EDL defeated… by a cup of tea
The Muslim community in York is being praised for its thoroughly English response to far-right extremism, after the English Defence League (EDL) was countered by the well-timed deployment of cups of tea at the weekend.
A handful of far-right extremists had gathered outside Bull Lane in York on Sunday to make their Islamophobic views plain. Their initial efforts featured a St George's Cross nailed to the mosque's fence.
Their anger quickly abated when Muslims emerged from inside the mosque offering them a cup of tea.
"An initially heated discussion found middle ground when someone sent over some cups of tea complete with tea tray and sugar bowl," one eyewitness wrote in a Facebook status.
Ann Czernik said she had been to an "inspiring event". She added: "After a while the EDL entered the mosque for more tea and a football match took place in true Dunkirk spirit. Only in England."
Imam Abib Salik explained that the local Muslim community was not prepared to put up with the usual recriminations after Drummer Lee Rigby's violent politically-motivated death in Woolwich five days ago.
"Rather than having this shouting match that you usually see between the EDL and Muslims, we thought why not approach people, invite them in for a cup of tea and have dialogue and speak to one another," he said.
"We ended up having a football game on the field. It was just all fun, joy and laughter."
Ismail Miah, president of York mosque, was quoted by the Guardian newspaper as saying: "Under the banner of Islam there are very different politics: democratic politics, the far right, left, central, all over. You can't target a whole community for what one or two people have done.
"What they've done in London is for their own reasons but there's no reasoning behind it from an Islamic point of view."
The episode marks the latest step in the widespread ridiculing of the EDL, which last month faced embarrassment after some members thought Brighton Pavilion is a mosque.