HARROW politicians have issued a final appeal for calm as the community braces itself for one of its biggest challenges in decades.

Anti-Islam group Stop the Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) plans to commemorate the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks with a protest outside Harrow Central Mosque, in Station Road.

Members claim not to be racist but say Islamaphobia is “the height of common sense” and there are fears counter demonstrations by Unite Against Fascism could spark violent clashes.

Mosque leaders, who publicly denounce extremism of all kinds, say they feel targetted and worry the protest will disrupt the 200 to 300 people expected at Friday prayers.

In a joint statement Councillors David Ashton, Bill Stephenson and Chris Noyce, leaders of the Tory, Labour and Lib Dem groups, say Harrow does not tolerate extreme views, from people who want to justify violence or create division.

The statement reads: “We also know, and appreciate, that the Mosque is appealing to its congregation and all others to remain calm and show restraint whatever the provocation.

“The best outcome will be if we can all show a calm and united front.”

Cllr Stephenson added: “There's been nothing like this sort of thing before. When I first came to Harrow we had the National Front coming round with dogs, walking on front gardens and being quite aggressive but we fought that off.”

Tony McNulty, MP for Harrow East, said: “It's about solidarity. The overriding theme has been that if someone wants to attack any of our Harrow communities then they attack all our communities and we stand as one.

“For the uninitiated and the ignorant there's been a Muslim community in Harrow for 25 years.”

Councillor Susan Hall, responsible for environment and community safety, said: “It's essential that we support all the mosques and all our Muslim residents.

“We stand firmly with them whatever happens on Friday. The protesters have to learn that this is a united community and nobody but nobody will be able to change that.

“We speak with one voice and that is tolerance.”

The Harrow Times is standing shoulder to shoulder with the mosque community and would like to issue its own appeal for calm.