Scottish Muslims plan rally against Islamic State

Refugees cross into Turkey from Syria to escape fighting in the border town of Kobani. Picture: Getty
Refugees cross into Turkey from Syria to escape fighting in the border town of Kobani. Picture: Getty
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SCOTTISH Muslims are to ­stage an anti-Islamic State protest rally in Edinburgh condemning the group’s “heinous activities”, with thousands expected to ­attend.

The demonstration will take place on 2 November at The Mound in Edinburgh and is organised by the city’s Muslim community, who say it will be “open to members of all communities” who wish to voice their opposition to the barbaric acts of IS and condemn the murders of David Haines and Alan Henning.

Organised by award-
winning restaurateur Matin Khan, speakers confirmed for the day include Labour MPs Sheila Gilmore and David Hamilton, with more to be ­announced.

Khan is the owner of Itihaas restaurant in Dalkeith and the current Scottish Curry Chef of the Year, and says he was moved to organise the peace rally in an attempt to show that IS “do not in any way represent Islam”. He said: “The IS beheading of David Haines and Alan Henning and the posting of their actions on the internet is barbaric.

“There is a real strength of feeling in the Muslim community against IS. We are calling on the government to do more to block such images and ­content.

“We are also asking all Muslim parents and guardians to keep a vigilant eye on their young children and make sure they are safe and staying away from the fanatics or other ­extremist groups who would attempt to brainwash and 
radicalise young children.”

Khan said the peace rally will focus only on the single issue of IS, and those attending are asked not to encourage other topics or other religious or political issues.

A list of official placards has been compiled and include: “We hate IS”; “We condemn IS”; “We stand fast with the British government to condemn IS” and “We condemn the murder of ­David Haines & all other hostages”.

Edinburgh East Labour MP Sheila Gilmore said: “Many of my constituents are appalled by the atrocities perpetrated by ISIS, and the way they have treated those communities whose culture or religion they disagree with. I think it is ­important the voice of my 
constituents is heard on this.

“We need both ours and other governments throughout the world to act through all diplomatic and humanitarian means to bring peace to the region.”

Earlier this month, the Muslim Council of Scotland – which has a membership of more than 60 prominent Muslim ­organisations – the Islamic ­Society of Britain (Scotland) and Glasgow Central Mosque issued a joint statement condemning the terror group.

It read: “The Scottish Muslim community unequivocally condemns the barbaric actions of IS [formerly known as ISIS].

“We send our heartfelt 
sympathies to the families of those who have been killed at the murderous hands of IS – regardless of where they are from or what their religion.

“The actions of IS are against the teachings of Islam and therefore supporting or joining such an organisation is unacceptable.

“We urge all our young ­people in particular not to travel to Iraq or Syria to support or fight with IS. Their ­actions not only cause serious harm in those countries but also cause harm to their families here in Scotland and the wider Muslim community.”