Muslim group’s meal offer to far right protesters

Two rival groups gather to protest in Preston city centre about immigration
Two rival groups gather to protest in Preston city centre about immigration
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A MUSLIM group has offered to cook for members of the English Defence League in a bid to break down barriers after the far right group announced plans to stage a demonstration in Preston.

Members of Preston’s Light Foundation, which aims to break down barriers between communities, has called on members of the EDL to sit down and discuss their issues over a meal.

Photo: David Hurst Preston Light Foundation hold an interfaith dialogue at the Quaker Meeting House, St George's Road, Deepdale.Organisers of the meetings, Arfan Iqbal, left and Nadeem Ashfaq

Photo: David Hurst Preston Light Foundation hold an interfaith dialogue at the Quaker Meeting House, St George's Road, Deepdale.Organisers of the meetings, Arfan Iqbal, left and Nadeem Ashfaq

The move comes after The EDL revealed it is planning a demonstration in the city on February 20.

The far right group describes Preston as ‘another creeping Sharia city’ and references claims in national newspapers that parts of Preston are ‘no-go’ area for non-Muslims. The claims were dismissed at the time as ludicrous by police and faith groups in the city.

Nadeem Ashfaq, founder of The Light Foundation said: “We want to invite the EDL to a private meal just for a dignified and respectful chat.

“The police could also be asked to attend if they would like them to.

“The intention is to meet with the group’s leadership and assure them that Deepdale has no ‘no go areas’ and it is not a radicalised area.

“We want them to have a contact in the Muslim community.

“Hopefully if we can arrange this meeting before their march then we can get them to call it off.

“The meeting would be more of a meal, we would cook them some food and just have a friendly chat, hoping to break down some boundaries in the process.

“We wanted the EDL to be aware that we have been holding monthly meetings with people from different faiths to remove misconceptions and talk about issues across the world in detail.”

The EDL has responded to say it is considering the request and said the Light Foundation seemed an “admirable group” but wished all Muslims 
followed its “spirit and 
purpose”.

If the demonstration goes ahead it will be the second far right event in Preston in recent months after the North West Infidels held a protest in the city last October.

Police are in negotiations with the EDL over plans to hold the demo.