March is criticised by mosque officials

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OFFICIALS from an East London mosque have criticised plans to march through the village of Wootton Bassett. Controversial Islamic group Islam4UK want to parade through the Wiltshire village – famous for honouring British soldiers brought back from Afghanistan. But Shahid Mursaleen from the Newham Islamic Centre, based in Romford Road, Forest Gate, told the Yellow Advertiser he was furious about the idea of a march.

Shahid, who is also spokesman for Minhaj-ul-Quran International UK, fears the march would create trouble and fuel hate crime against innocent and law abiding British Muslims.  He said: “This could give other Muslims a bad name.  “Sadly, this type of activity is an excuse for aggressive people to get together. They use religion as a vehicle and excuse as a way of expressing their anger.  “We are very annoyed because these types of events are used to recruit radicals.  “We know everyone has a right to protest, but not in a way which would insult people who have lost family members.”  Islam4UK leader and march organiser, Anjem Choudary, from Leyton, has insisted the march would be peaceful.  He said he planned for 500 coffins to be carried through the village to symbolise the Muslims who have died in Afghanistan.  Hundreds of people who live in Wootton Bassett line the village High Street when the bodies of soldiers are driven from RAF Lyneham.  A spokesman for the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, said he was unhappy about any potential march.  Mr Brown said: “I am personally appalled by the prospect of a march.  “I believe that we, as a nation, should honour service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  “Any attempts to use this location would cause further distress and suffering to people there.”  A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said they had been assured by Islam4UK that the required six days notice to police would be lodged if a march was going to go ahead.  He added: “It is clear this has caused significant and understandable concern.  “If the Chief Officer of Police considers that the imposition of conditions is not sufficient to prevent serious public disorder, an application would be made, to Wiltshire Council, for a prohibition order.”  The consent of the Home Secretary is also required.  A spokesman for the Home Office said: “We will back any decision made by Wiltshire Police.”  Minhaj-ul-Quran International UK said it is desperate to stop fundamentalism.  The organisation has arranged a seminar at the Houses of Parliament next week to discuss the reasons why extremist and radical elements exist in Britain and how to tackle the problem. Source: