19 Apr 2011

Extreme Muslim group calls for ‘forceful’ anti-Royal protest

The Muslims Against Crusades group tells Channel 4 News that a protest to disrupt the Royal Wedding “will definitely go ahead” despite a ban on them demonstrating outside Westminster Abbey.

An extreme Muslim action group has vowed to disrupt the Royal Wedding on 29 April in protest at continued military action in Muslim countries.

The Metropolitan Police told reporters that the Muslims Against Crusades (MAC) Group, along with the English Defence League (EDL), had made requests to lead protests outside Westminster Abbey on the day of the wedding, and that both of those requests have been rejected.

But Asad Ulah from MAC told Channel 4 News: “our protest is still going ahead. There is an issue with the location, but it will go ahead”

He said the protests are to highlight the Royal Family’s “tacit support of the war in Afghanistan”.

“This is a reminder to the Royal Family that they can change polict. It is to expose British bigotry, we can talk about weddings disrupted, but what about the weddings bombed and disrupted in Afghanistan?”

A St James’s Palace spokesman said: “The couple remain very grateful to the police for all they’re doing to ensure a safe and enjoyable day for everyone participating in their wedding.”

Muslims Against Crusades' online threat. (Reuters)

Countdown clock

On the MAC website a countdown clock ticks down to the date alongside images of Prince William smiling, superimposed over images of injured Muslim children. Prince Harry is portrayed as a “Nazi sympathiser” and Prince William as “one of the biggest advocates of British Imperialism” whilst the Queen is labelled a “very brutal dictator”.

The group demands that Princes William and Harry step down from their positions in the British Armed Forces. It has declared that they will organise a “forceful demonstration” on the day of the wedding. The website warning adds: “We promise that should they [Prince William/Harry] refuse [to leave their military positions] then the day which the nation has been dreaming of for so long will become a nightmare and that it will inshaa’allah [God willing] eclipse the protests in Barking, Downing Street and the events of November 11.”

More from Channel 4 News: Royal Wedding special report

MAC versus EDL

The request to protest at the Abbey was rejected by the Metropolitan Police, who have the power to do so along the main route of the wedding party back to Buckingham Palace, under the Serious Organised Crime Act of 2005. They are currently in discussion with MAC and EDL about how and where other protests may take place.

Despite the refusal of their protest application, Muslims Against Crusades’ media spokesman Anjem Choudary indicated that they would still use the wedding as an opportunity for the Muslim group to raise their profile.

He said: “Ultimately the timing needs to be right, and I think the timing on the royal wedding is absolutely spot on because it will raise awareness among the masses here and around the world that the Muslims will never remain silent.”

The EDL declared on its Facebook page that it “will not be counter-protesting at the Royal Wedding against the Muslims Against Crusade” but did insist that they would be monitoring the movements of MAC members closely in a response that could threaten clashes on the day.

The EDL will however be celebrating the Royal Wedding as general members of the public, not in EDL colours… English Defence League

In an official press release the EDL said: “The EDL will however be celebrating the Royal Wedding as general members of the public, not in EDL colours, and 50-100 members will be at every Tube Station to ensure that MAC do not enter the streets of London to disrupt the Royal Wedding.

“The EDL also know which Mosques the leading MAC members attend and if they go ahead with their plans to disrupt the Royal Wedding then the EDL will protest at their Mosques.”

Prince William and Kate Middleton. (Reuters)

The two groups have clashed before, in 2010 outside the US Embassy on the anniversary of September 11 and earlier this month as part of the MAC protest against US Pastor Terry Jones‘s burning of the Koran. The latter protest saw 80-100 MAC members marching from Regents Park to the American Embassy, coming into contact with pockets of EDL members along the way, notably at one point on Oxford Street.

On 11 November 2010, Muslims Against Crusades conducted a protest against British armed forces outside of the Albert Hall where members chanted “British soldiers burn in hell” during the two-minute silence and one protester, Emdadur Choudhury who was later fined £50 for his actions, burned a number of poppies on the anniversary of Armistice Day.

‘Pre-emptive’ Police measures put in place

Five-thousand police officers will be deployed on 29 April to control crowds that are expected to amount hundreds of thousands trying to get a glimpse of the wedding party. Sixty people known to the police from previous demonstrations will be banned from Westminster on the day and the Met will be using “spotters” to identify what they term as the “black bloc” of anarchists they fear will try and cause trouble.

Pre-emptive action to combat any criminal acts proposed by groups or individuals will be taken, according to a Scotland Yard statement. Assistant Commissioner Lynne Owens said: “If anyone comes to London on the day of the Royal Wedding intending to commit criminal acts, we will act quickly, robustly and decisively so that it is a safe and happy environment for everyone else, who wishes to be here and celebrate.”

Owens said there was so far no sign of a terrorist threat declaring: “What we are hoping for for the Royal Wedding is a fantastic day of ceremony and pageantry.” However, the Assistant Commissioner admitted that they were “not naive” of the social media “chatter” that promised more unauthorised action on the day.