The English Defence League is coming to Rotherham to spread division, destroy social cohesion in our great town and to exploit the terrible tragedy of young girls being sexually exploited by vile and evil men.
Let us be clear. Young girls suffered terribly at the hands of older, manipulative men. What happened is an absolute tragedy. No one should have to go through the pain of being sexually exploited, no parent should have to suffer the agony of what their child has suffered. Justice is what they needed, justice is what some of them got. Jail sentences for several men who exploited, abused and used young girls for their own pleasure. Any one committing these crimes regardless of their background, anyone hiding these crimes regardless of their race or personal religion should be pursued and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
The English Defence League. They don’t live here. They have no connection here. After the demonstration they will be gone. But what sort of town will they leave behind?. What contribution will the EDL have made in helping to improve the lives of those who have suffered? What assistance have they promised to other young girls who may be vulnerable? NOTHING.
They have no ideas. They don’t care for the victims. They are motivated solely by their hatred of Muslims and Islam and will use any cause to get their message across. To blame Islam for child sexual exploitation is akin to blaming and labeling Christians as paedophiles because of the crimes of some priests.
Communities and faiths groups across Rotherham came together after 7/7 and 9/11in a show of solidarity. In Rotherham we are one community, we are one nation, we condemn acts of extremism together, we condemn the fascists together, we condemn all those that try to divide us on falsehoods and lies.
Many meetings have taken place with community leaders, local authority, politicians, trade unions, activists, anti-fascist groups, young people, old people, businesses, women and men to discuss their arrival, our response and the after effects. Meetings with the Police to discuss community concerns and policing tactics on the day to ensure the town centre shops stays open in these difficult economic times and its ‘business as usual’ as much as possible.
I call upon those wise men and women to once again unite and to stand tall against those that wish to leave behind a fractured community. Only by working together will we tackle difficult, thorny issues in our communities. EDL are coming here to exploit and divide not to unite. Wherever the go, they bring violence. We must stay strong, we must stay united and we must stay calm in Rotherham under the One Town One Community banner.
We need to ensure our future generations are raised with the notion of being part of an inclusive nation. As Martin Luther King said “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin (I would also add and religion), but by the content of their character”.