Lutfur Rahman: I want EDL march banned
By Lutfur Rahman
The far right English Defence League is threatening to march through Tower Hamlets on September 7.
I am determined it will not bring its message of hate to our borough and I am pleased at the support I have had from an unprecedented number of national and local figures who have called upon the Home Secretary Theresa May to ban it.
The EDL seeks to exploit the shocking murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich for its own destructive ends. Its target is the largest mosque in the country.
EDL's previous protests have invariably resulted in violence against communities, property and the police.
It is outrageous that it should seek to threaten the otherwise largely harmonious atmosphere here.
In light of the recent street disturbances in Birmingham as a result of an EDL visit, I have written to the Home Secretary to express these concerns.
I have a real fear that the EDL presence will act as a catalyst for further violence, disorder and destruction of property.
I was equally shocked to learn that the EDL had attempted to get permission to use Altab Ali Park following their march.
This really is a deeply provocative and gratuitous attempt by the EDL to use a park named after a young garment worker who was murdered by racist thugs in 1978.
I am delighted that Tower Hamlets Council officers have refused permission for our park and the name of Altab Ali to be abused in this way.
■ Lutfur Rahman is executive mayor of Tower Hamlets Council