THE controversial Scottish Defence League arrived in East Renfrewshire to protest a proposal for a mosque at Eastwood High.
The protest took place on Saturday, a week earlier than planned, to “avoid a counter protest”.
An SDL spokesman said: “We have a good relationship with the police and as they agreed to facilitate our protest we decided we would show our appreciation by changing the date so they did not have to use their resources to police a counter demo.
“The protest passed without incident. Hopefully our protest will influences the councils decision on the 29th.”
West of Scotland MSP Stewart Maxwell commented: “The community is not opposed to a mosque in East Renfrewshire and objections to the recent plans are primarily due to the proposed location on the grounds of Eastwood High.
“East Renfrewshire can pride itself as a multicultural community that is both tolerant and welcoming. The SDL march is nothing but an opportunistic attempt to hijack a local planning issue to espouse their extreme views.”
One commentator wrote on The Extra’s Facebook page: “Protesters got no reaction whatsoever and rightly so. They didn’t last too long, after all it’s rude to stay where you are not wanted.”
The application will be decided at Wednesday’s council meeting.
Last week, we took to the streets to ask Extra readers: do you support the SDL’s right to protest?
Deen Raphael (21), from Newton Mearns, told The Extra: “The protest is quite antagonistic. No school should have a religious facility, it’s bound to spark animosity, but any protest or campaign should be from local people.”
Ian Livingston (36) disagreed, commenting: “It’s a free country. I don’t agree with the group but that’s democracy.”
Elaine Thomson (34) added: “There will most likely be a counter protest. I will be steering clear.”
Newton Mearns woman Nancy Walker (77) told The Extra: “The protest is designed to cause problems.
“As long as there’s enough room for parking, and the mosque doesn’t interfere with education, I don’t see why it should be an issue.”
Nigel Connor (50), also from Newton Mearns, said: “I fear the protest is racially motivated.
“I have no opinion for or against the mosque because I don’t live near enough to it, but neither do most of the members of the SDL I would imagine.”
What do you think? Send your letters to Gregor (email address above) and they could be used in next week’s paper.