Muslims have rubbished claims by a local Labour politician that they are offended by England's St George's flag.

A council in Somerset banned local residents from flying the national flag on Armistice Day, after a councillor sparked controversy by claiming it offended Muslims.

Eleanor Jackson said England's flag was tarnished by association with the Crusades, which happened nearly 1,000 years ago.

Jackson, a university lecturer, called for the flag to be banned from civic life in the town "for 20 years."

She told a local council meeting: "My big problem is that it is offensive to some Muslims, but even more so that it has been hijacked by the far right."

However a local Muslim group has said Jackson's claim has no basis in fact at all.

The Bristol Muslim Cultural Society said all the Labour councillor had done was gift a propaganda coup to extremist groups like the English Defence League (EDL).

Eleanor Jackson
Eleanor Jackson

Spokesman Rizwan Ahmed told IBTimes UK: "This will just add to the list of things Muslims are meant to be offended by, but in reality are not.

"It's the same with hot cross buns, christmas cards and christmas lights. Every time this happens, people get the wrong impression. The truth is people are not offended by it at all.

"This is a case where political correctness has gone way too far and common sense has gone out of the window.

"This stuff shapes peoples opinions on Muslims," warned Ahmed. "The likes of the EDL take things like this and use them for their own advantage."

He blamed poor dialogue between commnunities, saying: "For instance, a woman once came up to me at an event and said 'I never knew Muslims had a sense of humour.'"

As the storm on the St George's flag ban broke, senior EDL members took to social media sites urged followers to respond with protests.

Ahmed said: "The fact is Muslims do identify with England, like during the last world cup when cab drivers were flying the St George's flag."

Chairwoman of Radstock Town Council, Lesley Mansell, said: "We were presented a list of every flag we can fly as a local authority but the council agreed that we did not want to fly all of them and simply wanted to purchase our own Union Jack.

"The statement made by one councillor regarding the St George's flag was not really taken into consideration."