Lothians chef plans protest against IS

An award-winning Muslim chef is organising a rally to take a stand against extremist group Islamic State (IS).

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 9th October 2014, 12:45 pm
Shahnoor Chowdhury, left, and Matin Khan have organised the march. Picture: Scott Louden
Shahnoor Chowdhury, left, and Matin Khan have organised the march. Picture: Scott Louden

Matin Khan, who owns Itihaas in Dalkeith, decided to organise the protest with friend Shahnoor Chowdhury after being shown a brutal video of an IS beheading.

Now he wants people from all backgrounds across Edinburgh to come together on November 2 and march from The Mound in support of the UK Government’s air strikes against the militants.

Mr Khan – the current Scottish curry chef of the year – said the protest condemned the “heinous activities” of IS and called on Muslim parents to guard their children against extremist groups.

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The 44-year-old father-of-three, who lives in Dalkeith but is originally from Bangladesh, said he was aiming to secure the support of as many local people as possible, including from the city’s top mosques.

“I felt the need to do something, to give IS a message from Muslims around the world that what they are doing is totally barbaric, and we do not support it,” he said.

“We want to express our support for the British government. But this march is not just for the Muslims, it is for everybody.

“It is to make people aware and it is for everybody to condemn it. IS do not represent Muslims.”

The planned protest, which will take place from 3pm to 5pm and feature a number of “key speakers”, has already gained support from across the Muslim community and beyond.

Tasmeen Ali, from the Muslim Women’s Association of Edinburgh, said: “I would support it, if something like this did go ahead. But it’s about what you do in your everyday life to make people aware of what Islam actually is. It’s about creating more awareness.”

Ragbir Singh Landa, president of Edinburgh Sikhs, said: “If we are asked, we probably could get involved in this. There’s nothing wrong with supporting someone standing against something that’s not right.”

City councillor Jason Rust also gave his backing to the planned protest.

“It shows that people across all communities are seriously concerned about IS,” he said.

“I think bringing people together in a positive way to show the strength of feeling is a good thing.”

The brutal tactics of IS – which aims to establish a state ruled by Islamic law, or Sharia – have shocked the world, with the terrorist group responsible for a number of mass killings and abductions.

Most recently, it uploaded a video to social media showing the beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning.