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article imageWoolwich: EDL supporters clash with police, attack mosques (Vid.)

By JohnThomas Didymus     May 23, 2013 in World
London - Supporters of the far right-wing extremist group English Defense League (EDL) clashed with police near Woolwich Arsenal railway station, south east London, hours after the gruesome street murder of a British soldier by extremist Muslims.
The EDL leader Stephen Lennon (Tommy Robinson), spoke to about 100 EDL members who gathered outside the Queens Arms pub in Burrage Grove, Woolwich, saying: "Enough is enough. Our message is enough, enough. We have weak leaders. Our police, our leaders tip-toe around this issue. This issue is political Islam, political Islam that is spreading across this country... We have got weak leadership. They have allowed this to happen. People are scared to say the word Muslim. They are scared to offend them. You know what? We are offended. People in this country are angry. They have had enough."
The Telegraph reports that EDL hooligans wearing balaclavas with EDL logo, waving St George's flags, chanting and shouting slogans, clashed with riot officers armed with shields and batons in Woolwich, south London Wednesday.
According to the Daily Mail, they shouted, "no surrender to the Muslim scum," "Rule Britannia" "England," "Whose streets? Our streets!'" and threw missiles including bottles at police who dispersed them with baton charges (see video).
Members of the group also attacked mosques. Bystanders report they threw a brick through the window of a local mosque.
Sky News reports that Nick Raynsford, MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, said that EDL members should "go home and grow up." He said: "Behaving in the way that they did, trying to foment trouble and cause difficulties in a community that has just suffered such an appalling outrage is counter-productive."
Jamie Lewis, writing in the Independent, noted what many understand: That the problem is not Islam but extremism, be it the extremism of Muslims, of Christians, EDL hooligans, Golden Dawn thugs or IRA militants. He writes: "I’m sorry, Mr Robinson... the problem isn't with Islam. You see, the real issue here is with extremism [both Islamic and EDL]... we've seen the IRA [yet another extremist group] apologize for the death of 1,800 'non-combatants'... but we won’t be chasing Irish men down the road on St Patrick’s day.
"Lest we forget that Anders Breivik, a Christian, killed 69 people – mostly teenagers – on and around the island of Utøya, Norway and the many, many school shootings by mostly white, non-Muslim people in the United States."
But meanwhile, the EDL are saying that support for their group has surged since the attack. According to EDL, their Facebook page has gained more than 3,000 new "likes."
Mosque attacks
Sky.com reports that police arrested two men in separate attacks on mosques after the murder of the British soldier.
Essex Police say they arrested a 43-year-old man on suspicion of "possession of an offensive weapon and attempted arson." The man reportedly walked into a mosque in Braintree, Essex, armed with knives and an "incendiary device."
According to the Daily Mail, he banged on the door of the mosque before evening prayer, shouting: "I want to slit your throats." The he forced his way in, shouting, "Where is your Allah now?"
He then threw a smoke grenade.
Brooks Newmark, the local MP, reported the incident on Twitter. He tweeted: "Local mosque in Braintree attacked by man with knives and incendiary device. Man arrested. No one injured. Just met with leaders of local mosque in Braintree which was attacked this evening. Thanked local police for their swift response."
He added: "We cannot allow acts like that to drive us apart."
The secretary of the Al Falah Braintree Islamic Center, Sikander Saleemy, said: "The police said it's too early to try and link it to what happened in Woolwich, but those of us who were here feel that it was some sort of revenge attack. It was clear from the man's behaviour. We absolutely condemn what happened in Woolwich, but it had nothing to do with us. It was an appalling act of terror - but it wasn't 'Islamic' in any way. I wish it wasn't described like that, because sadly people will now start to blame Muslims."
Saleemy said the only worshiper who was in the mosque at the time fled by jumping through a window on the roof.
In a separate incident at Canterbury Street, Gillingham, Kent, police arrested a man on suspicion of "racially-aggravated criminal damage" at a mosque. The man reportedly smashed a window.
Another mosque was vandalized in south east London high street. Eggs were thrown at the door.
Police officers stood guard at the Lewisham Islamic Center, which has a school, an Islamic bookshop and a mosque, to reassure worshipers and visitors of their safety.
In Bolton, Greater Manchester, about 200 miles away from Woolwich, vandals defaced the wall of a mosque with graffiti such as "Islam = Evil," and "terrorist training camp."
The secretary of the Masjid Usman mosque, Abdul Rauf, said the local Muslim community was shocked. He said: "It has been a massive shock. Nothing like this has ever happened at the mosque before. We are all upset and we don't know if something else might happen. We discovered the graffiti when we came to open this morning and rang the police straight away. The incident in London is nothing to with our mosque or Muslims in this country. I know people are upset but they should not target local Muslims."
Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking from Downing Street, said: "We will defeat violent extremism by standing together, by backing our police and security services and above all by challenging the poisonous narrative of extremism on which this violence feeds."
Mayor of London Boris Johnson, urged Londoners to continue with their normal daily routine, saying: "It is completely wrong to blame this killing on the religion of Islam. But it also equally wrong to try to draw any link between this murder and British foreign policy or the actions of British forces who are risking their lives abroad for the sake of freedom."
Sky News reports that a meeting chaired by Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday commended the response of the UK Muslim community following the murder.
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