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Birmingham EDL rally keep away appeal as chiefs meet with leaders

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Home Office officials have visited the Black Country to hold talks with religious leaders ahead of an English Defence League rally being held in Birmingham tomorrow.

Mosques in the region have urged worshippers to stay away from the event.

Government officials held the talks at the Aisha Mosque in Walsall where a homemade bomb was discovered close to the building last month.

Mr Zia Ul-Haq, aged 60, who is spokesman for the mosque in Rutter Street, Caldmore, said: "I think community relations are good in the area, and it would be terrible if anybody spoiled that peaceful atmosphere. We must ignore their attempt to inflame the situation."

The congregation at Ahmadiyya Muslim mosques in Wolverhampton, Walsall, Blackheath and Birmingham have been advised during daily prayers to stay away from Birmingham during the event.

Mr Mohammed Yaseen Khan, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association of Wolverhampton, which runs the Bait-ul-Ata Mosque in Willenhall Road, said: "We are very law-abiding citizens but we do not want them to get involved in any lawlessness." The 60-year-old added: "We have also increased security because people are feeling sensitive and insecure."

Councillor Ahmadul Haque is a governor of the Jalalia Educational Institute, a centre for Islamic teaching in Tipton close to the Kanz-ul-Iman Muslim Welfare and Association Central Jamia Mosque in Binfield Street that was hit by a nail bomb blast last week. He lives in the area and represents it on Sandwell Council. Councillor Haque, 81, said: "This has shocked and upset many people but the general feeling is that those responsible came from outside the area."

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