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Ipswich: Islamic leader would not walk with EDL again

PUBLISHED: 09:58 14 June 2013

Manwar Ali, chief executive of Jimas

Manwar Ali, chief executive of Jimas

Archant

The leading Ipswich community leader who joined members of the EDL in a procession to the town's Cenotaph earlier this month said his move was "politically naive."

Earlier this month Manwar Ali, the chief executive of Islamic charity Jimas, and other Muslims joined a small group of far-right protesters who walked from the town centre to the Cenotaph in Christchurch Park to lay wreaths in memory of Drummer Lee Rigby who died in Woolwich.

The news of the walk travelled around the country, but did attract criticism from some Islamic and anti-fascist organisations.

Now Mr Ali has said he would not take part in a walk with the EDL again – but still felt it was right to try to open a dialogue with them.

He said: “When you look at what the leaders of the organisation say, and what the local people who came along feel they are different.

“In hindsight I would not do this again – but I do think it was right to show respect to Lee Rigby and his family.”

Mr Ali said he did not agree with troops being sent to Afghanistan or Iraq, but he accepted they were professionals doing their job and that they had been sent by democratically-elected governments.

And he still felt it was important to have a dialogue with anyone who accepted democratic and non-violent argument.

He said: “I would sit down with Nick Griffin if I felt we could achieve something. It is very important to talk about issues like this.”

Was it right for Manwar Ali to join the EDL in their walk to the Cenotaph? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk

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