Muslims to Protest Against Poppy-Burning Extremists (A Joint Statement)

9th November 2011

On Friday 11th November 2011, at the 11th minute of the 11th hour, a growing number of individuals and organisations will be observing the nation’s silence at the Royal Albert Hall, to counter an incendiary protest by the group Muslims Against Crusades (formerly known as Al-Muhajiroun).

Led by the Alliance Against Extremism, an umbrella body for many of the organisations and individuals involved, banners will also be held to send a clear message to Muslims Against Crusades (MAC).

The majority of British Muslims – irrespective of their diverse views on particular armed conflicts – recognise that British soldiers continue to serve in difficult circumstances.

Julie Siddiqi of the Islamic Society of Britain said: “MAC’s choice of venue is deliberate and designed to cause maximum offence and distress, particularly to the friends and families of fallen servicemen.”

“In one sweep, they display an unspeakable disregard for the feelings and common bond of our countrymen and women; a contempt and rejection of our hard-earned democracy and its institutions; a disdain for the majority of British Muslims who do not share their views; and a violation of the example of the Prophet Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace.”

‘Muslim Against Crusades’ is one of several (provocatively named) groups based in the UK that stem from the group Al-Muhajiroun, which was led by the Syrian, Omar Bakri Mohammad.

His leading student Anjem Choudary took over operations but remains under Bakri’s guidance. Both began their preaching in the rejectionist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir and left over differences in strategy to form Al-Muhajiroun.

The counter-protest is being led by Muslim activists and groups, but will include activists of all races, religions and backgrounds.

Although the English Defence League also plan to hold a protest at the time, this group is not related to them and rejects their extremist messages.

The humble poppy is a symbol of our common quest for peace. It represents a stand taken by civil society against fascism, racism and hate preaching.

Tehmina Kazi said: “Anjem Choudary and his handful of followers betray everything this country stands for and the very group of people they claim to represent, which is ordinary British Muslims. We plan to hold a counter-protest to demonstrate that ordinary Muslims are deeply opposed to the values of ‘Muslims Against Crusades’.”