Far-right group Britain First told to 'stay out of Blackburn'
Updated 4:09pm Friday 14th March 2014 in News
FAR-RIGHT party Britain First has been heavily criticised after using Blackburn to launch a campaign to highlight alleged Muslim grooming.
Members of the group filmed themselves visiting the home of Mayor Salim Mulla and pushing leaflets through his door.
Coun Mulla said he was shocked the group visited his house.
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He said: “Luckily, no-one opened the door. I have seen the literature in question and I am appalled by it. I am going to hand it to the police.
“This is a fascist group and no-one should entertain them.
“As chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques I campaigned against these people. We work with the police and the ‘Engage’ team to combat grooming.
“I ensured every mosque in Lancashire read out a sermon oppose to grooming. It is not permitted in Islam.
“If someone breaks the law it is the job of the police force to investigate not vigilante groups such as this.”
Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said: “This group is not welcome in East Lancashire. We do not want extremists of any form in our area.
“People should not be deceived by this group’s Christian facade.”
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “We are aware of the video and the literature which has been distributed and we are in the process of looking at them to see if any offences have been committed.”
The group, led by chairman and former British National Party member Paul Golding, posted a video of members ‘doorstepping’ Coun Mulla who represents the Queens Park ward and shows them visiting the town’s Premier Inn, Travelodge, and local guest house warning them against allowing Muslim men to bring young girls to their premises.
Mr Golding says in the video on the Britain First website that ‘there will be consequences’ for establishments that ignore the warning.
The group’s co-founder Jim Dowson, a former BNP fundraiser with links to militant Ulster Unionism, said the group would return to Blackburn and Burnley with its campaign against ‘Muslim Grooming: Britain’s Secret Shame’. He said the party was not racist adding: “The problem is Islam. Grooming is predominantly an Islamic activity.”
Euro election candidate Mr Golding tells the camera: “These areas we are going through now are absolutely 100 per cent colonised by Muslims.
“We hope it will put a dent in the Muslim grooming in this town.”
The group visits a one of Blackburn’s main Islamic centres, where an elderly man accepts their literature. They then post literature through Coun Mulla’s door. The party website says it is ‘a patriotic resistance’ promising to ‘restore Christianity as the foundation of our national life’.
Matthew Collins, a former BNP activist and now a worker with ant-racist group ‘Hope not Hate’ said: “This is a splinter group of the BNP. It is not funny. It is more active and dangerous.”
Mr Collins claimed that Britain First drew people in by using a pro Christian message while hiding its extremist views.
Mr Dowson, said: “We are not a BNP splinter group. We are not thugs. We shall be returning to Blackburn several times and visiting Burnley.”
A Premier Inn spokesperson said: “We can confirm that four men visited our site in Blackburn and briefly filmed in the reception area of the hotel without our permission.”
A Travelodge spokesman said: “We can confirm three men unexpectedly visited our Blackburn hotel. This brief visit was recorded without our permission.”