A day after the behaviour of some Chelsea fans in Paris brought shame on the ‘Beautiful Game’, fans of Newcastle United have proven that not all fans of English football are racist.
The Newcastle United Fan Club today sent out message of unity protesting an anti-Islam rally set to take place in Newcastle later this month, declaring “We are black and white; we are United”.
The rally, scheduled for 28 February, is being organized by the UK branch of the German anti-Islam movement PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West) and follows similar rallies in cities such as Berlin and Dresden.
The proposed march will take place on the same day as Newcastle’s match against Aston Villa.
A statement on the NUFC website – titled ‘Not In Our City’ – warned that the celebratory atmosphere at the match would be replaced by bigotry and intolerance.
The statement added: “There is a fear that Newcastle United supporters who are of the Islamic faith or origin may be singled out for abuse by this group and we say that the authorities cannot allow any of our community, whatever their race, creed or religious belief to be treated in such a manner in our city on match day or any other day.
“As Supporters of Newcastle United we are asking what kind of message is such a rally sending to players such as Papiss Cissé, Mehdi Abeid, Cheik Tiote and Moussa Sissoko as well as to our wider Muslim community.
“What kind of message does it send to those who come to study in our colleges and universities, or who visit as tourists to wonder on the splendour of our heritage history?
“What message does it send to those who may be offered the opportunity in the future to come and work in a city that has prided itself on its warm welcome but will now be tarred with being a city that allowed itself to be associated with those of the German Far Right.
“Is this the message we want our city to be remembered by and tarnished with?”
A number of counter demonstrations – similar to those that were organized by against Pegida marches in Germany – are planned for Newcastle with firebrand MP George Galloway scheduled to participate.
Mr Galloway has called on the government to ban Pegida UK, describing them as “knuckle dragging thugs”.
Comedian Russell Brand is also scheduled to participate in a counter demonstration.
Pegida UK insists that it will hold a “peaceful” demonstration against what it calls “extremist” Islam.
In Germany, Pegida demonstrators have often been outnumbered by counter protestors whilst politicians, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, condemning the movement as “neo-fascist”.