The FLA claims to be against all extremism but in recent months it has had far right speakers on its platforms, its marches have been promoted by far-right organisations and activists, and it has promoted Islamophobic events such as an intimidating march by far right extremists against the East London mosque in Tower Hamlets.
Far from opposing extremism, the FLA's closed Facebook page continually sees racist and Islamophobic posts, including vitriolic posts targeting the Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott in the wake of concerns she raised about the group. These posts were so severe that a major Veterans charity Walking With The Wounded pulled its support for the recent FLA demo in London on 7 October.
John Meighan, the FLA's founder, offered his support to Donald Trump in his recent retweeting of fascist Britain First tweets. In late December, Meighan posted an openly Islamophobic post on his Facebook page, with a picture of him holding a copy of former English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson’s book ‘Mohammed’s Koran: Why Muslims Kill for Islam’ with the phrase “Happy Christmas you filthy animals”.
Some attracted to the FLA may be concerned about terror attacks and may not be racist, but we believe that any FLA event in a multicultural city like Manchester can only promote division in our community and open the door to racist, Islamophobic and far right groups and ideas to grow.
We oppose the FLA event, oppose Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and all forms of racism, and support Stand Up To Racism's anti-racist mobilisation in Manchester to show opposition to the FLA.
Please sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/stand-up-to-racism-manchester-statement-against-the-football-lads-alliance-protest-in-manchester
Signatories so far include:
Kate Green MP; Andrew Gwynne MP; Barbara Keeley MP; Jo Platt MP; Jonathan Reynolds MP; Debbie Abrahams MP; Yvonne Fovargue MP; Afzal Khan MP; Yasmin Qureshi MP; Liz McInnes MP; James Frith MP; Mike Kane MP; Jeff Smith MP; Jim McMahon MP; Angela Rayner MP; John McDonnell MP, Shadow Chancellor.
Julie Ward MEP; Wajid Khan MEP.
Cllr Richard Leese;Cllr Bernard Priest;Cllr Rabnawaz Akbar;Cllr Azra Ali;Cllr Shaukat Ali;Cllr Chris Webb;Cllr David Ellison;Cllr Ahmed Ali;Cllr Yasmine Dar;Cllr Sue Murphy; Cllr Mary Watson; Cllr Bernard Stone;Cllr Joanne Green;Cllr Suzannah Reeves;Cllr Naeem Ul Hassan;Cllr John Hacking;Cllr Dave Rawson;Cllr Paula SadlerCllr Shaukat Ali;Cllr Rebecca MooreCllr Dzidra Noor;Cllr Suzanne Richards;Cllr Kelly Simcock;Cllr Chris Paul; Cllr Bev Craig;Cllr Joanna Midgley;Cllr Mary Monaghan;Cllr Mandie Shilton Godwin;Cllr John Hughes;Cllr Eddy Newman;Cllr Matt Strong;Cllr Mahadi Sharif Mahamed;Cllr Carl Ollerhead;Cllr John Farrell;Cllr Emily Rowles;Cllr Paula Appleby;Cllr Grace Fletcher-Hackwood;Cllr Hannah Priest;Cllr. Afia Kamal;Cllr Basat Sheikh; Cllr Abid Chohan;Cllr Emma V Taylor;Cllr Luthfur Rahman;Cllr Andrew Western, Leader of Trafford Labour Group;Cllr Aidan Williams, Trafford;Cllr Heather Fletcher, Salford City Council;Cllr Derek Antrobus, Salford City Council;Cllr Michele Barnes, Salford City Council;Cllr Julie Gunn, Blackburn & Darwen;Dan Hett, brother of a Manchester attack victim, and co-founder of Survivors Against Terror;Glyn Ford, ex-MEP, Member Labour Party International Committee;Dave Haslam, DJ/writer;Tony Walsh, Longfellow, Poet;Siema Iqbal & Farah Anwar-Baway (co-founders of AVOW);UNISON North West Region;GMB North West & Irish Region;PCS North West Region;UCU North West Regional Council;Trafford Trades Council;York City Unison Branch;Manchester and Salford National Union of Journalists;Show Racism the Red Card;Lynn Collins, North West TUC Regional Secretary;Jackie Harrison, Muslim-Jewish Forum executiveCarl Webb, CWU North West Regional Secretary;Mark Rowe, FBU North West Regional Secretary;Martin McMulkin, Unite the union North West Regional Chair;Paula Barker, UNISON North West Regional Convenor;Dan Lewis, CWU North West Regional Chair;Helen Tooley, FBU North West Regional Women’s Rep;Peter Billington, Secretary, Lancashire TUC;Karen Reissmann, Unison NEC (pc);Tony Wilson, Unison NEC (pc);Dawn Taylor, NEU Exec;Peter Middleman, Regional Secretary, NUT Section - NW Region - National Education Union; Kevan Nelson, UNISON, North West Regional Secretary; Neil Smith, Political Officer, GMB North West & Irish Region; Nik Barstow, Secretary Trafford TUC;Simon Murch, National Executive NUT-NEU;Steve Farley, PCS National Officer;Ben Clay, Branch Secretary of Burnage Labour Party;Rhetta Moran, RAPAR (Refugee Asylum Participatory Action Research)Trustee;Rachel Broady, Equality Officer, Manchester and Salford NUJKath Grant, Secretary, National Union of Journalists, Manchester & Salford BranchMohammed Shafiq, Ramadan Foundation;Ian Allinson, Chair, Unite Fujitsu NW branch;Dave Wilson, President Lancashire Association of Trades Councils;Janet Alder, Justice for Christopher Alder campaign;John Catterall, Vice Chair Greater Manchester Unite Community Branch;Samantha Nicholson-Hickling, President Oldham NEU (NUT Section);Evan Pritchard, Chair, Unite the Union Greater Manchester Community Branch;Dave Lowe, Senior Steward, Wigan Unison; Geoff Dexter, Co-founder LGBT Against Islamophobia;Colin Barker, Former secretary, Anti-Nazi League; former chair, Unite Against Fascism;Carol Cody, UCU NW Women's Equality Rep;Sarah Ensor, PCS workplace rep. IOPC Manchester (pc)Sian Bloor, Trafford NEU;Tom Machell, Prospect BECTU Sector CMD North of England Branch;Penny Hicks, convenor, Manchester Peoples' Assembly;Julia Simpkins, NEU(NUT) divisional secretary Bolton;Nick Wigmore National Education Union;Jason Schumann , European Forum for Ethnic Minorities;Azara Azam, Unison, RBMC, NBMC;Tom Jones, PCS IOPC Vice Chair;Craig Johnston, RMT Relief Regional Organiser - North;Karen Narramore Sec Blackburn & District TUC;Peter Dales, treasurer Blackburn & District TUC;John Pearson Sec Stockport United Against Austerity;Sandy Broadhurst, Chair of SUAA;Adnan Hussein (Drive for Justice);John Murphy President Blackburn & District TUC and Chair of BADUAR;Karen Narramore, Branch Secretary/Equalities Officer, Unison East Lancashire Health Branch.
A petition version of this statement for easy circulation can be found here: https://www.change.org/p/stand-up-to-racism-manchester-statement-against-the-football-lads-alliance-protest-in-manchester