Council Motions & Questions 22 Oct 2013


Proscription of the EDL

Motion moved by Cllr Karmani, Seconded by Cllr Ahmed

This Council acknowledges:

That the far right EDL is a conveyor belt for individuals to extreme right groups and movements that advocate direct action, terrorism and violence in the pursuance of their objectives.

This is reflected in many cases the most recent of which is that of a Loughborough teenager aged 16 currently on trial at the Old Bailey on charges of plotting a ‘Columbine’ style terror attack who attended English Defence League demonstrations and was a member of the far right group’s Leicester Division.

That there is extensive evidence of EDL members and participants in their activities who have been convicted of racially motivated hate crime, violence or who have glorified and incited violence against Muslims and other visible minorities; one of many cases is that of English Defence League member, Tracey Ann Davis, who was convicted in Bexley magistrates for racially abusing and launching an unprovoked attack on a Muslim woman who was wearing Islamic dress, another recent incident involved  six members of the far right extremist group, the North West Infidels (closely linked to EDL and who attend their events) who were jailed in September 2013 after appearing before Liverpool Crown Court for sentencing over a violent attack on a group of anti fascist musicians in a city bar

That the EDL is clearly a fascist and racist organisation that has become infiltrated and embedded with Neo-Nazis and far-right extremist elements as has been documented by a range of far right monitoring organisations such as Searchlight

The EDL also has links with extreme right organisations across Europe who have attended their demonstrations such as the Danish Defence League who are directly inspired by the ‘Breivik Manifesto’ and there is increasing extreme right violence being perpetrated by groups such as Golden Dawn in Greece.

That the EDL are no different to their counter organisation ‘Al Muhajiroun’ and it’s off shoots and reinventions like ‘Muslims against Crusades’ that were Proscribed in 2010 under the premise that it contained individuals who glorified terrorism and incited racial violence and was not conducive to the public good and community cohesion

The efforts of council and police in minimising any negative impact from the proposed demonstration on 12/10/13

That Police forces across the country have done an excellent job in policing, monitoring and controlling the actions of the EDL at their street protests across the UK; protests that have cost the tax payer and council tax payers at a time of austerity and cuts tens of millions of pounds in recent years.
That there are more than adequate grounds for proscribing the EDL under the Terrorism Act 2000 in particular a group can be banned if it “commits or participates in acts of terrorism, prepares for, promotes or encourages terrorism or is otherwise concerned in terrorism”.  Groups can also be outlawed if they “unlawfully glorify the commission or preparation of acts of terrorism”.Furthermore, the EDL have done irrevocable damage to community relations in the UK and have directly fuelled the reformation of a number of extreme right organisations who they have given a platform to on their street demonstrations.

This Council Resolves to:

Petition the Home Secretary Teresa May to proscribe the EDL and offshoot organisations immediately
Call on all District MP’s to support this measure
Ensure we have robust local monitoring of far-right extremist activity
Ensure we have local capacity to undertake extreme right counter-extremism work

Protecting Women’s Rights to Freedom of Expression

Proposed by: Cllr Collector, Seconded by: Cllr Khan

This Council Acknowledges:

Any attempt to ban women’s dress is an attack on their freedom of expression and should be expressly opposed on Human Rights grounds and Equal Opportunities
Similarly, the calls for a ban on the ‘Niqab’ is an attack on both women’s rights to self expression and their right to religious expression and observance
Failure to recognise and respect Muslims women’s rights to self expression and freedom of religion are discriminatory and Islamophobic
Irrespective of personal views on the Niqab, we must defend a women’s right to wear it if she freely chooses to do so
There is a growing Europe wide trend to ban Muslims women dress and that such actions should be strongly resisted in the UK where there is greater sense of tolerance and acceptance of differences
Publicly funded organisations that unilaterally decide to ban the Niqab or Hijab are in contravention of the Equalities Act
There is a lack of awareness of the implication and parameters of Muslims women’s dress in relation to employment and different vocational sectors that needs to be addressed through education and guidance
This council resolves:
To support Muslims women’s right to freedom of religious expression and dress
To oppose any future measures that may be brought in to curtail this right
To draft guidance in conjunction with local Muslim organisations in relation to Muslim women’s dress
To use the Equality act and Human rights act to challenge any local organisations that curtail and undermine the rights of Muslim women in relation to their freedom of expression

QUESTIONS (To be answered at council meeting)

Councillor Shabbir What immediate measures have Bradford Council put in place to ensure that there will not be a repeat of the tragic death of Hamzah Khan and that lessons are being learned and officials are being held to account for any failure in duty of care?

Councillor Ahmed Could the Leader give us the confidence that those officers responsible at senior levels are here and committed to the needs of our District and could he assure us that processes are in place to ensure senior officers declare any conflicts of interest in any activities and projects inside and outside the Bradford District that conflict with their role here in Bradford. Is the Leader confident that all these declarations have been made?

Councillor Shabbir In the light of recent cases in Oxford, Rochdale and Rotherham where it was highlighted that there was a culture amongst social workers and safeguarding officials of ignoring complaints made by victims and the family of victims as they were seen as unreliable, lacking objectivity and dysfunctional; can the Council assure the public that their complaints will be taken seriously and social workers will not impose their judgements over complainants especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds and BME groups?

QUESTIONS (To be answered after council meeting)

Councillor Karmani  A further cohort of young people have joined the ranks of the youth unemployed this Autumn as even more young people are unable to afford higher education and further education and are unable to secure employment due to an absence of local job opportunities; what measure are in place to address this urgent situation and are our measure likely to lead to long term sustainable employment for young people?

Councillor Collector The emerging night time economy on Great Horton Road and the anti-social behaviour that accompanies it has had an adverse impact on the quality of life of residents in the vicinity. Will the council commit to extra resources for wardens to work post 9pm to prevent such behaviour?