Birmingham Central Mosque will be hosting a traditional tea party on Saturday to combat the “division and hate” of the EDL . The event is timed to coincide with the far right group’s demonstration in the city on the same day.
Mosque chairman Muhammad Afzal said,
“We would love the focus of Saturday to be our tea party rather than the protests going on elsewhere. Our mosque is open to all and we thought the best response to the demonstrations would be to invite our neighbours round for a cup of tea.”
The mosque, draped in bunting and Union flags, will be open to all from 11am and will be serving tea, coffee and cakes. Faith and community leaders from across the region have been invited to the event. West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson urged visitors to attend.
Speaking at a Police and Crime Board meeting on Tuesday, he accused the EDL of spreading “division and hate” and urged people to meet for tea instead.
Mr Jamieson said,
“Every citizen has the right to peacefully protest but I feel the demonstrations on Saturday will bring little more than division to our city and demand to our police force. I’d much rather see people at the tea party enjoying themselves with their neighbours.
Everyone at the mosque is really excited about hosting the event and going all out with the ‘best of British’ decorations. I hope to see as many people there as possible, focussing on what unites rather than divides us. We know there will be people planning counter demonstrations, but we urge them to join us at the mosque instead.”
Birmingham Central Mosque’s ‘very British Tea Party’ drew an audience of more than 300 people from all faiths, ages and backgrounds to the Mosque by promising guests they could have custard creams and digestive biscuits along with samosas and cups of tea.
The tea party was attended by three times as many people as the EDL rally, which led to three arrests.
The mosque’s executive board member Mohammed Dawood sent out a clear message to protesters,
“We haven’t got anything against the EDL. We don’t hate you. We are very happy to have the majority of the Birmingham community here to represent the diverse community. We should all unite and live in peace with each other.”
City council leader John Clancy added,
“Brummies are showing that we are carrying on as normal. We are going to drink tea, have cake and sweets. There’s one great community in this city and that’s the community of Birmingham. We are all British Brummies, all the other labels come after that. We just wanted to show the extremists in this town that we are just get on with things. You are not going to disrupt our lives.”
Source: Birmingham Mail/Indepedent