What does it mean to be anti-Islam, and do the EDL have a point?

This weekend saw the English Defence League and Lincoln Against Racism & Fascism march in the city centre from their respective corners. The former starting out from the Blue Anchor pub, the latter originating in St. Martin’s Square. Take that irony however you like, readers.

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

This year’s protest was admittedly on a much smaller scale from last year, which saw many anti-Islam protesters settling down for a lunch time pint and not moving much from there on in.

Donning a variety of facial coverings including balaclavas and scarves. You can take that irony however you like, too. The EDL did manage to maintain a peaceful march though and for that they are to be congratulated.

Organisers have been quoted as saying the latest protest was not solely based around Lincoln’s first mosque; but raising awareness of sex offenders from Asian origin that could ‘become a problem’. ‘Are our children safe?’ citing the issues with gangs in Manchester as a prime example.

FullFact, a great website that rounds up an unbiased view of the statistics behind the headlines, shows that the stats on sex offenders’ ethnicity is time and time again predominantly white. How then can anyone be justified in spreading fear mongering misinformation?

Groups such as the EDL or the East Anglian Patriots that marched through our streets last year argue that they are mistaken for being racist, thuggish rent-a-mob characters, when all they want to do is promote our great and glorious ‘Christian’ nation.

As everyone knows, Jesus Christ our saviour was originally from Nottinghamshire. Oh, no that’s Robin Hood.

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Nick Parker and the Anti-Racism group are to be congratulated too. They stated that they’d rather not be doing it, instead pointing out the real issues facing this country — namely poverty and its twisted roots — but they will always be there in the name of freedom.

No one, and I mean no one, has the right to dictate who believes in what. Islam is not to blame for terrorism, or domestic violence, or any other horrific crime. The Koran promotes love, peace and tolerance.

Anyone that fancies pointing out any of the outdated cultural references whilst defending the Bible should first check they’re not wearing mixed fibres or letting their ‘unclean’ wife into the house whilst she’s on her period.

Everyone has the right to free speech, including the far right; but if they genuinely want to promote their views, alleviate their fears and such, then we need free, open discussion. Two hundred people standing on their soapboxes, hiding their faces and shouting falsehoods and in some cases, promotion of violence, is no way to change society.

And if a secular society was really an appropriate option, who would be left?