Extremist preacher Anjem Choudary has lent his support to a new Muslim protection group, the Islamic Emergency Defence, with an emergency phoneline to report Islamophobia.
The new organisation, which Choudary has promoted on his Twitter feed, ostensibly aims to combat Islamophobic abuse, saying "it should not be the case that Muslims are intimidated into pacifism, or adopt a silent approach in the hope that the problem will just ‘disappear’.
"Hooliganism, for want of a better word, is unfortunately, on our streets and Muslims are being systematically targeted with physical and verbal abuse."
It continues: "This does not mean that Muslims should become hooligans themselves or resort to mindless violence like the perpetrators; however, he should neither remain passive."
Good news with the launch today of the Islamic Emergency Defence, see http://t.co/YDSoZApJQr May Allah (SWT) help us all to fulfil our duty!— Anjem Choudary (@anjemchoudary) June 22, 2013
The group advises Muslims to avoid places of potential danger, including "places where members of the public are likely to be under the influence of alcohol and drugs." It advises Muslims to avoid leaving their homes at night and to travel in groups.
"If there is no need for you to be outside, whether you are male or female, avoid it. It will make you more vulnerable, and Islamically it is also disliked."
Several bloggers and campaigners expressed unease at Choudary's backing for the group, which seeks volunteers to organise Muslim communities to prevent Islamophobic attacks.
The group's initial's IED are seen by some as being deliberately inflammatory, the same acronym as "Improvised Explosive Device", bombs used by militants to kill soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The group denies any deliberate parallel.
Ex-Scotland Yard commander and terrorism expert John O’Connor told the Sun: “This is mocking Servicemen killed by IEDs. It shows their warped state of mind.”
Julie Siddiqui of the Islamic Society of Britain, and Labour MPs Sadiq Khan and Rushanara Ali have also criticised Choudary's backing of the group.Suggest a correction