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Ipswich: Former EDL leader to address event on Holocaust Memorial Day

PUBLISHED: 15:14 22 January 2014 | UPDATED: 15:16 22 January 2014

Former EDL leader invited to address event in Ipswich for Holocaust Memorial Day

Former EDL leader invited to address event in Ipswich for Holocaust Memorial Day

Organisers of an event on Holocaust Memorial Day in Ipswich have been criticised for inviting Tommy Robinson, the former leader of the English Defence League, as a guest speaker.

The event on Monday, January 27, was originally planned to take place in conjunction with the Education Quarter Multi Faith Chaplaincy at Suffolk New College and University Campus Suffolk.

However the colleges have since disavowed themselves entirely from the talk and organiser JIMAS has decided to proceed independently.

Muhammad Manwar Ali of JIMAS, who is also a fellow of Suffolk New College and a member of the chaplaincy for SNC and UCS, said it would be a “solemn occasion” to mark the Holocaust.

It is not yet known where the event will take place. Other speakers will include Holocaust survivor Frank Bright; Pat Magee, who was convicted of planting the IRA’s Brighton Bomb; and Umme Thara, a former member of Al-Muhajiroun.

Mr Ali said the idea behind the talk was to get those involved to make a “clear cut commitment against anti-Semitism and any kind of hatred and genocide. We’ve all been on a journey and we want to give a powerful message from ex-radicals to say they’re rejecting it and say ‘never again’.

Unite Against Fascism (UAF) wrote to the college urging them to cancel the talk. Weyman Bennett, joint national secretary of UAF, said: “This is not a gathering to pay respect to the millions of Jewish people murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust. We call on the organisers to withdraw their invitation to the former EDL members.”

Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said: “Local Holocaust Memorial Day events are organised and led by local activity organisers, for local communities.

“The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust provides resources, support and guidance to help plan successful activity. We do not ‘approve’ events and do not tell local activity organisers what to do. However, we made it clear to organisers of this event that Mr Robinson’s presence may detract from the central messages of Holocaust Memorial Day. Ultimately, any decision to cancel the event is made by them.”

This is the last week that market traders will operate from Ipswich’s Cornhill for at least a year as work to rebuild the town centre is due to start.

Drivers are being warned they could face delays as roadworks begin at one of Ipswich’s busiest junctions this morning.

James Blunt and Plan B have joined this year’s Newmarket Nights line-up.

Police are at the scene of a crash on the A1071 near Hintlesham this evening.

A super slimmer from Colchester told she was a ticking time bomb at 32 stone is enjoying a new lease of life – after shedding half her body weight.

Police are appealing for witnesses after an elderly woman reported being robbed in Haverhill on Friday.

The body of a man found near Leavenheath this afternoon is believed to be that of missing Richard Hull, police have confirmed.

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