Elham Asaad Buaras
The Rotherham branch of the English Defence League (EDL) staged a protest outside Rotherham police station on August 27 following the release of the report on child sexual exploitation in the town.
EDL previously held a protest in the area in May against the “ideology of Islam”.
Similarly, Britain First reports that its supporters “stormed” the Rotherham council building, describing it as “the first installment [sic] of a new campaign” in Rotherham “against the council, the police and social services”.
The group’s far right supporters held a protest outside as well as inside the building. Pictures on their website show the group’s members holding a banner with the words “Justice for victims of Muslim grooming” written on it.
The ‘new’ campaign, however, appears to be an extension of an existing campaign, Operation Fightback, where the far right group’s supporters visit mosques and distribute inflammatory, anti-Muslim literature on “Muslim grooming gangs”.
The International Business Times said Britain First has seized upon excerpts from the report as if to justify their ‘mosque invasions’ while failing to acknowledge the report’s observation on “Good work…done by officers in developing a protocol on child protection issues in the mosques in 2008. Each mosque appointed a designated person responsible for child protection, and training was provided for imams and others. The current chair of the Rotherham Council of Mosques had made strenuous efforts to widen representation on his Council to include women and demonstrated a strong personal commitment to dealing with child protection and [child sexual exploitation].”