With the Far Right planning an anti-Islamic march in Harrow, north London, today Jyoti Bhojani looks at the impact such protests have on the local community
Having grown up in Harrow, which is probably one of the most diverse areas in London, the anti-Islam protests are deeply concerning.
The anti-Islam group Stop the Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) have specifically organised these protests outside Harrow Central Mosque to coincide and commemorate the 8th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Fears of violent clashes are rife as these protests are being countered by Unite Against Fascism, who clashed with the English Defence League (EDL) last weekend in Birmingham (see image taken at the last EDL rally, above).
The EDL and various other extremist groups are likely to be present. It’s scary to think that there is no mechanism in place to ban these extremist groups from making their views known in this way.
And even worse to think this can be allowed to happen in what is meant to be a cosmopolitan area which prides itself on valuing diversity. Given the recent events in Birmingham and Luton, the chances of these protests turning violent are a real possibility.
We all realise and recognise that the extremist views being represented in Harrow today, only make up a fragment of the views in mainstream society and its right that the public have an opportunity to challenge these views. But the danger is that these protests will result in a divided society, broken by various cultural tensions.
Surely, in the 21st century, in an area which is otherwise a cohesive community, these protests are a backward step from which it will take a long time to recover from?
Rather than creating divisions, the aim should be a close knit community based on mutual understanding, respect and appreciation of each other’s cultures, ideas and values which ultimately is the essence of society.