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Is the EDL Racist?

This is my first video based blog addressing the many lies that the EDL employ in attempting to deflect criticism and winning wider support. The most strenuously denied accusation is that they are a racist organisation. Whilst anti-Muslim bigotry uses near identical tactics of demonisation, dehumanising tropes and negative stereotypes to classic racism, the excuse that Muslims aren’t a race is too easily deployed as an obstacle in the path of the accuser. For this reason I have only included examples of pure racism in this video. I have also chosen not to include neo-Nazism which would by definition qualify as racist behaviour, as I plan on addressing this in a future blog.

It could be argued that racist language by individuals at 8 demos which have drawn up to 3,000 supporters over a period of 4 years isn’t conclusive proof that the EDL is a racist organisation. I would counter that by saying that leaders, organisers and stewards at demos are required to instruct attendees not to use racist language, which is an unusual request to make of adults in a non-racist organisation. It’s also worth noting that at no point in any of the clips does anybody challenge or question the use of racist language. I would also point out that cameras are not able to capture the words of every demonstrator at every march for the duration of the day.

To bolster my case I have included links below to screenshots taken of EDL members on social networking sites using explicitly racist language. This is just a small sample taken from their reaction to the riots of summer 2011 and the Stephen Lawrence trial.

Click images to enlarge

EDL Riots 2

EDL Riots

EDL Riots 3 EDL Riots 4 EDL Riots 5

EDL Riots 7 EDL Riots 8 EDL Riots 9

EDL Riots 10 EDL riots 11 EDL Riots 13

EDL Riots 14 EDL Riots 15 EDL Riots 16

EDL Riots 17

EDL Riots 18 EDL Riots 19 EDL Riots 6EDL Riots 20

EDL Riots 25

EDL Riots 22 
EDL Riots 23

Again, some EDL sympathisers may argue that this is only two dozen examples from a period of four years where the EDL’s social media pages have attracted up to 100,000 users. I would ask them, why do the EDL seem to attract a disproportionate amount of people who are comfortable using racist epithets and displaying open hostility to people on a purely ethnic basis?

To add a little more scientific weight to my case I will provide some telling results from polls in which EDL members and supporters were asked to answer direct questions.

demos.co.uk files Inside_the_edl_WEB.pdf 1320079341

As the table above shows, as part of the Demos ‘Inside the EDL’ study of 2011, the voting preference of 1,295 EDL supporters was measured. 34% of the participants expressed a preference for the racist BNP, which is 17 times higher than the general population, whilst 14% chose the xenophobic UKIP, which is nearly 5 times higher than the general public.

The slides below are taken from Matthew Goodwin’s ‘Men of Violence? The Drivers of Public Support for the EDL’ study which polled 1,666 members of the general public. 298 were classed as EDL sympathisers, 124 self identified as EDL members, and the remainder were considered neither.

Men of Violence  The Drivers of Public Support for the English Defe... (1)

The slide above shows that those sympathising with the EDL have a clear antipathy towards immigrants, multiculturalism and diversity.

Men of Violence  The Drivers of Public Support for the English Defe... (2)

This slide shows not only an inclination towards ethno-Nationalism but also biological racism. As the slide states, these figures point to a more openly racist inner core to the EDL with a xenophobic circle of sympathisers.

Men of Violence  The Drivers of Public Support for the English Defe...

Perhaps surprisingly, the above slide shows that the primary concern for EDL members and sympathisers is immigration and asylum, not Islam or even ‘militant’ Islam. At least a degree of proportion can be found within the rank of the EDL, as Muslims are beaten into third place by concerns over the economy. It’s not apparent whether concerns with immigration are based on fears regarding unemployment, welfare resources and the economy, or xenophobia and racism. But previous slides may provide an insight.

The next three slides illustrate the factors which are most likely to predict support for the EDL. The methodology is explained first.

Men of Violence  The Drivers of Public Support for the English Defe... (5)

Men of Violence  The Drivers of Public Support for the English Defe... (3)

As far as EDL sympathisers are concerned, by far the strongest indicator of support for the EDL is xenophobia, with an inclination to violence in second.

Men of Violence  The Drivers of Public Support for the English Defe... (4)

Not much needs to be added to the summary of the last slide. The key point worth re-iterating is that the EDL core membership is far more likely to be driven by classic racism and be pro-violence than not only the general public, but also the sympathiser. This would go some way to explaining why the more casual supporters are often oblivious to the extreme hardcore, and are confused by the accusations of racism. They may not actually spend a great deal of time socialising online or attend demos with the EDL, so are therefore less likely to have been exposed to the overt racism as the anti-EDL activist.

Is it possible to claim that the EDL is a racist organisation given the information I’ve presented here? The evidence would suggest that it attracts racists and xenophobes in numbers vastly disproportionate to the general public. It also suggests that the closer the individual identifies themselves with the EDL, the higher the probability is that they hold racist views. Add to this the fact that the leadership have a history of support for the BNP and it’s not surprising that they feel at ease doing this in EDL circles. The fact that the group’s raison d’etre is opposition to a religion practised predominantly by people of Asian, Middle Eastern and African origin provides the perfect cover for racists to be able to vent their hate with slightly amended terminology. Despite the disingenuous mission statement and lip service from the leadership, it’s undeniable that the EDL is riddled with racists and it isn’t a coincidence.

All screenshots used can be found in the link below.

http://twitpic.com/photos/EDLNewsXtra

Links to the full reports used are below.

http://www.slideshare.net/matthewgoodwin1/isdtapva2013

http://demos.co.uk/files/Inside_the_edl_WEB.pdf?1320079341

The Importance Of Checking Your Sources or Tommy Robinson Spreads Neo-Nazi Propaganda

One thing I’ve learnt in my relatively short time blogging and involvement in social network activism, is that the sources one uses, links to or cites, must be reputable, credible and as clean as a whistle. Any debate or argument can be lost in an instant if, in your haste, you provide a source that can be debunked or discredited. I, myself, have been guilty of this in the past, so I now ensure that I know exactly who and what I use to support my case. Their credentials, qualifications and body of work. Any political, religious or personal bias. Any history of controversy or skeletons in the cupboard. Any criticism, refutations or rebuttals. Using sources without doing your homework can leave you open to embarrassment and humiliation, your honesty, morality or integrity being questioned or forever being associated with unpleasant people with unpleasant views. In the cut-throat world of political activism these lapses will be seized upon and used against you at any and every opportunity.

In my experience there are two groups of people that persistently fall into this trap. There is the group that consider themselves to be serious activists, but due to the absurd or extreme nature of their position can only support their case with sources that range from the unreliable, to the dishonest, through to the most hateful, agenda driven bile imaginable. Then there are the eager but naive novices who in their haste to counter a point, discredit an opponent or rally a cause, will unknowingly endorse a source that exposes them to the consequences highlighted in the first paragraph.

In the context of anti-Islamophobia activism there is an unfortunately fine line between what is considered acceptable and unacceptable by the anti-Islam movement in their own propaganda. For politically strategic reasons, just about any accusation or smear can be levelled at the Muslim community using the time honoured techniques and tropes of demonising and dehumanising the ‘other’. But this can be a minefield for the inexperienced or lazy bigot.

The relatively new right wing bandwagon of Islamophobia has subtle but crucial differences to traditional far-right ideology and discourse. Muslims are accused of condoning and practising sexism, homophobia and anti-Semitism as instructed by the Qu’ran and practices of the Prophet Muhammad. The problem for the uneducated Islamophobe, or the younger generation of right wing ‘patriots’ and Nationalists is that their own movement is aligned to, and integrated with many individuals and groups who have traditionally espoused the aforementioned views that they must now appear to find abhorrent.

My attention was caught by a tweet posted on the EDL hashtag by mountforrest, who regularly links to far-right websites, which contained a YouTube video entitled ‘European Race Awakens: A Golden Dawn for Sweden’ (it has now been changed as can be seen below).

Anyone with the slightest knowledge of the concept of race or a passing familiarity with the various peoples of the European continent will immediately have spotted exactly what I did. There is no single ‘European race’. They might also have picked up on the unpleasant echoes of racial theory and Nordicism in the term. With my curiosity piqued I decided to give it a viewing.

This is when I noticed the people who had chosen to retweet (Twitter speak for sharing for the uninitiated) the short film.

In the Twittersphere retweets or RT’s can be interpreted in numerous ways. If unaccompanied by any additional text, elaboration or specific denunciations of said RT, it invariably implies an endorsement of the contents. It’s common practice to stipulate in your bio as to whether a retweet is to be considered an endorsement, especially if that person is in a position of responsibility such as politician, journalist or celebrity.

As can be seen from the screenshot, as well as EDL supporter QueenLareefer and prolific internet troll, racist, homophobe, Hitler worshipper and EDL supporter WeAreTheBrits, EDL leader and British Freedom Party deputy leader Tommy Robinson aka Stephen Yaxley Lennon has also retweeted this video.

The contents of this particular video was footage of what appeared to be two or three groups of Swedish nationalists parading with flags, chasing and attacking what seem to be counter demonstrators. It’s unclear whether these opposition groups are Antifascists, immigrant communities or both.

Despite being familiar with the numerous ‘counterjihad’ groups, various Defence Leagues and far right political parties across Europe, I realised that I didn’t recognise any of the flags or symbols being flown. They didn’t belong to the neo-fascist Swedish Democrats party, the Swedish Defence League, SIOE or any other group involved in anti-Muslim activism. I decided to do some digging to see if my instincts concerning the racist undercurrent of the theme were right. It took a while but this is what I found.

The two flags on display here belong to the Swedish Resistance Movement.

The video footage is poorly lit so here’s a photograph from their ‘Stop the Boer Genocide’ march.

The SMR is a militant Neo-Nazi organisation, who’s leader Klas Lund was a member of the White Aryan Resistance and has served time for manslaughter. The aims of Swedish Resistance Movement is to establish a Nordic government by revolution. The organization says their fight will require bloodshed.

Persons linked to the Swedish Resistance Movement have been involved in several acts of violence:

  • Armed robbery, Sollentuna 1997
  • Theft of weapons from the army in Strängnäs, September 1998
  • Assault and battery of persons of African descent, Stockholm April 1999
  • Assault and battery of homosexuals during Gay Pride in Stockholm, July 1999
  • Assault and battery of ethnic Swedes at Gröna Lund, Stockholm 1999
  • The murder of Björn Söderberg, Stockholm 1999
  • Manslaughter in Skogås new year -2000, Stockholm 1999
  • Three far left activists from the Socialist Justice Party and one conservative youth from the Moderate Youth League were seriously assaulted in Gothenburg 2008

The Swedish Security Service believes the SMR to be the biggest threat to Sweden’s national security.

The flag in the video still above is that of the Party of the Swedes.

They are a nationalist political party which was founded as the Peoples Front by members of the now defunct National Socialist Front.

The party describes its ideology as nationalism based on a biological ground. The political program states that:

1, Sweden should also in the future be Swedish: Only people who belong to the western genetic and cultural heritage, where the ethnic Swedes are included, should be Swedish citizens.

The flag being paraded by the marchers above is that of the aforementioned National Socialist Front.

It became a political party on 20 April 1999, the 110th birthday of Adolf Hitler. Whilst active the NSF demonstrated in Stockholm for the release of Holocaust denier Ernst ZündelThe party had as its main goals the abolition of democracy, the repatriation of immigrants, the implementation of scientific racism and cutting taxes for families with many genetically healthy children.

The flags in the above photo represent the Autonomous Nationalists &Workers Partiesfrom Germany, Poland, Czech Republic and Sweden.

Both groups are major players in Central European far-right extremism.

A high level of militancy is connected with the activities of autonomous nationalists (Menhorn 2008). The AN are a strategic concept, organization and subculture – all three terms are possible for the designation of this phenomenon.”

“The violent actions of right-wing extremist are traditionally propagated at international level. The cult of the American right-wing terrorist group The Order or the Anti-Antifa concept of German origin are examples. In East Central Europe is right-wing extremist violence very strong (Mudde 2005: 275). Various violent activities from other countries have inspired foreign activists in contemporary East and Central Europe, and even transnational participation in them can be seen.  Specific brutal forms of violence, mostly against people from Caucasus and Central Asia and against anti-Fascists, is typical of contemporary Russia, including video shots of executions or activities of racist gangs causing tens of victims. The “Russian Way” is a new popular term in the right-wing scene for the designation of violent struggle with terrorist means. The training by the Russian military veterans of post-Soviet conflicts is also propagated in several East Central European countries (of course not among the nationalists with strong anti-Russian
prejudices, as in Ukraine).”

A popular concept is also vigilantism by paramilitary groups, which is inspired by the Hungarian guard (MG). The main aim of the MG and similar groups in other countries (National Guard – NG and Protection corps of the Worker´s Party – OS DS) is not the direct use of violence (they are unarmed formations), but the public demonstration of force. The real goal is intimidating ethnic minorities (mostly Roma people), who are connected with crime in public discourse (it is influenced by racist prejudices strongly).

A new form of violent activity – mass riot in the problem localities – was presented in the Czech town Litvínov in quarter Janov in Autumn 2008. More than thousand activists (mostly autonomous nationalists and right-wing extremist football hooligans) attacked the police and tried to attack the Roma settlement (Albert 2009). Participants of this riot were not only Czechs, but also Slovaks and Germans. One year later the north Bohemian NS-activists supported the raid of the Slovak community in the Roma settlement in Šarišské Michalany in Slovakia (Nejvyšší správní soud 2010: 6).”

I was now curious to know who was responsible for uploading Nazi propaganda onto YouTube.

Clicking on the appropriately named fasciststateUK’s channel reveals a wallpaper adorned with an immediately recognisable moustachioed man.

A browse through the channel uncovers gems such as these:

As well as fawning tributes to Adolf Hitler, Rudolf Hess and Heinrich Himmler, there is Holocaust denial and revisionism, praise for the BNP and the National Front and videos laughably referring to ‘My Tram Experience’ racist Emma West as the ‘Mother of England’ and ‘England’s Joan of Arc.’ There are also similar videos to the Swedish example posted on twitter charting and celebrating the perceived rise of National Socialism in Greece, Ukraine, Croatia, Romania, Germany, Poland and France.

The channel also hosts seven broadcasts of the a ‘White Network’ radio show hosted by a woman by the name of Carolyn Yeager. The Anti Defamation League gives us the low-down on her.

Carolyn Yeager is a Texas-based neo-Nazi and Holocaust denier who runs her own Web site. The site is filled with racist and anti-Semitic material, as well as essays promoting motherhood and home-schooling.

From April through August 2007, Yeager was the Texas state leader of neo-Nazi American National Socialist Workers Party (ANSWP), a group that descended from the National Socialist Movement, the largest neo-Nazi group in the country. She also assumed the position of Assistant Editor at the ANSWP’s magazine, National Socialist, in July 2007.  In a 2007 profile inNational Socialist, she is quoted as praising Hitler, advocating the supremacy of the Aryan “race,” and claiming that the Jews’ “long-term plan is to drive us off the land and alienate us from our roots so that we will not fight.”  In August 2007, Yeager defected from the ANSWP, which has been inactive since its leader Bill White was imprisoned on charges of threatening and intimidating various perceived enemies.

By 2009, Yeager was writing for The Barnes Review, a Holocaust denial publication published by long-time anti-Semite Willis Carto. In the May/June 2009 issue of the magazine, Yeager co-authored an article, “Who Are the Traitors? Frank Talks Inside the Fuehrer’s Headquarters Revealed by Hitler Confidant Hermann Giesler.” She also authored the book “Auschwitz: The Underground Guided Tour; What the Tour Guides Don’t Tell You at Auschwitz-Birkenau, published by The Barnes Review.  In the book, Yeager claims that Auschwitz was not an extermination camp and that Nazi guards looked after the health of inmates.  Reputable scholars estimate that 1.1 million people, 90% of them Jewish, died at Auschwitz.

To summarise, Tommy Robinson, the leader of the English Defence League and deputy leader of the British Freedom Party, retweeted a video of Swedish Neo-Nazi groups attacking opposition activists. These groups variously promote white nationalism, eugenics, repatriation and violent revolution. Have carried out violent attacks on minority groups, attend paramilitary training camps and openly espouse anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, racist, anti-democratic views. The video itself was uploaded to a channel devoted to the promotion of Nazism, Holocaust revisionism, white power, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and glorifying Hitler.

This wouldn’t be the first time he has used questionable sources either. In an attempt to discredit extremism expert and esteemed academic Matthew Goodwin, he ‘inadvertently’ used an entry from the Metapedia website. Metapedia is pro white supremacist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, and glowingly praises Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. In his haste to smear Dr. Goodwin, Mr. Robinson quoted Metapedia live on BBC television and posted a link to them on twitter.

Since opening his twitter account, the EDL leader has committed faux pas after faux pas.

Inappropriate comments to underage girls.

Hilarious ‘jokes’.

Let’s just remind ourselves that this person is the deputy leader of the British Freedom Party, who claim to be central in orientation and harbour ambitions of electoral success.

All this information compels an anti-bigotry activist to make a decision on what to deduce and how to use it. It would be easy to use this to smear and discredit both the person, the organisation and the political party he represents. If I was a ruthless cynic, I could manipulate the situation to make it appear that the person involved was openly endorsing, encouraging and celebrating the rise of National Socialism in Europe. Indeed, some people reading this may feel the urge to use this blog post for that very purpose.

Should we give Tommy Robinson the benefit of the doubt and attribute this to being impulsive, politically naive and, well, not very bright? Or do we decide not to patronise him? After all, he has been appointed the deputy head of a legitimate political party. A person in such a position would surely be aware of the consequences of disseminating potentially controversial material. They would no doubt have received media coaching or have been briefed on the dangers of bringing the party into disrepute. Should we therefore assume that the BFP are happy for their deputy leader to spread neo-Nazi propaganda? Or would they consider him to be a liability? A tactless bigot ill equipped for the political arena? Has he been careless in navigating the far-right minefield where the divisions are so blurred, or are the true colours of the former BNP member finally being revealed?

Confronted with a similar situation with the roles reversed, how would Tommy Robinson react? Would he behave with integrity and exercise caution, or smell blood and go for the jugular? Given his attempted smearing of Matthew Goodwin on national television to name but one incident, I think it’s obvious what the answer is. The moral dilemma is whether to afford Robinson the same courtesy. Being seen to openly endorse violent neo-Nazi groups could be extremely damaging to a fledgeling political career and the already dubious reputation of the leader of a supposedly peaceful, non-racist protest group. That would be a terrible shame.

Muslims Against Crusades: My Position

I want to address a question that is persistently raised by pro EDL types and right wingers on twitter. Partly because I want to put the record straight, but also because it’s a valid question that I have found hard to articulate an answer to with satisfactory justifications thus far. The question is, why do self-confessed anti-fascist, anti-racists liberals only oppose the EDL and BNP, and not give their perennial nemesis Anjem Choudary and Muslims Against Crusades equal attention? The inference is that by not visibly and vociferously campaigning against MAC that we are somehow condoning and complicit in their words and deeds. Willfully acting as dhimmified useful idiots in the Islamification of the UK.

I have actually aired my uncomplimentary views on Choudary and his band of followers on a number of occasions, but I want to make a definitive and permanent statement. I have expressed my opinion that he is an agitator who doesn’t represent British Muslims, that he’s a publicity hungry pantomime villain that has the reactionary right dancing to his loony tunes. He’s simply a cartoonish caricature with a minuscule following who are best starved of the oxygen of publicity. I don’t share the outrage of the EDL when they call for sharia law, declare certain areas sharia controlled zones, announce plans for Islamic Emirates within the UK, claim that the flag of Islam will fly over Downing Street or that the Royal abode will become a mega mosque. I just can’t take their behaviour seriously, and while I can understand why people are offended, I have enough common sense to realise that these are laughably delusional statements that will never come to fruition. Even their more tasteless stunts such as, sending unsympathetic letters to bereaved families of British soldiers, planning protests for Wooton Bassett, holding a mock funeral for Bin Laden in London, burning poppies on Armistice Day and warning of potential terrorist attacks at the Royal Wedding, whilst despicable in varying degrees have a whiff of professional trolling rather than being a serious threat to society and a danger to the public.

Am I being too dismissive? Some might claim that in the grand scheme of things, much of my reasoning could also be applied to the EDL. After all, they don’t represent all white Britons, or all working class Brits. Compared to the national population their support is microscopic, and it could be argued that deprived of attention they would simply fade into obscurity. So why do people like myself choose to spend so much time and energy working against far right extremists but not their Islamic equivalent?

After much thought it’s still not crystal clear in my mind, but I’ll try to make sense of it whilst putting it into words. I think much of it is down to the fact that as a white Briton, I have a responsibility to make a statement which shows that the EDL don’t represent me. Not only this, but I have a duty to the Muslim citizens of this country who are every bit as British as I am, to show that as a multi-ethnic, culturally diverse nation, the persecution and demonising of minorities is not supported by the vast majority of  their compatriots. That as someone who is proud of the fact that this country is a colourful melting pot of races, faiths and cultures, I will not allow the divisive ideology of a far right group go unchallenged.

Using the same logic, rightly or wrongly, I feel maybe subconsciously that it’s therefore not my place to actively oppose the MAC in a similar way. That there might be a risk as a white non-Muslim of making the issue appear racial or Islamophobic, rather than an anti-extremism stance. Maybe I need to be less PC, after all the MAC’s actions are damaging to the image of the wider Muslim population and provide the ammunition for the EDL to whip up more hysteria. But deep down I probably feel the people best positioned to counter the MAC are British Muslims. The problem with this, is that it implies we require Muslims to distance themselves from people that we should have the perceptiveness to realise don’t represent them in any way. I personally don’t expect British Muslims to make public statements denouncing Anjem Choudary just to allay the suspicion of  paranoid bigots. Why should they? I’ve covered this issue in a previous post here. The claim that moderate Muslims never speak out against extremists is tediously commonplace in right wing rhetoric, and as I’ve proven is totally false. Frustratingly, the media gives more air time & column inches to Anjem Choudary than anyone representative of the British Muslim community. Radical Muslims make headlines and generate debate, Muslims being uncontroversial and law abiding just isn’t news. There is ample evidence available just a google search away, of individuals and Muslim groups speaking out against Choudary’s various organisations, but it’s telling that those making the claims choose not to investigate this possibility. This is a subject I plan on giving more attention to in a future post.

Another reason I tend to ignore MAC is due to the fact that there is a wider picture pertaining to their history, and a widely held suspicion that there is more to their continued existence than meets the eye. This may sound slightly cryptic and conspiratorial, and I will be elaborating on this in an up and coming article also. But I’ll just say that focusing time and energy on Choudary and his henchmen is probably a distraction of massive proportions and futility, and exactly what certain quarters want. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not suggesting they pose no potential risk at all. Al-Muhajiroun under Omar Bakri saw an estimated 16 members or affiliates commit or conspire to commit terroristic acts during their existence. Choudary was second in command until Bakri’s enforced exile and their disbanding, before he formed the now proscribed Islam4UK. The ideology and, it’s reasonable to assume, many of the members remain to this day, along with newer recruits under the guise of MAC. But they lack the sinister aura of the Hamza/Bakri days, and seem to act as more of a propaganda and self publicity operation today. That such a media friendly extremist would be able to conduct affairs so blatantly and publicly without being monitored very closely is unthinkable and highly improbable. The most sensible course of action for the public and media to follow as far as MAC are concerned in my opinion, is to pay them no attention, and let the relevant agencies do their jobs.

It’s no surprise that the nationalist, xenophobic, immigrant hostile EDL are so easily provoked by a group of Muslims espousing anti-Western, anti-Monarchy and anti-Forces views, it’s as predictable as it is depressing. But it’s their choice and their right to oppose them. When it becomes obvious that the EDL or anyone else are using the MAC’s behaviour to target an entire community with unwarranted abuse and hostility, which has inevitably escalated into violent attacks, vandalism and vile dehumanising rhetoric on a par with Nazi era anti-Semitism, I choose to oppose them. I have different priorities. We are witnessing the development of a destructive and dangerous ideology, the Islamophobic Eurabia conspiracy theory, that is enjoying a worryingly widespread mainstream acceptance and has produced it’s first major terrorist atrocity in Norway. It’s the latest period in our shameful history of demonising and persecuting minorities in the ‘Christian West’, and poses a far more destructive and corrosive threat to peace and harmony in our communities than a handful of religious zealots with little support or influence.

So that’s my official stance on Muslims Against Crusades. I find much of what they do distasteful, but ultimately pointless. I don’t take them seriously enough to make me angry. Rather, I focus my attention on what I feel is the more serious issue and urgent cause, right wing extremism, neo-fascism, racism and bigotry. I make no apologies for this and am comfortable with my choice.

Anders Breivik: An Escalation not an Exception (The Terrorists Next Door)

Anders Behring Breivik - Killed 77

In a continuation of a theme I have been exploring recently, I’m going to be posting again on the need to re-examine and change our perception of what constitutes terrorism and terrorists. I also want to give further exposure to the frequency of Islamophobic incidents in the West. In doing so it should become obvious that the atrocity perpetrated by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway last week isn’t a one off, and didn’t come out of the blue. Far right and Islamophobic terrorism have been taking place on our doorstep for decades, but I bet you’d struggle to think of five incidents off the top of your head. Ask anyone about terrorism in Britain and they’ll reel off IRA bombings in London, Guilford, Brighton, Birmigham and Manchester, the 7/7 attacks on London, the Locherbie disaster and possibly the Iranian Embassy Siege. After that it gets a bit more taxing. Unless we see passenger planes falling from the sky or the aftermath of suicide bombings, it’s just not terrorism is it? Let’s look at a selection of definitions.

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged

The systematic use of violence and intimidation to achieve some goal.

David Copeland (London Nail Bomber) - Killed 3, Injured 139.

Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. US Department of Defense 2005.

The calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.

Terence Gavan BNP


The Terrorism Act 2000.

(1) In this Act “terrorism” means the use or threat of action where-

(a) the action falls within subsection (2),

(b) the use or threat is designed to influence the government [or an international governmental organisation] or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and

(c) the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious [, racial] or ideological cause.

(2) Action falls within this subsection if it-

(a) involves serious violence against a person,

(b) involves serious damage to property,

(c) endangers a person’s life, other than that of the person committing the action,

(d) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or

(e) is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.

(3) The use or threat of action falling within subsection (2) which involves the use of firearms or explosives is terrorism whether or not subsection (1)(b) is satisfied.

Tony Lecomber (BNP)


Critical reflections on definitions, causes and media-views on terrorism and anti-terrorism measures – Prof. Dr. P. Hebberecht 

In the many definitions we have, we could identify some characteristics that occur more or less in each definition: (threat of) violent actions, political, ideological or religious motives, actions to influence the behaviour (of civilians or dissidents) or decisions (of the government) by spreading fear with mostly a civilian target. Civilians as well as nations can commit these violent actions.

So, in summary terrorism could be defined as the use of, or the threat of unlawful violence against a person or damage to a property, with the intention of intimidating or coercing a government or society, for political, religious, racial or ideological goals. With that in mind I’ll list just a small percentage of far right and Islamophobic attacks of a terroristic nature.

Neil Lewington (BNP)

United Kingdom – Damage or threats to Property

18/06/11 – VariousRace-hate parcels containing fake anthrax have been sent to five mosques. Far-right extremists have been blamed for sending the packages, one of which contained an “offensive drawing and words about the Prophet Muhammad”.

22/04/11 – High Wycombe – Vandals have attacked 20 Muslim graves at a cemetery in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

12/01/11 – Hemel Hemsted – A MOSQUE was left with around a dozen windows damaged after it was targeted in a racially-motivated attack.

22/09/10 – Cambridge – A severed pig’s head has been left outside a mosque in Cambridge – triggering alarm among the city’s Muslims.

25/06/10 – Scunthorpe – Scunthorpe’s Muslim community leaders have expressed their outrage after 11 Muslim graves in Brumby Cemetery were vandalised for the second time in 21 months and the third time in four years.

21/05/10 – Paisley – A FRIGHTENING attack by a gang of hooded thugs on an Islamic centre was last night being treated by police as racist.

16/0/10 – Eccles – Vandals carried out two attacks in one night on a mosque. They were captured on camera as they removed fencing and threw bricks through the windows. The vandalism is the latest in a spate of racially-motivated attacks on the premises in Liverpool Road, Eccles.

22/03/10 – Leeds – Nineteen gravestones have been vandalised in a section of a Leeds cemetery used by Muslims.

29/12/09 – Cradley Heath – CRADLEY Heath’s Muslim community is appealing for help after its mosque was burnt to the ground by arsonists. A fire engulfed the Cradley Heath Mosque and Islamic Centre in Plant Street on Boxing Day.  It is the second time in five years that the building has been targeted by arsonists.

28/11/09 – Manchester – Vandals have targeted Muslim graves at a south Manchester cemetery for the third time in two months. More than 20 headstones at the Southern Cemetery on Barlow Moor Road were pushed over in what police are treating as a racially-motivated attack.

18/10/09 – Sunderland – A 53-year-old man has been charged after petrol was thrown at the doorway of a mosque in Wearside. The man, from Peterborough, is due before magistrates on Monday charged with attempted arson with intent to endanger life with racial aggravation.

03/07/09 – Glasgow – A man who threatened to blow up Glasgow Central Mosque has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment. Neil MacGregor also threatened to kill a Muslim a day until all mosques in Scotland were closed. The court heard that the e-mail read: “I’m a proud racist and National Front member.

18/06/09 – Greenwich – A brave caretaker was hurt as he risked his life to save a mosque torched by arsonists in the second petrol bomb attack in a week.

06/05/09 – Bishop’s Stortford – Bishop’s Stortford’s Muslims are living in “distress, fear and isolation” after their mosque was attacked by hammer-wielding thugs who abused and intimidated their religious leader.

09/05/09 – Luton – Police sought to calm fears yesterday that a suspected arson attack on an Islamic ­centre in Luton was revenge for the picketing of homecoming British troops by Muslim extremists in March.

17/12/08 – Southend – A MUSLIM leader fears for the safety of his family, after attacks on a mosque and his flat next door. The gang of teenagers have repeatedly targeted the Essex Jamme Masjid mosque, in Chelmsford Avenue, Southend. Teenagers also smashed the front door windows at his home.

15/08/08 – Scunthorpe – The Mayor of North Lincolnshire today branded the desecration of more than 20 Muslim graves as devastating. The gravestones have been vandalised in two separate areas of Brumby cemetery, and nearly 10 of the damaged graves were of children and babies.

27/0/07 – Nottingham – Nottingham police are reassuring the Muslim community after a serious fire was started at Madni Masjid Mosque on Alberta Terrace in Forest Fields, on April 5.

25/05/07 – Preston – A Preston mosque at the centre of a planning row has been hit by a series of vandal attacks. Windows at the Masjid-e-Salaam mosque in Fulwood have been smashed three times in the past six weeks.

13/03/07 – Stirling – THUGS threw bottles of Buckfast through the windows of a mosque while worshippers prayed inside, it emerged yesterday. About 30 people were inside the mosque at the time. Three men in their early 20s were seen running away.

29/09/06 – Newport – A pig’s head was found dumped outside a mosque in south Wales hours before the holy festival of Ramadan began, police have said.

01/03/06 – Enfield – The discovery of a bloody pig’s head impaled on railings outside Ponders End mosque has sent shock waves through the community.

07/01/06 – Birmingham – A mosque has been burgled and then deliberately set on fire.

19/11/05 – Chester – An arson attack at a mosque in Chester could have been racially motivated, police have said.

11/03/05 – Worthing – A VICAR’S adopted son has been found guilty of burgling and setting fire to a Worthing mosque.

19/03/04 – London – On the morning of Thursday 18th March, at least 40 Muslim graves were found to have been desecrated at Charlton cemetery in Plumstead, South East London.

02/05/03 – Reading – Jame Mosque in Reading was attacked in the early hours of Friday morning in the latest Islamophobic incident to afflict the country’s 1.6 million Muslim community.

14/11/01 – Belfast – Bricks have been thrown at the mosque in south Belfast. The attack came as some in the Irish Republic’s 15,000 strong Muslim community expressed concern about a possible backlash against them following Tuesday’s terror attacks in the US.

United Kingdom – Violence or threats against a person

10/11/09 – London – Youths have attacked a man outside a mosque in the same London suburb where an OAP was allegedly murdered by youths as he left a mosque. He suffered head injuries in what police describe as a racial attack.

31/08/09 – London – 67-year-old man of Indian origin died succumbing to his injuries, a week after a shocking race attack by a gang of schoolboys outside a mosque in south London. The attack took place when Kolkata-born Ekram ul Haque returning from a local mosque on August 31 was battered to the ground in front of his five-year-old grand-daughter.

13/08/07 – London – A Muslim cleric is in a serious condition in hospital after being attacked in a London mosque. He suffered heavy blood loss, damage to both eyes, and had to undergo emergency surgery, a Muslim Council of Britain spokesman said.

03/11/06 – Preston – Gangs of white youths threw stones at a mosque and an Asian boy was stabbed in “racially motivated” street violence, police have said. Muslims praying heard stones hitting their cars outside the Jamia Masjid mosque in Preston, Lancashire.

11/07/06 – Rhyl – A mosque has had to close after an 29-year-old assistant imam was attacked after being racially abused on his way to morning prayers.

13/02/08 – Edinburgh – A 32-year-old woman who stabbed an Asian teenager she called a terrorist has been jailed for six years.

13/07/11 – Fife – A Fife drug addict who assaulted a Muslim woman by pulling a burka from her head has been sent to jail.

15/07/11 – Kilmarnock – The 71-year-old Asian man was discovered with serious facial injuries around 0130 hrs on Friday 15 July 2011 outside the Community Mosque in Hill Street, Kilmarnock.

05/07/11 – Dagenham – an attack on two Muslim bystanders during an anti-Muslim march in Dagenham by the far-right group, the English Defence LeagueSix of the EDL members then launched a violent attack on the two men, throwing them to the ground where they were kicked and punched repeatedly. Both men sustained multiple injuries and one of the victims was hospitalised.

16/05/11 – Hull – DOZENS of police officers had to be drafted into the city centre when a flash protest was organised by a far-right group. The second was in Spring Bank, when a man in his 30s was detained after an attack on a car full of Asian men.

06/05/11 – Lincoln – Daniel Odling, 26, is on trial accused of religiously aggravated threatening behaviour, alongside a 17-year-old man charged with assaulting PC Rizwaan Chothia, again religiously motivated. EDL member.

21/04/11 – North Cheam – A gang of schoolgirls attacked a Muslim woman after mocking her for wearing a headscarf. One of the girls kicked her, before she crossed the road in an attempt to get away. The girls caught up with the victim, kicked her again, and during a struggle to remove the victim’s headscarf, kicked her again after she fell to the ground.

13/04/11 – London – An Iranian Muslim girl has reportedly come under attack in Britain after refusing to remove her hijab amid a new wave of Islamophobia in Western countries. Zahra sustained facial injuries in the encounter, which is not the first act of violence against a Muslim in Europe.

06/04/11 – Redbridge – The first thing Abdul Wahab heard, he says, was the shouting. “Muslim bastards; Paki bastards.”  One brick, Abdul says, struck the imam, who was also injured by flying glass. He had to go to hospital. By then at least, the terror was over and the assailants were gone.

10/05/09 – Ranby Prison– A bomb made by jail inmates to blow up Muslim prisoners came within moments of exploding outside a prayer meeting. The device, made with fireworks and detonators smuggled in with a fishing rod, was put in a room where worshippers wash their hands and feet for Friday prayers. A prison source said: “This could have caused a bloodbath. It was only because of a vigilant officer that the bomb was carried away. When the bomb squad got to the jail they went mad as it could have gone off at any time.”


United Kingdom – Far Right Terrorists

Robert Cottage: former BNP candidate. The police claimed to have recovered chemical components which could be used to make explosives. They believe it is the largest haul ever discovered in someone’s home in England.

David John Copeland: is a former member of the British National Party and the National Socialist Movement, who became known as the “London Nail Bomber” after a 13-day bombing campaign in April 1999 aimed at London’s black, Bangladeshi and gay communities. 3 dead, 139 injured.

Tony Lecomber: was convicted and imprisoned for three years for five offences under the Explosives Act after he tried to blow up the offices of a political party. Police found hand grenades and detonators at his home. Despite this the BNP kept him on its payroll for over ten years.

Allen Boyce and Terry Collins: In July 2006 Allen Boyce, a BNP supporter, received a two-year suspended sentence for providing Terry Collins, a BNP activist, with bomb making instructions. Collins himself was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in 2005 for conducting a racist terror campaign against the Asian community in Eastbourne.

Mark Bullman (BNP) - Mosque Arsonist


Mark Bullman: arsonist Mark Bulman, a BNP activist, was jailed for five years in January after trying to set fire to Swindon’s Broad Street mosque. He used a BNP leaflet as a fuse for his petrol bomb.

Martyn Gilleard

Martyn Gilleardhas been found guilty of making bombs for a far-right terrorist campaign, after having previously admitted downloading thousands of images of child sexual abuse. Officers found machetes, swords, bullets, gunpowder and racist literature. Most sinister of all were four home-made nail bombs stashed under his bed. He wrote of starting a “racial war” and murdering Muslims.

'Wigan Mike' Heaton & Trevor Hannington (Attended EDL events)

Michael Heaton: Hardcore neo-Nazi EDL forum moderator, Wigan Mike has been arrested on terror offences. Real name Michael Heaton of Leigh, National Front and British Freedom Fighters member “Wigan Mike” has helped organise many EDL and WDL demos, and was photographed amongst the crowd of Hitler saluters during the WDL’s recent visit to Wales.

Tevor Hannington: from Hirwaun, Cynon valley in south Wales, was described as a loner by the judge, who told him: “You are a long-standing racist who has never hidden your views, which are violent and vicious in the extreme. Flags bearing swastikas were strewn around Hannington’s house and police found a personal armoury including an air rifle and daggers. Hannington also admitted owning the Anarchist’s Cookbook, Kitchen Complete and The Terrorist Encyclopaedia, all of which are considered useful tools to someone preparing or committing an act of terrorism.

Ian & Nicky Davison (Aryan Strikeforce)


Ian and Nicky Davison: When officers saw a video of pipe bombs being detonated, they raided Davison’s house in Myrtle Grove, Burningfield, Durham. During a search they found that he had bought castor beans from America and several other items which together constituted a recipe for the deadly toxin, ricin. They say they found enough of it in a jar in his kitchen to kill up to 15 people. Davison later became the first person in Britain to be jailed under the Chemical Weapons Act when he got 10 years at Newcastle Crown Court. His son was jailed for two years after being found guilty of possessing terrorist manuals.

Neil Lewington: A racist arrested by chance at a railway station was “on the cusp” of waging a terror campaign using tennis balls and weedkiller, a jury has heard. Later searches of Mr Lewington’s home revealed a notebook entitled “Waffen SS UK members’ handbook” which contained drawings of electronics and chemical mixtures, jurors were told. Mr Lewington had an “unhealthy interest” in the London nail bomber David Copeland, America’s Unabomber and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, the court heard.

Terence Gavan: A former BNP member who turned his bedroom in his mother’s house into a bomb and weapons factory has been jailed for 11 years. West Yorkshire Police entered the property with a search warrant as part of a firearms investigation in May 2009, they were to discover the largest cache of home-made bombs and other weapons ever seen in the region. The Old Bailey heard he had a “strong hostility” towards immigrants. Among his possessions was a list of names, including a neighbour of one of the 7/7 bombers, which the court heard he was planning to target. A note in one of several handwritten notebooks found in the room read: “Patriots must always be ready to defend his country against enemies and their governments.”

Simon Beech:  A former soldier has appeared in court charged in connection with an arson attack at a mosque in Stoke-on-Trent. Simon Beech, 23, of Hartshill Road in the city, denied arson with intent to endanger life, committing arson recklessly and criminal damage. A fire began at the Regent Road mosque in Hanley yesterday morning. Police – who found that a gas pipe from a neighbouring building had been fed through the mosque window – said the incident was being treated as “a racist attack on a religious building”. EDL member.

John Laidlaw (BNP)


John Laidlaw: A man with a racist past has been jailed for life after going on a shooting spree in north London. Gunman John Laidlaw had a history of violence and once vowed he would kill all black people. After he was arrested for a racist attack, he told police he hated all black people and was a member of the British National Party. He shot Abu Kamara in Upper Street before accidentally shooting Emma Sheridan at Finsbury Park Tube station, as he aimed at a second man.

Other notable incidents in Europe: 

Apeldoorn, Netherlands – 01/05/09 – Would-be Assassin of the Dutch Royal family at a parade in Apeldoorn, including head of state Queen Beatrix of Holland has been named as a victim of economic and financial hard times, Richard Tates. An injured Richard Karst Tates was pulled from the wreckage of his Suzuki Swift car after it had plowed though a dense crowd and onto the parade rout of the Dutch Royal family, killing five and wounding more than a dozen and narrowly missing a bus carrying many members of the Royal Family on national holiday, Queensday.

Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands – 09/04/11 – 24-year-old Tristan van der Vlis shot several people and then killed himself, reportedly with a different firearm. There were seven deaths, including the killer, and 17 wounded, making it the deadliest incident in the Netherlands since the 2009 attack on the Dutch Royal Family. He was a voter of PVV, Geert Wilders’ party.

Bratislava, Slovakia – 30/08/10 – eight people (including the perpetrator Ľubomír Harman) died and at least 17 were injured after a lone gunman opened fire in Devínska Nová Ves district in a suburb of the Slovak capital, Bratislava. The shooting spree took place both inside a local panel building and later in the street outside.

Berlin, Germany – 08/01/11 – Police in Berlin are investigating an arson attack on a mosque in the capital city. The last six months of last year saw six such attacks – the Shitlik mosque on Columbiadamm was attacked in June, twice in August and again in November, while the Neukölln Al-Nur mosque was attacked in November and an Islamic cultural centre in Tempelhof was targeted in December.

Dordrecht, Netherlands – 14/10/10 – The mosque belonging to the Turkish community in the Merwedestraat in Dordrecht has been shot at. The bullet hit an outside door. A number of people were present in the mosque, but were not harmed. The police has no indication of who committed the crime and what the motives could be.

Groningen, Netherlands – 28/11/10 – Arsonists tried to set fire to a mosque in Groningen on Monday night, and daubed the walls with the text ‘don’t make us evil’, news agency ANP reports. In March, the same mosque was smeared with blood and the head of a wild boar was dumped outside.

Fredrikstadt, Norway – 20/08/10 – Members of the Islamic community in Fredrikstad saw red when a swastika and “Allah is a [picture of a pig]” were painted on the mosque in the city center.

Malmo, Sweden – 02/01/11 – As of New Year’s Eve evening, police had no suspects for an attack against a mosque in Malmö earlier in the day when shots had been fired through the window of the building.

Normandy, France – 15/07/10 – The police opened an investigation on Thursday after vandals left swastikas and anti-Islam slogans on a mosque in northern France. The slogans, like “Islam out of Europe” and “neither Islam nor Burqas,” along with swastikas and Celtic crosses, were found Wednesday on the wall of a partly constructed mosque in Hérouville-Saint-Clair, a suburb of Caen, Normandy.

Stromsund, Sweden – 22/08/08 – A man in his twenties has been arrested on suspicion of setting fire to a mosque in Strömsund, northern Sweden. Police are classifying the attack as a hate crime.

Lyon, France – 25/08/08 – Acts of vandalism representing in particular a Nazi inscription and fire of the toilets were committed yesterday in a Muslim prayer hall in Meyzieu, in the Rhone-Alpes region of France, the police and the municipality announced today.

Toulouse, France – Ten members of a neo-Nazi group have been convicted for an April mosque burning outside of Toulouse and sentenced to prison terms up to 18 months. The entrance hall of the Colomiers mosque was set afire before dawn and the room reserved for ritual washing was vandalized.

Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, France – 06/04/08 – Vandals have struck a cemetery in northern France, defacing the graves of dozens of Muslim First World War soldiersA French prosecutor says 148 graves at the cemetery at Ablain-Saint-Nazaire have been sprayed with anti-Islam slogans. A severed pigs head was found at the cemetery, along with graffiti singling out the French justice minister, who is of North African origin.

Zurich, Switzerland – 13/11/07 – A gunman used a military assault rifle to fire on a dozen worshipers at an Islamic centre at the Swiss city of Lausanne late on Monday, injuring one seriously, police said on Tuesday, November 13. “He injured one person seriously before worshipers immobilised him on the ground,” according to a police statement cited by Reuters.

Lombardy, Italy – 25/10/07 – A mosque in a small town outside Milan has been the target of a violent attack – the eighth on mosques in the region of Lombardy surrounding the city. Italian media reports said the Alif Baa Islamic Centre, in the northern Italian city of Abbiategrasso, 20 kilometres west of Milan, was subjected to fresh violence on Wednesday. Witnesses said a masked man was seen throwing a Molotov cocktail inside the courtyard of the mosque from his motorcycle in the late afternoon.

Ceuta, Spain – 18/04/06 – An arson attack over the Easter weekend on a Muslim sanctuary in the Spanish city of Ceuta marked another step in what some experts fear is a growing incidence of Islamophobia in the country. The burning of the Sidi Bel Abbas sanctuary comes just three months after another sanctuary in the enclave was attacked by arsonists.

Banja Luka, Bosnia – 04/03/06 – Unknown vandals desecrated a four-century-old Muslim cemetery in a Bosnian Serb town, destroying more than 20 gravestones, AFP quoted police as saying on Saturday.

Esbjerb, Denmark – 13/02/06 – About 25 Muslim graves in western Denmark were vandalized late Saturday night, bringing swift condemnation from Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Yakhroma, Russia – 05/07/06 – The building of the mosque was seriously damaged, a senior Muslim cleric told IslamNews news agency. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the explosion. Investigation into the attack has been launched. A mosque employee told the agency that the blast had entirely destroyed the main entrance, windows were broken. “Judging by the damage inflicted the explosive device was much more powerful than a grenade,” he said.

Paris, France – 03/07/06 – Vandals painted swastikas and anti-Muslim slogans on a mosque in the Parisian suburb of Courcouronnes, a mosque official said Monday. Abderrahmane Ammari said “extremists” attacked the walls of the mosque early Sunday, covering the exterior walls with slogans including “Islam go home,” “France is white” and “We fight against Islam” early Sunday morning.

Heidelberg, Germany – 19/11/04 – Unidentified assailants hurled a Molotov cocktail at a mosque in a town just south of Heidelberg early Thursday, raising fears that recent ethnic violence in Holland could spill over the border to Germany.

Annecy, France – 07/03/04 – About 250 people have held a protest rally in the south-eastern French town of Annecy after two local mosques were damaged in suspected arson attacks. One fire ravaged a mosque in the Alpine town itself while the other burned a prayer room in nearby Seynod.

Girona, Spain – 15/12/04 – Police have arrested a neo-Nazi gang which had carried out attacks on mosques and businesses owned by Muslims. Seven people, including three teenagers, were arrested in towns near Girona, in Catalonia in north-east Spain. The group, called The Black Front, was said to espouse Nazi philosophy. The group carried out attacks on mosques, businesses owned by Muslims and other people whose ideologies were opposed to their own.

Strasbourg, France – 24/06/04 – Nazi vandals have struck at the Muslim community in the Alsace region of eastern France, desecrating 48 graves of Muslim soldiers with swastikas and “SS” inscriptions. Local Muslim leaders reported seven attacks against Muslim sites in Strasbourg in April, including graffiti saying “death to Arabs”. Most Muslims in France are of North African origin.

Copenhagen, Denmark – 24/03/08 – Danish Muslims link the racist murder of a Muslim teen last week to an increasing Islamophobic atmosphere fanned by the reprinting of a cartoon satirical of prophet Muhammad. “Deniz Ozgur Uzun was killed because of his dark, Middle Eastern skin,” Jihad Abdelalim Alfara, the chairman of the Islamic Council in Denmark, told IslamOnline.net. Uzun, a 17-year-old Turk attending a technical high school, was distributing newspapers in the Amager district of Copenhagen Wednesday when he was verbally harassed by three Danes, aged 15, 17 and 18. “He ignored them and went his way before they stopped their car and started assaulting him.”

Bergen, Norway – 03/05/11 – A junior high school in Bergen, west Norway, was evacuated this Tuesday morning after a national newspaper received a message from a pupil claiming to have a weapon in their school bag with the intention of shooting others, “especially Muslims.”

Sofia, Bulgaria – 12/06/11 – The warden of the main mosque in downtown Sofia has suffered a brutal assault at the hands of unidentified attackers just minutes before the start of the morning prayer on Sunday. 20/05/11 – Supporters of the Bulgarian far right Ataka (Attack) party started a brawl in downtown Sofia, assaulting Muslims during their Friday prayer.

USA – Damage to property

08/11/10 – Phoenix – The FBI is investigating the recent vandalism of a Phoenix mosque under construction, officials said Wednesday. Paint was spilled on the floor and several tall, arched glass windows were broken by what appeared to be gunshots, Shami said. There was also anti-Muslim graffiti.

08/08/07 – Glendale – a container of acid and a reactant was thrown out of a car window and landed near an imam (Islamic religious leader) and another mosque official who were standing outside the Albanian American Islamic Center of Arizona in Glendale, Ariz.

13/08/07 – Antioch – Muslim leaders gathered today at an Antioch mosque that they said had been vandalized several times to condemn what authorities called an arson attack over the weekend.

01/11/94 – Yuba City – The original mosque was 75% complete when on Sept. 1, 1994 a blazing fire reduced this beautiful 12,000 sq. ft. building to charred ruins in just ONE HOUR.

10/05/10 – Jacksonville – a bomb exploded outside the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida in Jacksonville. Local, state and national law enforcement authorities investigated the attack as a possible act of domestic terrorism.  (04/05/11 – A 46-year-old suspect,Sandlin Matthews Smith, was shot and killed earlier today in Oklahoma as FBI agents and state law enforcement personnel attempted to arrest him in a state park.)

01/02/09 – Miami – Police Investigate Shots Fired At Miami Mosque. Officials Say Bullet Holes Found In Wall.

25/11/06 – Florida – Sniper Strikes at Brevard Mosque During Ramadan Prayers.

14/0/07 – Tampa – Someone deliberately set fire Thursday morning to the Islamic Education Center of Tampa,Florida, a mosque tucked into a neighborhood of tidy suburban homes in Town ‘N Country, according to Hillsborough Fire Rescue and the FBI.

07/07/ – Houston – a home-made bomb exploded on Sunday in the mailbox of Champions Masjid in Spring, Texas. Muslim children who saw two white men place the bomb in the mailbox narrowly missed being injured in the attack.

26/03/02 – Tallahassee – A man drove his truck into a mosque near Florida State University on Monday night, prompting police to seal off the area and call in a bomb squad.

23/08/02 – Florida – A Florida doctor arrested after police found more than 15 homemade explosive devices in his home drafted a detailed plan to blow up a Muslim educational center, investigators said Friday. A search of Robert J. Goldstein’s residence also turned up a list of about 50 Islamic worship centers in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area and other locations in Florida.

25/08/03 – Savannah – An mosque burned to the ground Sunday morning, and police are calling it a case of arson. The fire completely destroyed the building but it wasn’t the only thing targeting this mosque. Just a few weeks ago, bullets slammed into the garage door and one of its members received hate mail.

19/12/10 – Louisiana – The Louisiana State Police bomb squad was called to “deactivate” a suspicious device found against the iron fence surrounding the Islamic Center of Lafayette. Police would not divulge the exact content of the briefcase found outside the mosque. But said it was a real threat. Some 50 nearby homes were evacuated.

12/12/04 – Springfield – Investigators probing a fire Wednesday night that severely damaged a Springfield mosque have concluded that it was arson.

Roger Stockham - Foiled Mosque Bomber


30/01/11 – Dearborn – A 63-year-old Southern California man who was traveling with explosives in his vehicle with the intention of blowing up one of the nation’s largest mosques where mourners had gathered for a funeral was arrested in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn.

25/08/06 – Minneapolis – A Minneapolis mosque was targeted with a suspected arson early Thursday morning while prayer was in session, the mosque director said. No one was hurt in the incident, but dozens of books and other equipments were destroyed.

07/12/10 – Carlton – A Holley teen-ager was charged with a felony count of criminal possession of a weapon after allegedly firing a shotgun outside a mosque in Waterport on Monday night.

26/11/08 – Ohio – on Friday, a mosque in Dayton, OH was tear-gassed, with women and children inside.

20/12/05 – Cincinnati – It was late in the night on Dec. 20, 2005, when two pipe bombs went off outside the Islamic Association of Cincinnati. Luckily, no one was hurt, but no one has been ever been arrested or charged.

29/08/10 – Murfreesboro – One day after a piece of construction equipment was burned at the building site for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office investigated a report about shots fired at the site.

27/05/11 – Washington DC – Shots were fired outside a mosque in northwest D.C. Friday afternoon. No one was injured in the incident and police have arrested a man.

17/09/01 – Cleveland – Last night, September 17, 2001 a man in Parma Ohio near Cleveland, drove his vehicle smack dab into the center of the Mosque. The car ended up in the fountain, he ended up in the emergency room.

11/09/05 – Lansdale – Robert Blackburn, 53, of Hatfield, used a .22-caliber rifle to shoot up two cars in the parking lot of the North Penn Mosque early Tuesday, police said.

12/02/08 – Nashville – Three men have been charged in the firebombing of a small mosque over the weekend, federal prosecutors said. They were members of the Christian Identity movement, an extreme doctrine that claims white Europeans are God’s chosen people.

30/06/00 – Memphis – On June 20th, Masjid Al-Noor in Memphis, Tenn., became the latest target, this time at the hands of an enraged neighbor. The suspect, who tried to enter the locked mosque, was said to have opened fire on the mosque with his shotgun, filling the door of the mosque with bullet holes. One Muslim man was wounded after being shot in the pelvis area by the suspect, who returned home to reload his shotgun.

16/05/11 – Houston – Members of the mosque reported two men smashed in a window at Madrasae Islamia in the 6600 block of Bintliff Drive and then doused a room with gasoline before setting the fire.

16/11/07 – Corpus Christi – Corpus Christi’s Islamic community cautiously continued Ramadan worship Saturday while investigators prowled the McArdle Road mosque’s perimeter for clues to who shot through the door Friday.

20/09/04 – El Paso – Police arrested a man who allegedly attacked the Islamic Center of El Paso with two makeshift firebombs that failed to detonate.

14/09/01 – Texas – A firebomb was hurled at a mosque and Islamic school in Texas, a day after windows were shot out at a similar Islamic centre near Dallas, police said today.

27/04/06 – Maryland – The police say nobody was hurt after shots were fired Thursday into the Islamic Center of Delmarva located in Salisbury.

USA – Violence against a person

21/12/10 – Columbus – Federal and local authorities are investigating a possible hate crime after a Muslim woman said she was verbally harassed and pepper sprayed on Monday outside of an Islamic center on the city’s west side.

01/09/09 – Portland – Portland police say a man was shot in the back after leaving a mosque, and police were searching for two suspects. Police Chief James Craig says at least two shots were fired. The victim, who was not identified, was taken to the Maine Medical Center. His injuries were not thought to be life threatening.

17/04/08 – Kansas – A clerk at a Lenexa, Kan., gas station told police that a man came into the store and asked the clerk if he was Muslim. When the clerk replied in the affirmative, the man reportedly started harassing him. Soon after the man left the store, a Molotov cocktail incendiary device was thrown through the front window of the store. A similar incident occurred at another store in area.

12/09/10 – New York – One of two suspects arrested allegedly used racial and religious slurs, including calling the imam a “camel jockey” and shouting, “F*ck all you Muslims. All of you are terrorists,” during the verbal and physical assault.

02/12/10 – Sacramento – A 56-year-old Sikh taxi driver was attacked early morning Nov. 28 in West Sacramento, Calif., by two passengers who allegedly shouted racial epithets and called the turban-and-bearded driver “Osama bin Laden.”

22/10/10 – Washington State – A Burien woman has been charged with a hate crime for physically and verbally assaulting two Muslim women at a Tukwila gas station last weekend. 37-year-old Jennifer Leigh Jennings accosted two Muslim women, calling them “terrorists” and “suicide bombers” before physically attacking them.

14/10/10 – New York – The Staten Island woman said her attacker called her a “terrorist and a Muslim” and pulled on her religious head scarf. The attacker — a pedestrian — allegedly reached through the driver’s-side window of her car and punched her in the face. He then allegedly shattered a car window and tried to hit her 4-year-old son.

25/08/10 – New York – Rider Asks if Cabby Is Muslim, Then Stabs Him. He withdrew a Leatherman knife, Mr. Sharif said, and, reaching through the opening in the plastic divider, slashed Mr. Sharif’s throat. When Mr. Sharif turned, he said, Mr. Enright stabbed him in his face, on his arm and on his thumbs. Mr. Sharif said he told him: “I beg of you, don’t kill me. I worked so hard, I have a family.”

08/12/06 – Vermont– Police say Thurber told officers that he believed the family members were terrorists because they spoke Arabic to each other. He allegedly suspected they were plotting an explosion in the north end of Brattleboro and perhaps the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon. “Thurber stated that he thought the (family) should no longer be able to breathe, Brattleboro Police Officer Mark Carignan wrote in his affidavit. He said that they needed to be killed to protect the United States.

21/10/06 – San Fransisco – “Whoever did this did not see Alia Ansari, a mother of six children.” Killed Thursday by a single bullet to the head as she walked with her 3-year-old daughter on a well-to-do residential street, she was distinguished by a hijab, the head scarf worn by some devout Muslim women. The Afghan immigrant had no purse or money on her, family members said.

Anti-Abortion Terrorism

Scott Roeder - Anti-abortion Terrorist

 

In the U.S., violence directed towards abortion providers has killed at least eight people, including four doctors, two clinic employees, a security guard, and a clinic escort. According to statistics gathered by the National Abortion Federation (NAF), an organization of abortion providers, since 1977 in the United States and Canada, there have been 17 attempted murders, 383 death threats, 153 incidents of assault or battery, and 3 kidnappings committed against abortion providers. According to NAF, since 1977 in the United States and Canada, property crimes committed against abortion providers have included 41 bombings, 173 arsons, 91 attempted bombings or arsons, 619 bomb threats, 1630 incidents of trespassing, 1264 incidents of vandalism, and 100 attacks with butyric acid (“stink bombs”). The New York Times also cites over one hundred clinic bombings and incidents of arson, over three hundred invasions, and over four hundred incidents of vandalism between 1978 and 1993. The first clinic arson occurred in Oregon in March 1976 and the first bombing occurred in February 1978 in Ohio. The first hoax letters claiming to contain anthrax were mailed to U.S. clinics in October 1998, a few days after the Slepian shooting; since then, there have been 655 such bioterror threats made against abortion providers. None of the “anthrax” in these cases was real.   

The rightists will argue that graffiti or smashed windows isn’t terrorism just vandalism. I would agree if it wasn’t for the fact that these acts have a particular target and motive based on racial, religious or ideological grounds. They are fueled by hatred, and are designed to cause fear and put pressure on a section of society, either to retaliate or to relocate. Had these incidents been the work of Muslims, the Islamophobes wouldn’t hesitate to label them as acts of jihad. Add to the above the many more incidents of far right terrorism on Western soil that can be viewed here and here, and you start to realise that what happened in Oslo and Utoya is an escalation rather than an exception. The threat posed by the far right needs to be addressed now, and the discourse on terrorism needs to change if this escalation is to be halted.

EDL: Educating Dhimmi Liberals


Apparently the EDL are trying to educate us. As well as claiming to be a street army defending our nations values, culture, children and women and a human rights organisation, they are also providing an educational function. They want to teach us about the dangers of Islam. That’s right, this largely white, Anglo-Saxon, culturally Christian organisation wants to educate us about the evil message of the Qur’an. Forget that Muslim scholars, clerics and intellectuals have been studying and interpreting the holy book for over a thousand years and are still debating and disagreeing. Forget that varying schools of thought have been developed over the centuries not only into Sunni and Shi’a Islam but into Ahmadiyya and Kharijite, and further branched into Hanbali, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanafi, Twelver, Ismaili, Zaidiyyah, Alawi & Alevi. There was the development of Sufism and its numerous branches. Then, of course there are the ultra conservative Salafi or Wahabis. The list goes on. Forget all of that, the football hooligans, binge drinkers, book burners and the ‘not racist’ BNP voters of the EDL are here to put the record straight about this most diverse and multi-dimensional faith.

Of course, not all EDL soldiers and human rights activists have the time to study the Qur’an they’ve stolen before they perform the tradition burning ceremony. What with having to fit neighbourhood watch duties, humanitarian work and actual teaching around their day jobs (no laughing). Luckily though, there is a vast array of altruistic scholars that have kindly done the reading for them, and have published their findings in books and online. Those kind folks in Israel that translate the Qur’an for Guramit Singh, for instance. Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Daniel Pipes, David Horowitz, Geert Wilders etc. These people have all produced literature, made films, formed political parties and created organisations to educate us and protect us from Muslims. The fact that they are all unashamed Zionists is neither here nor there.

I started to wonder though, am I being a bit too hasty in dismissing the EDL’s capacity to educate those of us who don’t yet hate Muslims and fear the inevitable Islamic takeover? Have I learnt anything from the EDL? Surprisingly, the answer was yes.

The EDL has taught me that the direction of one’s political leaning has a direct correlation with one’s body odour & washing frequency.

The EDL has taught me that Xenophobia is a country.

The EDL has taught me that Brazil is a Muslim country.

The EDL has brought the existence of halal pork to my attention.

The EDL has uncovered Iraqi, interracial and Muslamic law in London.

The EDL has taught me of the existence of Muslim Infidels.

The EDL has taught me that you can’t build Mosques in Mecca.

The EDL has taught me that the New Testament is an updated version of the Old Testament.

The EDL has taught me the true meaning of irony.

Wearing a balaclava while demanding a ban on the burka is NOT ironic.

An ‘ex’ BNP member running a business that turns pale people brown is NOT ironic.

The son of immigrants being the leader of xenophobic organisation is NOT ironic.

The EDL moralising about the reported age of Aisha despite one of their leaders being a convicted paedophile is NOT ironic.

I consider myself a better person for opening my mind to the wisdom of the English Defence League.

Camer-rant

“Put simply, we will never control immigration properly unless we tackle welfare dependency,”

Cameron is cynically playing on the insecurities of the disillusioned and uneducated by blaming Labour and the benefits culture for mass immigration. It’s using an acceptable scapegoat as blackmail for the people willing to swallow it. He’s saying ‘If you go back to work we’ll stop letting brown people in.’

“When there have been significant numbers of new people arriving in neighbourhoods, perhaps not able to speak the same language as those living there, on occasions not really wanting or even willing to integrate, that has created a kind of discomfort and disjointedness in some neighbourhoods. This has been the experience for many people in our country and I believe it is untruthful and unfair not to speak about it and address it.”

Where’s the proof for this? Integration is a two way street, the onus is on us to make people feel welcome. Is it a surprise that some minorities are afraid to interact with the wider community when groups of people are marching through our high streets in protest at aspects of their faith and culture? Is it surprising that people feel safer in communities that consist of their ‘own people’ when they face discrimination on a daily basis?

But, on this point, according to academics who have studied this subject, Cameron is wrong. Recently the University of Manchester sent me a news release about some research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council which found that deprivation, not multiculturalism, was the root cause of fragmented communities. The research team was headed by Dr Laia Bécares and this is what she had to say:

Politicians seem to link racial tensions to the perception that ethnic minority people and newly arrived migrants are not integrated into their host culture. But our findings show it is not neighbourhood ethnic profile but neighbourhood deprivation which erodes social cohesion in England.

The paper, called Composition, Concentration and Deprivation: Exploring their Association with Social Cohesion among Different Ethnic Groups in the UK, has been published in the journal, Urban Studies. Unfortunately it’s only available to subscribers. But here’s an extract.

Our findings show that it is not neighbourhood ethnic profile, but neighbourhood deprivation, which erodes social cohesion for ethnic minority and White British people in the UK. The fact that it is deprivation, and not ethnic heterogeneity, which causes social ills in the UK has been reported before, although previous studies have not examined whether this varied by ethnic group … Regardless, by exploring how the association between neighbourhood ethnic profile and social cohesion changes once area deprivation is adjusted for, and by assessing the contribution of area-level socioeconomic characteristics to social cohesion among different ethnic groups, the present study argues that increased residential heterogeneity does not erode social cohesion in the UK …

High levels of area deprivation have been stated to generate feelings of powerless, threat and alienation among neighbourhood residents, leading, in turn, to low levels of neighbourhood attachment and participation. Prior to engaging in building social cohesion, ethnic minority people living in deprived neighbourhoods are often more concerned about access to jobs, housing and public services. Efforts to promote social cohesion in the UK through integration and communitarism have been criticised because they fail to recognise the importance of the wider social and economic inequalities they produce and have been blamed to direct attention away from the institutional structures and practices of racism that have created existent health and socioeconomic inequalities in the first place. Existent sociopolitical schemes, thus, should not overlook the findings that highlight the importance of area deprivation on the erosion of social cohesion, given that initiatives that seek to enhance social cohesion while ignoring the structural factors that are responsible for material deprivation are unlikely to have a major impact.

Cameron wants to restrict non-EU migrants to highly skilled, well educated individuals, rich students who will only be allowed to stay if they find highly skilled graduate jobs and talented entrepreneurs. These are good immigrants. A coincidence that they fit the demographic that is more likely to vote Conservative? Isn’t this a cynical attempt at social engineering that they constantly tell us Labour are guilty of?

This is the second public speech made by Cameron this year that panders to the right-wing, with anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, anti-multiculturalism sentiments that closely resemble the rhetoric we hear from the BNP, UKIP and the EDL. This is a worrying trend that isn’t confined to the UK. In France we have seen Sarkozy attempt to restore his ailing popularity by trying to be more of a bigot than his rival Marine Le Pen. Across the Atlantic we have seen Donald Trump throw his hat into the Presidential candidates ring while jumping on the overcrowded anti-Muslim bandwagon in the clumsiest possible fashion.

Cameron makes the bogus claim that not talking about immigration “created the space for extremist parties to flourish, as they could tell people who mainstream politicians weren’t listening to their concerns or doing anything about them”.

We heard this during last years electioneering. It was inaccurate then and it is now. As Sunder Katwala points out, the talk of stifling the debate on immigration is a complete myth.

This hoary old myth doesn’t get us very far. The idea that debate about immigration has been silenced and closed down in Britain is a pervasive myth.

But, as a matter of fact, it can be easily disproved if one goes and looks at what politicians said and did throughout the period, or reviewing the endless noisy public debates about immigration, and volumes of legislation on immigration (broadly in a restrictive direction) under almost every post-war government, whether Conservative or Labour. I published a Comment is Free post ‘The Enoch Myth in 2008, offering chapter and verse which proves beyond any reasonable doubt just how noisy these decades of supposed silenced debate always were. (Cameron, perhaps prey to the myth, says in his speech “I remember when immigration wasn’t a central political issue in our country – and I want that to be the case again”. I wonder if he could cite any five or ten year post-war period which he has in mind when he claims that?).

It is interesting to reflect on the drivers of the sense of political disconnection which means that this is widely believed, but that is a very different thing from the myth being true.

Cameron directly echoes Michael Howard’s election posters in 2005, which proved somewhat less effective than the Conservatives hoped at the time, and which had the rather odd aim of starting a debate about immigration which will not be distracted by allegations of racism by starting a debate about racism and being silenced, rather more than to start a frank and rational public debate about immigration itself.

It was rather odd to claim that the other major party was treating all discussion of immigration as verboten – because I clearly recall that Labour had election posters in 2005 which proclaimed in bold, primary colours “Your Country’s Border’s Safe”, and it would be rewrite history rather spectacularly to claim that Labour home secretaries such as Jack Straw or David Blunkett did not speak about immigration. (Despite this, the claim has often been implicit in Labour’s post-election debates, which sometimes strike me as taking place as if we all had the memories of goldfish, leading to proposals to ‘break’ with the party’s recent approach and move on by saying all of the same things again, so as to also sound ‘tough’).

Immigration was also the only subject raised in all three of the televised election debates. The claim that extremists have flourished doesn’t quite explain how the BNP lost support and the Lib Dems ended up in a coalition government either.

The same David Cameron who today states: Our country has benefitted immeasurably from immigration. Go into any hospital and you’ll find people from Uganda, India and Pakistan who are caring for our sick and vulnerable. Go into schools and universities and you’ll find teachers from all over the world, inspiring our young people. Go to almost any high street in the country and you’ll find entrepreneurs from overseas who are not just adding to the local economy but playing a part in local life. Charities, financial services, fashion, food, music – all these sectors are what they are because of immigration. So yes, immigrants make a huge contribution to Britain. We recognise that – and we welcome it.

Is the same David Cameron who made a speech in February declaring that multiculturalism had failed. Which is it Dave?

And Justice for all………?

While the tabloid media is shrieking it’s disgust from the front pages with regards to the ‘Muslim Poppy Burners’ £50 fine, and the right wing reactionaries are jerking their knees with rage. EDL ‘leader’ Guramit Singh walked free, without charge after being cleared of intentionally causing religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress. He was arrested on December 11th, 2010 at the EDL’s Peterborough demo after a complaint about a speech he gave there. If you haven’t had the pleasure here’s a snippet:

I’m going to tell you precisely right now what threat of Islam is. Muhammad and Islam is not a religion… Muhammad was a paedophilic pirate… Islam, in not just this country but around the world, has been using their disgusting threat, their threat has been going on for 1400 years, “if you do not bow before Muhammad and his so-called Allah, you are to be beheaded”… Hitler had fuck all on Muhammad.

The Koran and the Hadiths is written in Arabic. Muslims are not allowed to be taught Arabic in the mosque. Muslims are told, “do not question what your Imam says”, although they don’t even know what the Imam’s saying, because the Imam’s just a “Allah, fuck it”. Stick your Allah up your arse, you cunt. Fuck em, fuck em, fuck em. I’m not being funny, fuck em. I may get arrested for this shit, but fuck em, fuck em, I’m not having it, fuck em, fuck em, fuck em, fuck em.

…The UAF, the counter-protestors, the members of the Islamic community: English Defence League 2011, we’re coming to a street near you. We ain’t even fucking started yet.

Standard EDL fare really. Mention of paedophilia? Check. Beheading for infidels? Check. Comparison to Hitler? Check. But let’s get this straight. His message to the assembled crowd and any passers by regarding Muslims is “fuck ‘em”. Ten times no less. An additional ‘fuck’, a ‘fucking’, one ‘arse’, one ‘shit’ and he dropped the C-bomb for good measure. On a PA system. Also, is it just me or does the closing salvo sound like a threat?

Let’s look at the poppy burning incident without rage tinted glasses. There were between 30 – 50 MAC members depending on the source. There were a handful of signs with anti-war/anti-military slogans such as ‘British Soldiers: Terrorists’, ‘Hands off Muslim lands’ and pro-Islam ones like ‘Islam will dominate’ and ‘There is no God but Allah’. There were also some tasteless and provocative chants of ‘British Soldiers Burn in Hell’ and ‘Mass Murderers’. As their piece de resistance they proceeded to burn two plastic poppies. As one of them stated: “We wanted to upset people and we wanted them to hurt.”

They wanted to offend people, they wanted attention and they got exactly what they wanted. Job done. The offenders were arrested and processed through the justice system. The fine was for a “calculated and deliberate insult to the war dead and everyone who mourns them” according to reports from the court. I haven’t seen what the actual charge is, presumably some form of Public Order Offence. We can argue about inconsistent sentencing, but isn’t this about right? It was disrespectful, hateful, and inflammatory but what exactly should have happened? The people angriest at this would probably support deportation, a prison sentence or if you look at EDL facebook pages gruesome torture and a slow, painful death. But on what grounds? Treason? This crime still exists and is punishable with life imprisonment. I’m sure this would be just about acceptable for the EDL/BNP lot. They would still prefer the 19th century punishment of hanging, disemboweling, beheading and quartering. No one has been prosecuted for treason since the infamous William ‘Lord Haw-Haw’ Joyce who was executed in 1946. This includes crimes during the ‘troubles’ which were prosecuted as murder or other crimes. In 2005 however the government considered bringing the charge back into practice for Islamic clerics that had been condoning terrorism and the actions of insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq. At the time Lord Carlile QC, the governments reviewer of anti-terror laws said:

“I don’t think there is a lawyer still alive and working who has ever appeared in any part of a treason case,” the Liberal Democrat peer told BBC News. Treason usually applied to wars between nations, he said. Lord Carlile argued existing laws could be used, such as charges of solicitation or incitement to murder, commonly seen in contract killing cases.

This is exactly what happened in 2006 when Abu Hamza was  charged with inciting murder under the Terrorism Act 2000, and was sentenced to 7 years in prison. No matter how offensive the fuckwittery of the MAC, it’s not inciting murder (unless you count the homicidal sentiments directed towards them). I’m going to cut to the chase. The ill-feeling towards the poppy burners has as much to do with their faith and ethnicity as their actions. It’s racism wrapped up in nationalism. The disrespecting of people who have died in wars is one thing, but the fact that it may be immigrants or sons of immigrants doing it is what’s sending the frothing into overdrive. The burning of a symbol such as the poppy is too much for people who’s national pride is derived in a large part from imperialism and military conquests. Not being one who shares in this pride, whilst I appreciate the symbolism, to me they just incinerated some flimsy plastic flowers. It was a cheap publicity stunt that should have been denied any sort of acknowledgement. For me, Singh’s abusive tirade was the more serious incident. It was much closer to the hate speech of Abu Hamza than the actions of MAC. What if something had gone horribly wrong in Peterborough that day? Would he and the EDL be held responsible? Would Singh be facing a lengthy period behind bars?

Tommy Robinson said: “We are pleased the charges were dropped – there was nothing in them.”

Nothing?

Fighting Talk

When is enough, enough? How much does one have to endure before it’s acceptable to cross the line that your conscience and values mark out? Is there a point whereby you’re permitted to stoop to a previously unchartered level and still keep your dignity and morality in tact? Is there a time and a place where, allowing the most primal animal instincts within us to overcome our better judgement, is justifiable?


I like to think I’m a pacifist. I’m pretty laid back and reserved, I’m usually calm and rational even in heated situations. I don’t have a short temper, and even when I lose it, instigating violence has never entered my mind. I don’t experience a red mist and I’m always able to stay in control of my actions. The thought of inflicting pain on someone else doesn’t sit easily with me at all. Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age. Maybe being a father has given me an added sense of empathy and compassion. Hurting someone means hurting somebody’s son, father, husband, brother. I don’t really want to do that.

Solving problems with reasoning and forgiveness gives me a much greater sense of satisfaction than I imagine knocking someone out would. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to sound smug and superior because it actually frustrates me sometimes. I’ve been in situations where a confrontation was a possibility, and I know other people would have taken that step, but I’ve decided it’s just not worth the hassle. But maybe giving my alpha male instincts a bit of exercise would have been the best thing to do? Would letting a loudmouthed bully off the hook give him the confidence to pick on someone else more vulnerable than me? Am I showing a sign of weakness that encourages the bully? Would flexing a bit of muscle enhance my male pride and earn me respect and admiration? Maybe, but it’s just not in my nature.

I’ve also developed a keener sense of self preservation in fatherhood. Getting into a physical confrontation is dangerous, that’s pretty obvious. But people are unpredictable when the testosterone and adrenaline are flowing, not to mention alcohol. The survival instinct kicks in and anything can happen. A bottle or pint glass can turn skin and flesh into a bloody mess. Someone’s head between a heavy foot and concrete pavement could mean curtains. You could end up unrecognisable, in prison or dead, over something trivial just to save face. It’s not just one person that suffers the consequences.

Where am I going with this rambling self analysis? Well, as usual, the racists have got me wound up. I tell myself not to react, but I have to. I shouldn’t look, but it’s like a car crash. Those four characters that open up a world of hate and bile: #EDL. It’s like internet crack for do-gooders like me. One hit and there’s no going back. No matter how unhealthy and damaging it is, I’ve just got to have my daily fix. But it never changes. The same vile racists, spewing out the same vile clichés. No matter how many attempts are made to educate and inform them. No matter how many myths and lies you debunk, with quotes, facts and statistics, the record never changes. Using irony and wit to combat the hate doesn’t work either. On a few occasions I’ve let myself down and even resorted to childish insults and personal abuse. It’s like picking an itchy scab. Momentary relief followed by the realisation that you’ve just reopened the wound and made it worse.

Why take it so seriously, it’s only Twitter? I know this, but I also know that Twitter is just the tip of the iceberg. It pales in comparison to some of the comments written on the EDL Facebook pages. Dig a little deeper into the history of the EDL, their affiliations, their family tree, and it becomes apparent that even if the rank and file are a knuckle dragging laughing stock, there are far more powerful and sinister characters pulling the strings, and lending support. Amongst the foot soldiers are hardcore racists, neo-Nazi’s, and white supremacists. These aren’t gullible kids who are being manipulated. These are dangerous people who will not change their views. They’re using the surge in Islamophobia and the EDL movement as the bandwagon they’ve been looking for since the demise of the National Front and Combat 18. It gives them the outlet for violence that the BNP doesn’t and the pretence of being a non-racist pressure group as cover.

A cursory glance at screen captures from the EDL Facebook is enough to confirm that there are a large number of people willing to use violence and intimidation to realise their racist ideals. It’s not uncommon to see suggestions of ethnic cleansing, arson, and murder along with military imagery and balaclava-clad men with machetes, Samurai swords or firearms. Is it all just posturing and empty rhetoric? The fact that there are a number of members, who make no secret of their convictions for racially motivated assaults, hooligan activities, paramilitary affiliations, as well as some who are already serving time for murder, or on terrorism charges seems to suggest it’s not all just hot air.

The EDL have also recently ‘enjoyed’ much media exposure, and are making a name for themselves on mainland Europe and Stateside. They have overtly aligned themselves with the Jewish Defence League, a Zionist organisation who the FBI have classed as a right wing terrorist group, and the SPLC have called a hate group involved in anti-Arab terrorism. The FBI also claims they have been involved in plotting terrorist attacks within the United States. Alan Lake, a multi millionaire business man, has previously approached UKIP with the intention of politicising the EDL. He has provided them with funding, and has also financed and advised far right political parties in Europe. Many people believe Lake to be the EDL puppet master.

There’s no denying that the EDL has evolved significantly since its inception. In fact the whole Islamophobic movement has become the right wing bandwagon of choice in recent years. Fox News, The Tea Party, SIOE & SIOA, EDL, Geert Wilders & PVV, Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Melanie Phillips, Daily Star, Daily Express, Daily Mail, the Sun, Sweden Democrats and others have all found it very lucrative and profitable.

Despite this, the poor turnout of the EDL’s recent Luton demo has led many to believe that they have lost their initial momentum, and the increase in publicity has worked against them. Right leaning ‘news’ papers such as the Daily Mail have been (hypo)critical, and even the Daily Star have backtracked from what seemed to be a sympathetic stance. Their planned demo in Birmingham (in protest at two Respect Party councilors who refused to give an ovation to a Marine receiving the George Cross) has been aborted due to the soldier in question distancing himself in no uncertain terms. Where does this leave them? They have certainly been shunned by the mainstream right wing. It will be interesting to see what transpires when the next major march is planned.

My take is they will undoubtedly gain members and sympathisers with the exposure (and continued anti-Muslim media and government bias), but inevitably more critics and opposition to boot. It’s what form this opposition takes that is really at the heart of this blog post. One of the reasons I started this blog was to address the Islamophobic myths and lies. An attempt to demystify, and re-humanize the bogeyman that has been created. There is no substitute for the truth. Knowledge and understanding are the real keys to stopping the hate. But I fear that the vast majority of the EDL only believe what suits their agenda, and will only take notice of anything that re-affirms their views. They have financial backing and influential allies. In one form or another, these people are here to stay and so is their bigotry. It’s up to us how successful they, and future generations are.

Am I going to be arguing with the EDL on the internet for the rest of my life? There’s only so much banging my head against a brick wall I can take. The frustration and anger I feel at their inability and unwillingness to engage in meaningful dialogue is not good. Not good for my stress levels and not good for society. It’s also an indication that they aren’t going to back down from their stance. There are plenty of people willing to fight fire with fire. Who believe that the only way to talk to the EDL and their ilk is by using the only language they understand, hate and violence. They will look to the UKuncut movement, to Tunisia and to Egypt, and see that sometimes a degree of militancy is needed to kick-start a change, to highlight the urgency and importance of the cause. But is it ever possible to justify the use of force for good? Is there such a thing as righteous violence? I know, I’m on dangerous ground here. But how many times have you thought “that Tommy Robinson needs a good slap” or “Nick Griffin has got such a punchable face”? How satisfying was watching the Ajax fans humiliate the EDL in Amsterdam? Should we lose any sleep over some racists getting their comeuppance when they provocatively stray into ‘enemy territory’? I know it’s wrong and hypocritical, but these people bring out the worst in me.

The approach of Hope not Hate at the Luton demo was exactly what was needed on the day. Avoiding confrontation and liaising with the local community was the right thing to do. Hopefully this is the way forward in defeating the EDL. My worry is that the more peaceful their demos are, the more chance they have of creating a more acceptable image. If their events take on a more respectable guise, how long before they are family events with new generations of poisoned minds with no visible opposition? Will they just go away if we ignore them? Just fizzle out with a whimper? Am I overestimating them and underestimating the general goodness in humanity? I hope so.

I’d better add a disclaimer here. This isn’t intended as a rallying cry or call to arms for the militant left. It’s just a stream of consciousness I’m using as therapy. I’m talking myself down from an angry place. It will all be better in the morning. Peace. 🙂

David Yaxley-Griffin

Half listening to Radio 5live on Saturday, while going about my business, in a haze of sleep deprivation, and the first 6 Nations hangover of the year. I caught the tail end of David Cameron’s speech in Munich. To my surprise he seemed to be making refreshingly balanced and even complimentary statements about Muslims and Islam. As I was going to be spending the majority of the afternoon keeping tabs on the EDL demo taking part in Luton that day, it gave my spirits a little boost.

A little while later, a news item on the PM’s speech reported him as having claimed that multiculturalism had failed, while also making criminally inaccurate and ignorant comments regarding what seemed to be the British Muslim community in isolation. I checked my Twitter feed as soon as I could, and the more I read, the more stunned and dismayed I became. It was as if he, and his writers, had used Daily Express back issues and BNP propaganda as research material. As a result he inadvertently gave a speech that, while not going as far as endorsing the EDL, legitimized their cause and their reasoning. The timing couldn’t have been worse. It was a kick in the teeth to every person working hard to combat the bigotry of the EDL, and an insult to the Muslim communities of the UK.

How could the Prime Minister of one of the most tolerant and compassionate countries in the World (in my opinion), get it so spectacularly wrong? He would surely have access to information that documents the work done within the Muslim community to counter extremism? Is he genuinely ignorant to the complex and varied reasons why segregation and division occur? In a way I hope he is. Because if his speech is an indication of what will be put into practice as part of the Governments anti-terrorism strategy, he will only alienate the very people best positioned to co-operate. If he is oblivious to this, at least there’s a possibility of him revising his position. But if this is actually another ideological policy, hidden behind disingenuous misinformation, designed to cut public funding, it worries me even more.

This thinly veiled attempt at justifying withdrawal of funds for Muslim organisations, andstirring of Nationalist pride will act as a rubber stamp for the EDL. Stephen Lennon has already welcomed Cameron’s words, and accepted them as approval for the EDL stance. Whilst Nick Griffin has also claimed that they echo the BNP’s sentiments. You’d think that this would be cause for concern for the Coalition, but instead they’ve issued an unapologetic defence of the speech. There will undoubtedly be numerous blogs and articles that will dissect Cameron’s words, policies and hypocrisy far more articulately and knowledgeably than myself, so I’ll leave that to them. What I will address though, is the concept of multiculturalism. What does he actually mean by ‘state multiculturalism’, and what does multiculturalism mean to me?

I’m assuming that when he’s talking of ‘state multiculturalism’, he’s referring to the popular right-wing cliché that New Labours immigration policy was an attempt at social engineering, whereby immigrants would keep them in power in a display of eternal gratitude, whilst also encouraging a dilution of British ‘identity’ and ‘values’ so precious to the Tories. This has been reported as fact, denied, and debated over and over, so I’ll leave it at that. It seems to me that when Cameron talks of this supposed doctrine, he’s referring to the acceptance and tolerance of diversity. But doesn’t see it as being compassionate, and aiding in a transitional process. His view is that it’s divisive and detrimental to society. This is what he said in February 2008.

“State multiculturalism is a wrong-headed doctrine that has had disastrous results. It has fostered difference between communities,”

“And it has stopped us from strengthening our collective identity. Indeed, it has deliberately weakened it.”

Cameron defined “state multiculturalism” as “the idea that we should respect different cultures within Britain to the point of allowing them – indeed encouraging them – to live separate lives, apart from each other and apart from the mainstream.”

it meant “not just essential information, but all information, endlessly translated into numerous languages, to cater for numerous people, who can then continue to go about their daily lives without ever having to learn English.

“Multiculturalism was manipulated to entrench the right to difference – which is a divisive concept. What we need is the right to equal treatment despite difference.”

On Sharia law:

If Williams meant that different communities should have different laws, then that would be “dangerous and illiberal”, the Tory leader said.

The introduction of sharia law for Muslims would be “the logical endpoint of the now discredited doctrine of state multiculturalism”, he said.

He went on: “It would alienate other communities who would resent this preferential treatment. It would provide succour to the separatists who want to isolate and divide communities from the mainstream.

“And it would – crucially – weaken, destabilise and demoralise those Muslims who embrace liberal values and desperately want to integrate fully in British society.”

Cameron said that “state multiculturalism” led to people accepting different cultural behaviour, even if it contravened human rights.

This not only shows his ignorance of Sharia law and its role, but is full of contradictions and huge assumptions. He seems to be inferring that segregation in our towns and cities is based on race and religion, without factoring in economic and social issues. It appears he’s putting the onus on the minority to integrate with the ‘mainstream’, but doesn’t seem to be aware of, or sympathetic to any challenges or obstacles they may face.

Is he actually proposing assimilation rather than integration? Does he expect immigrants, and children or grandchildren of immigrants to abandon all trace of their cultural heritage and identity? What exactly is he suggesting?

Something that really confuses and annoys me is the idea of a British culture, with British values and British identity. Am I alone in wondering what on earth this concept looks or feels like? I mean, I accept that there are character and personality traits that what the BNP would call indigenous British people have in common. The stereotypical stiff upper lip, don’t cause a scene, carry on regardless attitude. The inability to express emotion overtly. The permanently apologetic, awkward person. But even this is a rather outdated and romantic cliché, which fails to acknowledge individual differences.

Are my culture, values and identity identical to those of every other British person? Of course not. How could a married father of two, living in a predominantly white, but ethnically mixed, working class suburb of Cardiff have anything in common with a single, Oxbridge educated man, living in Chelsea? My lifestyle and experiences are worlds apart from many people living on my street. All I could reliably guess I share common ground with most male neighbours on are an interest in football and possibly similar musical tastes. Does a farmer in rural Scotland have an identical culture to an unemployed single mother living on a council estate high-rise in inner city London? Then how can an immigrant adopt a certain culture and a set of values that are supposedly uniquely British, when the ‘indigenous’ British people already have varying cultures, identities, values and moral codes? That’s before you start taking into account British Italians, Greeks, Jamaicans etc that have been part of our society for generations. Is there something I’m missing? Is my definition of culture different to David Cameron’s?  Here’s the Wikipedia definition.

  • An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning
  • The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group

The word multicultural suggests that there are several sets of the above criteria in existence in Britain. But how can that be as a result of race, nationality, faith or ethnicity, when people of the same race will naturally have different goals, attitudes, values, behaviours and practices already? What if we narrow down and simplify the criteria to positive values that the majority of us have in common, and the rights we hold dear? Regard for the law, free speech, democracy, tolerance and equality? That’s enough to be getting along with. Is Cameron suggesting that immigrants and Muslims already living here don’t share these values? Is he implying that all ‘indigenous’ Britons do exhibit these values? To suggest either is not only inaccurate, but extremely insulting. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt on this one for now. Let’s assume that what he means by multiculturalism is, a variety of people from different ethnic backgrounds, maintaining their cultural identity, within a society that accepts their difference. As Wikipedia puts it:

The appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, usually at the organizational level, e.g. schools, businesses, neighbourhoods, cities or nations. In this sense multiculturalism approximates to respect for diversity.

The term may also describe people who have more than one culture in them (people who grew up with more than one cultural identity, also sometimes called bicultural).

If he’s claiming that this concept has failed in Britain, he must also accept that there cannot be true multiculturalism without the acceptance and respect of the host nation’s population. If that’s the case, Britain has failed multiculturalism. I don’t buy that for one second. Britain has welcomed immigrants from former colonies and beyond for decades, and they have played their part in transforming this country into a diverse and vibrant society, that has produced unique cultural phenomena. Multiculturalism in Britain has given us 2 Tone, Drum n Bass, Grime, Dubstep, M.I.A, Balti and Chicken Tikka Masala, as a direct result of the melting pot of cultures, styles and tastes.

No ones claiming Britain to be a utopian cross between a Benetton advert and The Truman Show. There are tensions, and some may indeed manifest themselves along ethnic or racial lines. There may well be issues within certain communities that are particular to a certain faith or nationality. But to present these issues with inaccurate information, and use them to justify unnecessary criticism of the Muslim community, and quite possibly introduce policies that target them unfairly, is disgraceful. Would assimilation eradicate social problems? No. The people who have issues with cultures and customs they see as alien to our society, would simply find another reason to discriminate, be it colour, religion, nationality or anything else that sets people apart from the ‘indigenous’.

In a poll conducted for the BBC in 2009, people were asked to agree or disagree with the statement “Our laws should respect and be influenced by UK religious values”. The proportion of Muslims who agreed (79 per cent) was higher than for Christians themselves (70 per cent). In a survey by the Centre for Social Cohesion, and ironically used selectively by the Daily Mail to portray British Muslims as condoning killing in the name of Islam, found that 89% of those surveyed said women should be treated equally, with only 5% disagreeing, only 25% had an issue with homosexuality, nearly 80% said it was possibly to be equally Muslim and British, 92% had a range of friends across cultural boundaries, and nearly 80% had respect for Jews (with only 7% expressing disrespect), while a similar number respected Atheists. More than 70% said they were more liberal than their parents. Is this an indication that as Cameron states;

“We have failed to provide a vision of society [to young Muslims] to which they feel they want to belong,” and “We have even tolerated segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to our values. All this leaves some young Muslims feeling rootless. And the search for something to belong to and believe in can lead them to extremist ideology.”?

It wouldn’t appear so. Is he really this out of touch and badly informed? Or is it the start of something altogether more sinister?

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