The English Defence League appear to have snubbed an offer from a Muslim group to meet for a meal ahead of a planned demonstration in Preston.Advertisement
Leaders of the Light Foundation, a group which aims to explain what Islam is and breakdown cultural barriers, had broached the idea of meeting EDL leaders.
Nadeem Ashfaq, 29, co-founder of the Light Foundation, told the Lancashire Evening Post: “We want to invite the EDL to a private meal just for a dignified and respectful chat.
“The intention is to meet with the group’s leadership and assure them that Deepdale has no ‘no go areas’ and it is not a radicalised area.
“Hopefully if we can arrange this meeting before their march then we can get them to call it off.
“The meeting would be more of a meal, we would cook them some food and just have a friendly chat, hoping to break down some boundaries in the process.”
Related: Two Deepdale men debunk EDL ‘no go area’ claim
But Nadeem’s offer has not been accepted by the EDL.
Initially EDL leaders indicated they would consider the request, but now seem to have decided against the meeting.
In a statement released on Facebook a spokesperson for the far right group said: “I have just seen a post on here and would like to put to bed the subject in connection with This ‘Light Foundation meal offer. No way on earth while I have a hole in my bum will I give them a minute of our time.”
The statement goes on to accuse the Light Foundation of working hand in hand with Preston city councillor Drew Gale – who earlier this week told Blog Preston of the online threats he had received from the EDL.
It also criticises Mohammed Ali Amla, who is one of the men behind a denouncing of the EDL’s planned demonstration by tens of religious and civic leaders.
The EDL demo is planned for Saturday 20 February on the Flag Market.
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said on Friday they were continuing to consider the request for the demo.
What do you think of the Light Foundation’s offer? And the EDL’s response? Let us know in the comments below