BNP say graffiti is 'not us'

A BRITISH National Party spokesman has offered his "condolences" after a Muslim prayer hall was daubed with far-right graffiti.But the party has fallen short of apologising to owners of Shahjalal hall, in St Helen's Street, Ipswich, which had the initials BNP scrawled on its wall late on Sunday night.

A BRITISH National Party spokesman has offered his "condolences" after a Muslim prayer hall was daubed with far-right graffiti.

But the party has fallen short of apologising to owners of Shahjalal hall, in St Helen's Street, Ipswich, which had the initials BNP scrawled on its wall late on Sunday night.

The BNP's national spokesman, Dr Phill(CORR) Edwards, told the Evening Star today: "I can safely say that it wasn't the BNP. Our members don't do things like that.

"I can understand whoever did (the graffiti) must be feeling absolutely frustrated with all this multi-racialism and just doesn't know what to do."

He added: "I would offer my condolences to the owners."

The vandalism happened just hours after the end of a nearby conference to celebrate racial harmony on Sunday - the United Nations' international day of peace.

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It is one of the first signs of an extremist following in Ipswich since a secret meeting was held by the BNP in the town this summer.

Party members are now targeting Suffolk, where they see asylum as a core issue.

In recent years the party has softened its rhetoric in a bid to appeal to the electorate. But despite an apparent shift towards a more moderate stance, the same questionable roots remain.

Dr Edwards refers to a multi-cultural society as "an experiment gone wrong", and urged that all asylum seekers should be treated as criminals.

Referring to the graffiti on the Shahjalal hall, he said: "Folks who don't know what to do next do that. They are not going to sit around and watch this multi-racial experiment go wrong."

Dr Edwards added that the BNP is planning to hold more meetings in Ipswich.

"I think the BNP is growing at a rate of knots in that area," he said.

Mojlum(CORR) Khan, who prays at the hall, said: "This is not acceptable. The Muslim community is very peaceful and small. No one has provoked anyone.

"The place had just been decorated outside. For someone to come along and destroy this effort is quite frightening.

A spokesperson for Suffolk Police said: "Any reports of criminal damage with a racist nature would be taken very seriously."

The prayer hall also acts as a drop-in support centre for the local Bangladeshi community.

Police believe the vandalism took place between midnight on Sunday and 7am on Monday morning. Contact PC Sharon Haddock on 01473 613500.

N What do you think of this attack? What do you think of the BNP? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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