A Tower Hamlets councillor has invited the leaders of Britain First to a “civic debate” after the group demonstrated outside East London Mosque twice in the last two weeks.
Cllr Oliur Rahman, leader of the Tower Hamlets Independent Group on the council, has called for the far-right nationalist party to be banned from protesting outside mosques or any places of worship.
But he said he would be happy to meet with the group for a “civic, political or theological debate”, offering them the opportunity to make their point of view known in a “civilised manner”.
Cllr Rahman told the East End Citizen: “Everybody has the right to protest and freedom of speech. But it’s not right for them to cause disturbance, say things that shouldn’t be said and try to divide the community.
“That’s why we’re saying: ‘If you want to talk about it let’s talk about it in a sensible and civilised way.’”
A demonstration of solidarity will be held tomorrow outside the East London Mosque after Friday prayers, and will include speeches from religious leaders of many different faiths.
A spokesperson for East London Mosque said: “We respect the solidarity from the demonstration tomorrow. It’s the natural way that the community is responding.”
The spokesperson said they were unaware about plans for a debate with Britain First, but added: “If they apologise then we are more than happy for them to come here and we will talk to them like human beings.”
Cllr Rahman added: “Our East End is proud of its history of diversity and record of fighting racism and bigotry in all its forms. We will stand up united for Tower Hamlets and to oppose those who seek to divide us.”