A FAR-RIGHT group which “invaded” mosques in Bradford and handed out anti-Islam leaflets is “on a mission” to target areas of the country with large Muslim populations, an MP has claimed.
Members of Britain First, some wearing uniforms, staged the protests at ten places of worship in the city centre over the weekend before posting images of themselves on Facebook apparently confronting members of the Asian community.
They also visited the home of Bradford Lord Mayor Khadim Hussain and have threatened to do the same to “Bradford MPs, councillors, newspaper editors and Muslim community leaders/imams”.
West Yorkshire Police has set up a team of officers, led by the detective who investigated the death of four-year-old Hamzah Khan in Bradford, to establish if a crime has been committed.
Bradford MP George Galloway said anyone who saw the group in action should call the police. He said in a statement yesterday: “This is crucial because these idiots are promising to return to cause more trouble.”
A spokesman for Mr Galloway said: “There is a national co-ordination going on. They were in Glasgow and they are going to go to other cities, they will be in Leeds shortly.
“They are clearly on a mission to hit areas where there is a high Muslim population and cause fear and alarm in those people.”
Fellow Bradford MP David Ward said: “These people went into a number of mosques and were quite challenging, but the far more serious issue is they went to the home of the Lord Mayor. It is pretty unpleasant and intimidatory and was quite challenging.
“These are some sad individuals but they cannot just be dismissed as being crackpots, to those who are on the receiving end of their threats, it is unpleasant and it is nasty. We need to have a strategy, we need to be united.”
Britain First describes itself as a “patriotic political group” and its founders severed links with the British National Party in 2010, establishing the new organisation six months later.
The leaflets handed out by its members, seen by The Yorkshire Post, claim Islam “remains hostile to our democratic, western culture” and accuses authorities of “turning a blind eye” to what it describes as “Muslim grooming”.
A statement on a Britain First Facebook site recording the action said: “This is the first of many such operations that are due to be launched across Yorkshire against Islam.”
Detective Superintendent Lisa Griffin, who is leading the investigation, was the lead detective in the case of Hamzah Khan, who starved to death at his home in Bradford in 2009.
She said: “We would like to reassure the people of Bradford that this matter is being taken seriously, and that appropriate action will be taken if any offences have been committed.”
Witnesses to the incidents in Bradford should call West Yorkshire Police on 101.