Huge Muslim festival to celebrate Eid is cancelled due to escalating racial tensions following Brexit vote
- Up to 2,000 people were expected to gather in East Park, Southampton
- They were due to celebrate Eid - the end of the holy month of Ramadan
- Organisers British Bangladeshi Cultural Academy have cancelled the event
- Far-right groups threatened to hold protest in the city following Brexit vote
A large Muslim festival has been cancelled due to escalating racial tensions post Brexit.
Up to 2,000 people were expected to gather in East Park, Southampton, to celebrate Eid - the end of the holy month of Ramadan - today and tomorrow.
But organisers the British Bangladeshi Cultural Academy have cancelled the event after far-right groups threatened to hold a protest in the city following the EU referendum vote.
Up to 2,000 people were expected to gather in East Park, Southampton, to celebrate Eid - the end of the holy month of Ramadan - today and tomorrow (stock image of Eid prayers)
Although the demonstrations, which include a rival anti-racist and pro-refugee march, are not linked to the festival or planned for the same day, organisers believe it is 'for the good of all communities' to cancel it.
Members of the far-right Pie and Mash Squad, who describe themselves as 'a group of people who love Pie n Mash and Britain the way it used to be', along with a faction of the group called South Coast Resistance, say they will hold a demonstration in the city.
Posting on social media they encouraged demonstrators to 'join us to celebrate Brexit and an end to mass immigration'.
They have also put up posts saying 'no more refugees'.
A number of groups such as pro-refugee organisation Refugees Welcome and anti-facist group Southampton AntiFa held a counter-demonstration in the same area on Saturday.
Shere Sattar, chairman of the British Bangladesh Cultural Academy, said: 'We have considered the political situation and unrest in UK after leaving the EU, the rise of racist activity and comments around other cities around the country, and Pie and Mash deciding to visit Southampton.
A number of groups such as pro-refugee organisation Refugees Welcome and anti-facist group Southampton AntiFa held a counter-demonstration in the same area on Saturday (stock image)
'We the British Bangladeshi Cultural Academy with other organisations have decided that for the good for all communities in our city it would be best if we cancel the huge gathering in the city park for Eidul Fitre prayer.'
Mr Sattar added that although the gathering for Eid, which is held to mark the end of the Islamic Holy Month of fasting, has been cancelled, they hope to hold other events in Southampton later this year.
He said: 'We are positive that by September we are hoping all those activities would be at rest, so that we can continue with our normal lives and community activities without any interruptions.
'We urge everyone to be at their best in this unrestful time in the country. We all should contribute everything we can to keep our city and the community safe.'
Police have said they are aware of the demonstrations and had planned to ensure the events were peaceful.
The UK has seen a 57 per cent rise in race-hate crime following the referendum decision to leave the EU last week. Among the dozens of reported incidents are.
MUSLIM ACCOUNTANT ATTACKED WITH A CROWBAR WHILE ARTIST IS ABUSED OVER BURKA-THEMED ARTWORK
A young Muslim man was attacked with a crowbar and an artist was abused for her burka exhibit in two of the latest thought to be Brexit-related crimes.
Yasmeen Sabri was told to 'go back to Saudi Arabia' as she showed off her work at the Royal College of Art on Wednesday evening.
The 24-year-old woman, who is actually from Jordan, was shocked when a woman walked into the centre and started hurling racist abuse.
The artist's burka-inspired work called 'Walk a Mile in her Veil' was damaged in the fracas as guests looked on in horror.
Ms Sabri's work, which is for master's degree, invites people to try on the burka to see how they feel wearing the garment.
Shocked Yasmeen, who does not wear the veil herself and has lived in London for six years, told The Evening Standard: 'This lady just came in off the street and started insulting me.
'She was saying "you don't belong here, you don't belong in England"'.
Some of the guests tried to calm the woman down but she started shouting 'Arabs don't belong here, Arabs should leave the city.'
Security guards eventually took the woman to one side at the Kensington gallery but not before she had damaged part of the exhibit.
Police later arrested a 69-year-woman on suspicion of criminal damage and inciting racial hatred.
A 23-year-old Muslim man was driving his BMW when he was attacked in a separate incident he thinks is connected to Brexit.
Trainee accountant Adil Jamil was in Leyton when a crowbar-wielding man started swiping his car.
He was sat in traffic driving his friend back from a mosque when a man 'calmly' approached him.
Mr Jamil told the Standard: '[The man] looked at my face and for a split second I saw his eyes light up. He started to run straight at me.
'He was coming towards me brandishing this metal pole in the air in front of him, I knew I was in trouble.
The man smashed the car's windscreen before Mr Jamil was able to drive to safety.
But the attacker then allegedly went after a Somalian taxi driver whilst shouting racial abuse about Muslims.
The man was tackled by an off-duty security guard who was in the vehicle behind Mr Jamil.
Police were called to the scene and arrested a man in his mid-40s on suspicion of carrying an offensive weapon.
The scene at halal butchers Kashmir Meat and Poultry shop in Walsall after it was fire bombed on Monday
PENSIONERS FORCED TO EVACUATE DAY CENTRE OVER RACIAL THREATS
Meanwhile, vulnerable pensioners were forced to evacuate a day centre in Manchester after receiving threats of 'a backlash against the black community'.
More than 20 elderly people, some using wheelchairs, had to flee the Hulme-based African Caribbean Care Group after the menacing phone call on Wednesday afternoon.
Police are now investigating the call which was received by the centre's manager Dorothy Evans.
In the conversation, which was recorded by the charity's phone system, the caller makes the chilling threat to the city's black community and bizarrely links it to the unprovoked attack on a bus driver in Cheetham Hill on Monday afternoon.
Manager Ms Evans was stunned to receive the anonymous call telling her that people were going to get 'f***** up' as a result of the incident on the 135 First Bus service on Monday afternoon.
Ms Evans said she had no idea what they were talking about at first, yet feared there was an immediate risk to the people at the centre and began to move them out.