Two days after Lee Rigby's horrific killing, the scene was set for a small but significant piece of community rebuilding: a delegation from the Muslim Council of Britain was to add its own tribute to the mass of flowers at the scene of his death. Then, at brisk walk in the pouring rain, arrived the last person some might wish to see at such a time: Nick Griffin.

The BNP leader, flanked by a burly aide and an even burlier bodyguard, insisted he was there purely as a politician – Rigby's family comes from his north-west England European Parliament constituency – and to "pay my personal respects". But no sooner were the cameras rolling than Griffin launched into his well-worn patter about Britain's supposedly radicalised Muslim population and how its was ignored by "the liberal elite, politicians and mass media".

Fortunately, the MCB were delayed, the group's deputy general secretary, Shuja Shafi, laying his own flowers after Griffin had gone. Shafi was at pains to say, he was there purely to mourn "the loss of a bright young man, a father, a husband and a brother".

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