EDL protest at Simonstone home of Euro MP Sajjad Karim

Sajjad KARIM, Mep
Sajjad KARIM, Mep

A BURNLEY Euro-MP and his family were left terrified last weekend after a group of protesters from the English Defence League targeted his Simonstone home.

Mr Sajjad Karim was so concerned for his family’s welfare following the incident on Saturday afternoon that he delayed his flight to the European Parliament in Stasbourg until he was confident the necessary security measures were in place.

A group of around 35 men and women from the right-wing organisation went into Mr Karim’s garden carrying placards and shouting abuse around 12-45 p.m.

The North-West MEP was in the house with his wife, Zahida, and daughter Rabia (8) when the incident happened.

The protesters demonstrated outside the property for around 20 minutes before they were moved on by police.

Mr Karim has also been sent offensive emails over his stance on halal and kosher meat.

“You can imagine what it feels like when you’ve got a huge mob of people carrying placards saying: ‘No to Islam,’ he said. “I was upstairs and my wife said there’s lots of people outside, it’s the EDL. There were lots of them. It was just the uncertainty of what they would do next. They were very intimidating and threatening in their behaviour. They were very hostile. They were gesturing for me to go outside and some of them were peering in the windows.

“My daughter was in one of the other lounges and she came out screaming. She was petrified. At that stage the police arrived and took control of the situation. If I had gone outside who’s to say what would’ve happened?”

Fellow MEP Mr Paul Nuttall condemned the actions of the EDL. He said: “It is just appalling behaviour.

“There is absolutely no place for extremist behaviour like this. People may disagree with others’ political views but this sort of activity is totally wrong and it cannot be tolerated.”

After the protest the right-wing group went on to Brierfield where they held a flash demonstration which saw four people arrested. One has since been charged with violent disorder.

The protest happened around 2-20 p.m. and police said “approximately 20 suspected members of the English Defence League” held the demonstration in Colne Road.

As a result, a number of Asian men gathered in the area, which eventually resulted in a confrontation.

Police were called to the scene and officers were able to separate the two groups. Nobody was injured during the disturbance.

A woman aged 45 from Freckleton, a man aged 33 from Preston, a 44-year-old man from Longridge, and a 47-year-old man from Chorley were arrested on suspicion of violent disorder.

A spokeswoman for Lancashire Constabulary said: “Police have been working closely with community leaders and we are satisfied that any tension caused by the presence of the EDL were quickly dissipated. Further work is ongoing to ensure members of the Brierfield public feel safe and reassured that police will thoroughly investigate the incident and bring to justice those that committed offences.

“The town’s neighbourhood policing team will continue to lead on reassurance activity and people are urged to contact them with concerns.”