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article imageSome London Muslims burn poppy, disrupt silence on Armistice Day

By Lynn Curwin     Nov 12, 2010 in World
London - As the clock struck 11:00 and people stood for Armistice Day’s two minutes of silence, Islamic protesters in London burned a model of a poppy and shouted out messages such as "British soldiers burn in hell."
About 35 protesters, many with their faces masked, gathered near Hyde Park. They set a model of a poppy on fire at the stroke of 11am, and then marched through the area carrying signs and chanting.
Messages on the signs included "Hands off Muslim lands," "Islam will dominate," "There is no God but Allah," “Our dead are in paradise, your dead are in hell” and "British soldiers burn in hell."
The protesters said they were members of a group called Muslims Against Crusades.
"The British soldiers you remember on this day are soldiers who have taken innocent lives in illegal occupations and unjust wars,” The Telegraph quoted Asad Ullah, 23, a spokesman for the group, as saying
"Our aim is not violence but if people come to us with violence, Muslims will defend themselves."
Sylvia Black, 61, who encountered the protesters, was wearing a poppy in memory of her uncle who was killed in the First World War.
"I disagree with what they're doing,” she told The Telegraph. “They shouldn't be doing it and they shouldn't be allowed to do it."
Christine Bonner, whose son Darren was killed by a landmine in Helmand province in 2007, was quoted by Metro as saying: “There are people like myself that, at 11am today, were remembering the lives of our children, and then there are some people doing something so hurtful as that. It is atrocious!”
The Muslim Council of Britain said that while the protesters claim to speak for Muslims, many more join fellow Britons in remembering the sacrifice of the armed forces.
Members of Muslims Against Crusades were involved in violent clashes with far-right groups during a troop march in Barking earlier this year.
Around 50 counter demonstrators from the English Defence League gathered nearby and police battled to keep the two groups apart.
BBC News reported that Stephen Lennon, 27, founder of the EDL, was charged with assaulting a police officer and five other members of that group were arrested on suspicion of affray and released on bail.
Two members of Muslims Against Crusades were arrested for public order offences and released on bail.
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