Mosque leaders meet government minister about Britain First group

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Eric Pickles Eric Pickles

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has praised Bradford’s Muslim community for how it has handled a number of visits from a far right group over the weekend.

Eric Pickles, a former leader of Bradford Council, and Stephen Williams, under secretary of state responsible for community cohesion, met with Zulfi Karim from the Council of Mosques and Bradford MP David Ward today.

The meeting was set up after Britain First visited 10 of the city’s mosques on Saturday, handing out army bibles and urging worshippers to convert to Christianity.

Mr Pickles said the government was taking the issue “very seriously” - and would be speaking to police about guidelines of security in places of worship.

Mr Ward said the ministers had been impressed with how communities have remained calm in the face of provocation. He said: “People haven’t risen to it and the people of Bradford ought to be really proud of how they reacted.

“Mr Pickles said the government would be looking at the legislation surrounding this sort of situation.”

Mr Karim said: “We were told that how the Bradford community has handled things since the visits has been exemplary. We didn’t react the way they expected us to react. I am satisfied they are taking this seriously. We hope if they do come back that the police take swift action.”

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