A Saturday march through Bristol by the right-wing English Defence League has been cancelled, according to local media, though the EDL's Bristol Facebook page claims it will go ahead.

The EDL had planned to march in protest at plans to convert the former Jesters Comedy Club into a mosque. The group, which claims to be anti-racist but opposed to the "Islamisation" of Britain, is also protesting at what it sees as a failure by police to protect the city's children from "grooming" gangs, which it claims are predominantly Muslim.

Nine men have recently been arrested in the Bristol area as part of "Operation Brooke", Avon and Somerset police's ongoing investigation into child grooming in the city.

However, some locals are concerned that the EDL seems to be deliberately combining its protest against the new mosque with its protest against grooming gangs. The conflation in some people's minds of Islam and grooming gangs has recently proved toxic.

In July, disabled Iranian Bijan Ebrahimi, 44 was murdered and his body set on fire by Lee James and Stephen Norley, both 24, in nearby Brislington. According to local rumour, Ebrahimi was a paedophile - but the rumour was completely untrue.

On its Facebook page, the Bristol wing of the EDL carries a photograph of a man in the garb of a Crusader and the words: "England expects that every man will do his duty". On its message board, the administrator has written "Be there my lovers".

However local media claim the march has been cancelled as it clashes with several charity events being held in the city today.

Based in the Stokes Croft district, close to Telepathic Heights which witnessed riots in 2011, Jesters has been closed since January 2012. Since then a number of new bars and restaurants have opened in the area.

Now members of the local Assahaba Centre have submitted an application to turn the building - formerly a pub, church and cinema - into an Islamic Centre.

A spokesman for the Assahaba Centre said: "This proposal will enhance the listed building and the setting. It will enable the listed building to be brought back into use with the significant features of listed building retained. The building can accommodate the proposed new use and the building has formerly successfully been used as a place of worship."