The leader of the English Defence League (EDL) has attempted to undermine a now-famous picture of him being confronted by a smiling Birmingham woman by accusing her of interrupting a minute’s silence for victims of terror attacks.
According to anti-extremist group Hope Not Hate, Ian Crossland responded to a Facebook post of the photo by claiming Saffiyah Khan had disrupted a minute’s silence for terror attack victims, adding “she’s lucky she’s got any teeth left”.
The dirty unwashed left wing scrubber was grinning because she managed to disrupt a demo. And the disrespectful witch chose the minute’s silence for the victims of the terror attack in Stockholm and Westminster. She’s lucky she got any teeth left.
This was echoed by a tweet sent by the EDL on Saturday.
When asked about the minute’s silence, Khan, who is half-Pakistani, half-Bosnian and was born in the UK, said she didn’t believe one was held during the demonstration in Birmingham on Saturday.
Speaking to the Victoria Derbyshire programme on Monday, she said: “People that know me would vouch for me and tell you that a minute’s silence held by either side, whether it be the EDL or the UAF, I would have happily respected [it].
“But the fact of the matter is, and the video evidence shows it as well, there wasn’t a minute’s silence while I was there.”
Video of the event does in fact show there was a minute’s silence, but Khan’s confusion may well be because EDL members nearby appeared to be talking throughout it.
Including Ian Crossland.
In this Ruptly video of the event at around the 29:20-29:40 mark, the speaker on stage can be heard announcing the beginning of the minute’s silence.
He says: “We’re going to start the minute’s silence. Please bow your heads... [inaudible] in remembrance of the five people that died in Stockholm... [inaudible] very, very seriously whose lives have been brought to an end.”
EDL stewards in orange vests can then be seen urging people to head towards the main stage and others, including one of the speakers, “Banksy”, can be heard and seen talking.
At 30:06, still during the silence, Crossland walks up to the group and appears to be communicating with a number of people.
The group of protestors, including Khan, then start chanting “Nazi scum off our streets” before the silence is over but it is unclear if they heard the announcement.
One anti-fascist protestor who was at the demonstration backed up this version of events.
Anita Faster told The Huffington Post UK: “I remember hearing a call for a minutes silence, which as a human being I was fully respected.
“I was, however, shocked to hear the far right members present continue to hurl abuse and profanities at our group. I also recall seeing one EDLer jump over one of their own marshals in an attempt to land a punch on the guy to my left.
“At no time would any of my comrades knowingly break a minutes silence in honour of the victims of terrorism, however I suspect that given the disgraceful behaviour and volume of the shouting coming from the members of the EDL, I doubt they were aware it had begun.”
Khan has become an overnight celebrity because of her confrontation with Crossland.
She said: “How is it that I’m smiling? Sometimes it’s more important to smile than to shout - and I did a fair bit of shouting, I’m under no delusion of that - but it’s a more powerful message a lot of the time.
“Facing people like this, it’s not something I want to do, I wish we lived in a place where we didn’t have vulnerable women put in these situations but always stand up to it.
“I have no fear of the EDL.
“It’s their own ideologies that are flawed, I can’t feel intimidated by a group of people who have opinions like that.”
One picture taken later shows Khan being led away by police, who told the MailOnline it was for her own safety.
Ian Crossland has been contacted for comment.