‘We will not cower’ says Euro MP after home targeted by EDL

Sajjad Karim MEP
Sajjad Karim MEP

North West MEP Sajjad Karim, whose home in the Ribble Valley was targeted by English Defence League members from Blackburn, has issued a statement about the incident in the European Parliament at Strasbourg.

Mr Karim feared for the safety of his family when a group of around 40 English Defence League protesters turned up outside his family home on Saturday afternoon.

Members of the far-right extremist group carrying anti Islam placards assembled in the road outside his house. They went into the garden and began banging on the door and window, shouting abuse.

The MEP was in the house with his wife, Zahida, and their two children, who understandably felt intimidated and frightened. The protesters remained outside the house for more than 20 minutes, but left shortly after the Police arrived.

Mr Karim is very worried about the effect on his family, particularly his children as his daughter was petrified. It follows incidents last year when his home had “BNP” daubed on it in graffiti.

He was inundated with offensive e-mails from BNP and far-right wing supporters over his stance on the labelling of halal and kosher meat, which was being debated by the European Commission.

Speaking out after the latest incident, Mr Karim said: “There is no doubt this is part of an orchestrated campaign against me. These incidents are escalating and now they have the gall to turn up outside my house.

“I am being specifically targeted by these extremists and the police are now taking these threats seriously and are providing necessary support to me and my family.”

Lancashire Police are continuing to investigate this incident and other EDL demonstrations in Lancashire on the same day which led to a number of arrests and one person being charged with violent disorder.

Worried about his family’s safety when he is away from home, Mr Karim delayed his latest visit to the European Parliament. Speaking in the full European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg, he stated: “Mr President, I have been prevented from being present in this chamber for the past two days due to the actions of racist violent extremists who as a mob of around 40 or so targeted my family home whilst we were present and carried out a spree of violent activity in my original home town.

“Were it not for the swift action of Lancashire police in carrying out arrests and bringing charges and their provision of security for my family I could not be present here now. Today I send a clear message to all violent extremists that we will not cower in the face of their intimidation and violence.

“Our vision for our countries and this union is very different to their division and hate – and collectively we will face them.”