Grand Connaught Rooms Jihadist Conference: Event cancelled

This is a guest post from Hasan Afzal of Stand for Peace

After a successful campaign by Harry’s Place readers and others around the web, I am pleased to announce that the Jihadist conference that was suppose to take place on the 8th of July 2012 has been cancelled.

I would like to thank the many people who called the Grand Connaught Rooms (“GCR”) and who copied us into e-mails to their MPs and representatives. I’m also glad the GCR saw sense and did the right thing, even if they rejected our help in the initial stages.

Whilst many will be celebrating, I note with a degree of dejection, that far-right groups, including the English Defence League, had attempted to hijack this campaign. However, this was a victory for ordinary people, who stood firm against hatred and bigotry of all types.  Professionals, students, mums, dads all rallied around our call to action, and expressed their concerns to the GCR by email and phone.

Finally, here is my concern. Prominent centre-left organisations must treat the Islamist far-right in precisely the same way that we do the neo Nazi far-right. Silence encourages bigots who hate Muslims to  try and hijack such campaigns. “A plague on both of their houses”.

Nevertheless, it gives me hope that various progressive organisations to which we reached out in the past few days were supportive and offered their assistance. As a result, Stand for Peace was in a good position  to up the ante on the Grand Connaught Rooms. Thankfully that now won’t need to happen.

The far-right and Islamists have a symbiotic relationship. Despite their opposite rhetoric, both have similar views on Islam, minorities and wider society. Both rely on each other for bait.

I hope our campaign has shown that progressive, decent people can make a difference and won’t, under any circumstances, tolerate hate preachers.

Well done, folks.

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