Town 'defiant' over Islamic march
Wootton Bassett, famous for honouring dead soldiers returning from Afghanistan, has reacted defiantly to news that a controversial Islamic group is to march through its streets
A town famous for honouring dead British soldiers returning from Afghanistan reacted defiantly to news that a controversial Islamic group is to march through its streets.
Islam4UK - which calls itself a "platform" for extremist movement al-Muhajiroun - plans to parade through Wootton Bassett, in Wiltshire, in the coming weeks.
The group's website says the event is being held "not in memory of the occupying and merciless British military" but of the Muslims its says have been "murdered in the name of democracy and freedom".
Leader Anjem Choudary said the protest, involving 500 people, would be peaceful one, with "symbolic coffins" being carried to honour Muslim victims of the conflict.
But the walk will not coincide with the return of a dead soldier's body, added Mr Choudary, 42, a former lawyer from east London.
Hundreds of people line the market town's High Street every week to watch servicemen's bodies being driven through from RAF Lyneham.
Family and friends of the fallen, shopkeepers, and British Legion members wait in all weathers to pay silent tribute to a cortege of Union flag-draped coffins.
Ex-mayor and councillor Chris Wannell said today: "We don't do what we do at Wootton Bassett for any political reason at all, but to pay our respects to those who have given their lives for our freedom.
"We are a Christian country and a traditional old English market town who honour very much our Queen and country. We obey the law and pay respects to our servicemen who protect our freedom. If this man has any decency about him he will not hold a march through Wootton Bassett."