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BNP's 'anti-mosque' meeting in New Addington flops

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FEWER than 50 people turned up to the BNP's "anti-mosque" meeting on Sunday, sending a clear message to the far-right group: "We don't want you in New Addington."

The meeting was scheduled in response to news the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – which is based in Shirley – was considering the estate for a new base.

But fewer than 50 people showed up at the meeting, which was moved from inside the Addington Community Association (ACA) after Croydon Council intervention.

BNP members Clifford Le May and John Clarke had claimed to have collected 2,000 signatures stating they did not want a mosque in the area.

Oliver Lewis, Labour councillor for New Addington, said the message from residents was clear. "For the second time in recent months, residents have rejected the divisional politics of the right. They are trying to divide and break up what is traditionally a tolerant community. They are driving a hate-filled agenda."

The council confirmed it had warned the ACA against holding the meeting because of its "political" nature, which the ACA said had led it to cancel the meeting.

A council spokesman said: "The licence does not permit them to rent the building for political meetings.

"We explained if the meeting went ahead it may be necessary to review the agreement."

Mr Clarke said the campaign would continue but admitted there were not as many people at the meeting as he had hoped.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has said it would only want a base in the east of the borough and does not understand the level of vitriol.

Mr Clarke reiterated why the BNP is against "any" base for the Al-Ahmadiyya Association in the estate, despite one in 20 people in New Addington and Fieldway being Muslim, according to the council.

He said: "There aren't the amount of Muslims in New Addington they are saying there is. We have looked up the Census figures and it's nowhere near.

"An Asian man told us he'd been beaten up outside the mosque and that they were bad news. I think he was Hindu."

BNP's 'anti-mosque' meeting in New Addington flops


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