastle demonstration peaceful

The controversial anti-Islam group Pegida has urged extreme right-wing groups planning to join its first British demonstration, in Newcastle, to keep protests peaceful.

It has admitted the 11am start on Saturday, February 28, was a “pain” for supporters travelling from elsewhere, but accepted police and the local council had “a lot to contend with” as there was a Premier League fixture in the city that afternoon.

There will also be a counter-demo which left-wing comedian Russell Brand and Respect MP George Galloway were understood to be joining.

Pegida UK is an offshoot of the group which started in Germany and whose name translates as Patriots of Europe against the Islamisation of the West.

On Facebook, it said it was aware extreme right-wing groups were planning to join them in Newcastle, and insisted the rally in the Bigg Market must remain non-violent.

It said: “Pegida is an organisation that believes in freedom of expression and speech. We welcome everybody. No matter of political nor religious background…

“All we ask is that people acknowledge our agenda of peaceful protest and unite under the Pegida flag for the day….. In a perfect world we would love the extreme right-wing element to leave us to it… but this isn’t an ideal world… as long as everyone behaves themselves, this should go without incident.

“The subject about Islam’s influence of our culture is a very sensitive issue… and it is a topic that lays heavy on our hearts… it is true this stirs emotions and sometimes anger… but we are not angry at the Muslim community, but the Governments that have allowed such acts to take place.

“Pegida asks that all aggression and ill conduct to be ruled out completely. This is a public and political awareness campaign… The only awareness a violent attitude will bring, is the awareness that we are out of control thugs that have no agenda except cause destruction.”

In a separate message addressed “Dear loyal and proud patriots” the group said it was too late to alter the February 28 date.

That afternoon a crowd of around 50,000 is expected to watch Newcastle United play Aston Villa at St James’s Park.

Pegida said Northumbria Police and Newcastle City Council “have a lot to contend with on the 28th, our hands are tied”.

> Well, you could just stay away…

The statement continued: “It is a pain for us all we can appreciate this. Newcastle will be the first of many demonstrations held. The next will be planned better with city events and logistics sorted out prior.”

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 19 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