Muslim protestors gathered in London on Sunday calling for aspects of Sharia law to be introduced in Britain. The rally turned into chaos, sparking a counter-demonstration by English right-wing nationalists.
“We find many of these people who call for human rights and one law,” said Asad Ullah, member of the Muslims against the Crusades group. “They come and they say that they want equality. But what equality do you get when one man legislates over another? Is he not more superior than you? You are worshipping him by submitting to and obeying his laws… We will get oppression like this until we all submit to one law, and that is the law of God.”
A few meters away from Ullah, Maryam Namazie, spokesperson for One Law for All, a campaign that opposes the introduction of Sharia law, struggled to get her voice heard. She attended the rally along with a group of other moderate Muslims and non-Muslims who came to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of Neda Agha-Soltan, killed following last year’s Iranian election.
"The British government is making a huge mistake giving them access to bring Sharia law here,” Namazie said. “It thinks it can reduce terrorism by doing that. It doesn’t understand that this is the political wing of the terrorist movement and they are here to suppress people’s rights. And we’re not going to allow it.”
The nationalist English Defense League also attended the rally. They were not welcomed by either group, although some among them said they came with a message of inclusion.
“We’re members of the EDL, we’re not racists – black, white, brown unite against these Islamic preachers,” said Hayley Moore. “We want one law for all in the UK, so we’ve decided to come and join these to protest against them.”
“Our lads got arrested, and they didn’t do nothing. They got arrested, and they should be arresting them because they’re inciting religious and racial hatred,” Moore said, referring to the EDL protestors bundled into vans by the police who said they had no permission to demonstrate.
Shortly thereafter, a group of protestors carrying “Unite Against Fascism” banners joined the rally. It first seemed that those carrying the UAF banners were there to oppose the EDL, until their chanting became clear and one could hear them calling out “Allah Akbar.” The UAF group has denied any association.
A total of four factions protesting in favour of and against the introduction of Sharia law into the UK were represented at the rally on Sunday. Such demonstrations are becoming more and more common on the streets of towns all across the UK.