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BBC: Under the Skin of the English Defense League

English Defense League Protestor

English Defense League Protestor

When the anti-Muslim, pseudo-intellectual bloggers and their fellow travelers from America go to Europe they hob nob with groups such as this.

From the BBC,

Under the Skin of the English Defence League

One night in September I was invited along to a large disused warehouse in Luton for an English Defence League (EDL) “press conference”.

The windows of the warehouse had been boarded up. Fifteen men in balaclavas unfurled a swastika flag and proceeded to try to set it alight for the cameras.

The message – look we are not Nazis.

Protesters in Manchester

On Saturday members of EDL were on the streets of Manchester

The flag proved stubbornly, and embarrassingly, incombustible. While we waited for it to catch fire I spoke to the leader of the Luton division, a man calling himself Tommy Robinson – though that is not his real name.

The real Tommy Robinson was an infamous football hooligan with the MIGs, the Men In Gear firm associated with Luton Town Football Club.

According to this Tommy, EDL’s raison d’être is to take a stand against the rise of radical Islam on Britain’s streets. When you ask the rank and file though they will tell you they are just anti- Muslim.

Over the last five weeks I have got to know some of EDL’s main players.

So, who are they? Part of the problem with answering that question is they do not quite know themselves.

Youth wing

The organisation is about seven months old and only started gathering any kind of momentum after 10 Muslim extremists staged an anti-war demo at a Royal Anglian Regiment parade in Luton in March this year.

The big divisions are in Luton, Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff. They are a rag tag group of about 400 self-styled English patriots, loosely affiliated with football hooligan firms.

They have a female division and a youth division. The leader of the youth division is Joel, an 18-year-old who lives with his grandparents.

His father is Irish, his mother Afro-Caribbean and Joel grew up in multi-cultural Harrow, North London.

Police say that EDL members are becoming much more organised

He did not worry about Muslim extremism until he happened upon EDL’s website in April. Now he organises the youth division and sells EDL merchandise – adapted hoodies with a mask you can pull down over your face for demonstrations.

Joel admitted to me that he finds the cut and thrust of street demonstrations “exciting”. He also acknowledged that when there is a face-off between EDL and Muslim youths on the street “it plays into our hands”.

Joel denies that there is any militant undertone behind the balaclavas and black shirts, but as he talks you get the feeling he enjoys the drama of it all.

There is, of course, a difference between looking scary and being dangerous and one of the key questions being asked in the wake of recent demonstrations is, are EDL dangerous?

Threat of hijack

About a fortnight ago I was invited along to a pub near the Barbican in London. The leadership of EDL were meeting some potential sponsors.

One of them was an IT consultant working in the City. They were offering technical expertise to EDL.

During the conversation it was also let slip that someone purporting to be from the Ulster Defence Association had been in contact, interested in starting a branch in Northern Ireland.

This could be just bluster, but it raises a serious question – are EDL becoming a sort of lightning rod for other groups of people that are altogether more clever, and altogether more sinister.

Prof Matthew Goodwin is an expert on far right groups and advises the Home Office. According to him the group is at a crossroads.

Four hundred people that can be quickly mobilised online and will travel to demonstrations is seen as very useful resource.

Within the organisation a debate is under way about whether it should stay as a street based protest movement or something more organised and political.

The direction EDL takes next largely depends on who decides to try to hijack it.

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  • sir david

    I blame the Labour Govt for intoducing comprehencive education, the old school rightwing loons could spell and use greek and latin ( eg Mr E Powell) still bollocks but with more style.
    No surrender to hate .
    Check out the election results yesterday BNP hammered EVERY WHERE
    No Seats
    Few Votes
    Lost deposits
    Why dont you check out the facts sometime ?
    The UK reject facists every where

  • nat

    For the love of God M.A., use a full stop or a capital letter once in a while. You’re loony enough as it is, without the bad grammar compounding the craziness of your words.

  • M.A.

    things will certainly start changning in this country. i am part of the youth division we have been attacked many times by older and stronger oponents like the UAF and Jihad loving muslims. islam is a religion that wishes death to all non muslims and to thoose that will not convert to their way of life. this is exactly like hitlers way with the nazi’s they grow stronger by the day building more and more mosques. it is a stealth attack on the whole world all you have to do is read the facts and the muslim demographics to know that they are planning something big and have done since the first holy war. i do not fear a second holy war i am ready for it. more will join us when islam decides to make there move or when the media finally decides to choose us over a minority of brits. . whichever one it is england is ready soo is many other countries. we will stand up and we will never give in. . NO SURRENDER

  • Sir David

    As a patriotic Briton I hope that the EDL slink back into the hole they came from along with there BNP masters ,they can take Lenny with them.
    Check out who is running the EDL and their links to the BNP.
    Its not difficult there are lots of articles in the press . The News of the world a couple of weeks ago ,usually a very right wing rag and certainly not a left leaning paper in any way, ran a number of informative articles.

  • Lenny

    Those who think the EDL will fizzle out eventually are mistaken. Support for what they stand for is growing by the day.

    It suits the Islamists and the Stalinesque UAF to equate them with the BNP – they have nothing to do with them whatsoever. They are a group of ordinary British people, even some Muslims from every community, race and creed, who quite rightly feel their government is letting them down by appeasing a group of people whose religion commands them to hate everybody who is not Muslim, and these hate-filled people are against the democratic values this country stands for, but thanks to the liberalist, globalist, ineffective government we have, they are being given a free ride.

    It is not these fanatical Muslims who are victims, it is every single British person who is not allowed to say what they think about the insidious push of Islamification in this country, the formation of Sharia courts by stealth, the no go areas for non-Muslims. It is the ordinary decent Brits who can only watch as these fanatics put two fingers up at our way of life, and are given the green light by this government to use our freedom inspired laws against us – and if they dare to speak out, are branded as Islamophobes and racists.

    You who despise this fight back are free to do so, but when the Islamification of Britain takes place because you prevent people from speaking out – and those of you who do not want to be Muslims find yourselves in the ranks of the second class citizens (dhimmis), with less rights than Muslims and having to pay the jizya tax for the privilege of being despised, how will you feel then? Before there is an outcry of “Islmophobia” – save your breath. We are wise to the fact that this is being used by the likes of you to stifle dissent, and its currency is well and truly spent.

    Long may the EDL grow and prosper, for the sake of all patriotic British citizens.

    These Islamists are commanded by their religion to despise those who are not like them, and by fair means or foul, to stamp out everything this country stands for.

    Instead of branding the EDL a far right movement, people should start sitting up,taking notice of what it stands for and supporting it, and not listening to those who have a vested interest in destroying what thousands of years of tradition tolerance and freedom stand for.

  • Bertha Dicks

    The british anti-mosc defense protesters are rigth !

    And i f under them are a handful of fascist, is this also the work of false, bad educated , anti-marxist leftists and arab oil sucking “democrates”, – a result of post-stalinist flat brain east-antiwest polarized “anti-fascism”.

    – A man with lot of antifascist and marxist-leninist experience !

  • BritNet001

    Dear Yakoub
    to identify the EDL with any former movement is self deceptive. To write it off as ‘something that will fizzle out’ is foolhardy.

    You have one meagerly worthy point in your statement about Thatcher stealing the far rights wind. In saying this, you at least recognize the legitimate political struggle which the EDL represents. It CAN be made to fizzle out (to a degree) by the Police simply doing the right thing and enforcing the Public Order Act in a number of instances.
    1/ Westminster Muslim protest (Arrest all who displayed insulting signs)
    2/ Luton (the same) I understand 5 from the Luton protest have been arrested now.. plenty more to go though.
    3/ Arrest of Anjem Choudery and ALL of his cohorts for sedition, infringement of the POA and various other incitement offenses.

    4/ CHANGE British law such that the scum like Choudery can be stripped of citizenship and deported to a country like Pakistan or Bangladesh (never to return)
    5/ REMOVE Britain from the ‘UN Convention on Human Rights’ OR.. add exceptions which protect Britain from left wing manipulation on the issue of immigration and/or assylum seekers.
    6/ Stop granting permits for new mosques

    Do all that and the EDL will dissappear.
    It’s easy.

  • TYO

    What are values worth working for?
    -freedom of speech
    -freedom of religion
    -equality between men and women
    -equality among people of different sexual orientation
    -equality of people of different races
    -equality of people of different religions and atheism

    It doesn’t matter who the opponent is – white, non-white, christian or muslim. People of all races and all religions have prejudices. Who ever suppresses equality and freedom should be (non-violently) engaged. Not addressing all groups prejudices is a bit patronizing. And, no I am not white.

    I think this site does good work, but I wish you also would confront Muslim loons who misunderstand Islam that the non-Muslim loons talk about. That could take some steam out of the non-Muslim loons’ engines.

  • James

    A looney blog for the looney left)))

  • Pingback: It feels a bit like the 1970s again. Cha… « Talk Islam()

  • It feels like the 1970s again. Things are going to change in Britain – the pressure of climate change, the weariness of consumerism – a nation increasingly unhappy with itself. We had the NF boot boys back then, we’ve got the EDL now. But history doesn’t so much repeat itself as rhyme. In the UK, Thatcher’s politics stole the far-right’s wind while the old left impaled itself on its own stupidity, burying itself finally under the rubble of the falling Berlin Wall. Where things go from here, today, is far less clear. One thing seems likely – this time, it won’t be the politicians and city boys who define the new cultural ethos. Let’s just make sure it’s not the EDL and chums who get to shape Britain’s future.

  • Ustadh

    I predict that the EDL will fizzle out. This report says they are getting more organized, which may be the case, but they seem like something out of a monty python sketch.

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