The controversial Pegida group, an anti-Islamic group originating in Germany, is set to hold its first UK rally at the weekend. Newcastle city centre is their destination, on the same day Newcastle United take on Aston Villa at St James' Park. Here Bill Corcoran from NUFC Fans Utd explains why the group are unwelcome on the city's streets...
The purpose of this notice is to highlight the serious concerns many Newcastle United supporters have regarding the proposed Pediga anti-Islam rally being planned in our city on Saturday 28th February and the inevitable counter demonstration that will ensue.
The aim of the rally seems to be to protest against what Pediga perceive as an Islamification of Britain. We are voicing multiple concerns, but primarily they centre around the fact that this far right German movement have chosen the city of Newcastle upon Tyne; a city famous for its tolerance, integration and warmth of spirit to hold their rally and secondly the fact that the rally is planned for somewhere in the city centre on a match day, (when we entertain Aston Villa) and the possibility for conflict that it might bring to our wonderfully diverse and glorious city, when bigotry and intolerance may replace match day euphoria.
There is a fear that Newcastle United supporters who are of the Islamic faith or origin may be singled out for abuse by this group and we say that the authorities cannot allow any of our community, whatever their race, creed or religious belief to be treated in such a manner in our city on match day or any other day.
As supporters of Newcastle United we are asking: What kind of message is such a rally sending to players such as Papiss Cissé, Mehdi Abeid, Cheick Tiote and Moussa Sissoko, as well as to our wider Muslim community? What kind of message does it send to those who come to study in our colleges and universities? Or those who visit as tourists to wonder on the splendour of our heritage history? What message does it send to those who may be offered the opportunity in future to come and work in a city that has prided itself on its warm welcome? But will now be tarred with being a city that allowed itself to be associated with those of the German far right? Is this the message we want our city to be remembered by and tarnished with?
If your answer is NO then please join us in ensuring that as strong a message as possible is sent out by the widest section of our Tyneside community to say that this rally is unacceptable, uncalled for and not welcome on the streets of Newcastle.
With the support of all like-minded football supporters we hope we can all openly bring pressure to bear on the authorities and add to the pressure already being placed by other like-minded groups to refuse this group the oxygen of publicity, not least because of the nature of its being, but also because of the risk of conflict between football supporters on match day and those who wish to come to our city and besmirch its reputation.
Remember, we are black and white; we are UNITED.
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