‘Extremist’ groups condemned by our community leaders

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councillors have echoed the tough stance from the people of Calderdale on last weekend’s unwelcome visitors from the English Defence League.

Our page one story on Wednesday highlighted concerns from Halifax MP Linda Riordan, the police and council officials over the demonstration which attracted a heavy police presence and brought chaos to the town centre.

Council leader Coun Janet Battye brandished a copy of the newspaper at a full council meeting and said the authority totally agreed with the sentiments.

She said communities got on well in Calderdale and people had respect for each other.

“Working with our partners we will protect Halifax from troublemakers and ensure everyone can enjoy our towns without fear of intimidation or crime,” she said.

“We will not allow any of our communities to become the focus of extremist activity, which threatens residents or visitors.”

Councillor Battye added the authority supported peaceful demonstrations but its priority was to protect people and property.

“We will not tolerate crime or disorder. If the law is broken we will work with police to take immediate and robust action. Calderdale is a thriving and vibrant place to live, work and visit. We want to keep it that way.”

Meanwhile the Halifax Asian community has distanced itself from the Muslim Defence League which was involved in last weekend’s disturbance.

Mohammed Idris, general secretary of Madni Mosque, Gibbet Street, said it was the first time he had heard of it.

“To our knowledge no members or organisations in Halifax are part of the MDL,” he said.

“We have no idea where those people came from.”

Police forwarned the mosque of possible trouble in the run-up to Saturday’s English Defence League’s gathering in the town centre.

“We made an announcement at Friday prayers to keep families away from the town centre,” said Mr Idris.