BNP 'plays on fears' with anti-Islamic leaflets in Hornchurch
PUBLISHED: 15:43 29 January 2015 | UPDATED: 16:07 29 January 2015
British National Party (BNP) leafleting in the borough has been branded as "extremist" and "Islamaphobic".
The criticism comes after BNP supporters distributed more than 150 anti-Islamic leaflets to shoppers last week in High Street, Hornchurch.
The leaflet in question features a map of the UK with a lit bomb inscribed with the word “Islam” on top of it.
It also has a photograph of former politician Enoch Powell – famous for his anti-immigration Rivers of Blood speech – and reads “the BNP continues the legacy of Enoch Powell”.
Romford Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell said: “Britain is a fair society and people are free to do what they want within the law.
“But this is offensive and it’s creating divisions where they don’t exist – the BNP is playing on people’s fears. However, the vast majority of people living in Havering are decent people.”
The MP called the BNP move “irresponsible” and said the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris “didn’t represent Islam”.
The BNP leaflet reads: “We’ve said all along that mass immigration would lead to disaster, with Islamist terror the deadliest problem.”
It also says: “Yes to banning the niqab. Yes to ‘no more mosques’. Yes to protecting British people.”
Labour parliamentary candidate for Romford Sam Gould said: “I’m disgusted to see this extremist Islamaphobic material distributed in our community.
“In a week where we have all reflected on the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, we must remember that we can only defeat all forms of extremism by standing together and rejecting the politics of hate.”
However, the BNP’s London organiser Stephen Squire defended the leaflets and claimed the party was not made up of “racists” or “bigots”.
He said: “We don’t want Havering to become the next Newham or Redbridge – people are concerned – these are East End families that have been flushed out. People are concerned about Islam.
“We’re not extremists, we’re not far-right, these are valid arguments in our society and we’re offering people a choice.”
Havering Islamic Cultural Centre’s Farooq Uddin said in response to the flyers: “I have served in the British Army and we’re a part of the community. Of course these people will make problems and we can’t ignore it. We’re peaceful people and they’re just making a fuss. The government should take action – it’s all wrong.”