London: The Britain’s Islamic Human Rights Council (IHRC) has warned that far-right groups seek to use unrests as an opportunity to burn down mosques and stage a race war. The London-based campaign group, which is a consultative partner of the UN Economic and Social Council, said racist groups such as the English Defense League (EDL) have been using social media networks to post messages that suggest they are planning to target non-white British nationals. “Messages from far-right groups on social media have suggested that some groups of far-right sympathizers want to use the riots as cover for burning down mosques. Others have spoken of the riots in terms of a race war and suggest taking action against ‘blacks’ and ‘Asians’ and ‘coloreds’,” the IHRC said in a press release on its website.
The campaign group said the presence of the EDL supporters among those on streets in the southeast London Eltham area on Tuesday and the messages they are posting on the web is especially worrying.
“Of more concern was the actual appearance of the English Defence League in Eltham, London yesterday and the promotion of their effort via social media. Reports suggest that there may have been EDL members or supporters amongst vigilantes in Enfield, London,” the IHRC said.
This comes as EDL leader Stephen Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson, has claimed that up to 1,000 of the far-right group’s members will be patrolling the streets as long as the unrest continues.
IHRC chairman Massoud Shadjareh said they are especially worried because the EDL threat is apparently being taken lightly.
“Whilst we know police took action to disperse the EDL from Eltham as well as a group of men in Enfield, we are deeply concerned that the threat of far-right violence in these days is not being taken seriously,” Shadjareh said.
“The demonizing rhetoric in the media in particular and from government and its institutions is being capitalized upon by far-right actors, and the government needs to publicly condemn this opportunism and make clear it will deal with this threat,” he added.
The campaign group included links on its website to postings by EDL supporters including one by a Facebook user “Steve Guest” who said wherever the riots are “we should all go around and burn the mosques”.
Another posting on an EDL Facebook profile by a user named “Micky English” claims “most of the rioters and looters attacking white people are Asians and blacks” and indirectly calls on other users to do something against those ethnicities.