This is a response to a response to an earlier blog post of mine.
Firstly I have to say I’m amazed that someone who’s clearly an intellectual cut above the usual </aEDL thug is attempting to make a case for said organisation being a human rights group. Either you are being monumentally naive or extremely dishonest. Secondly I’ll address the charge that I imply “we can ignore Islamic human rights violations” and I “would prefer them to be quietly swept under the carpet”. This is a typical right-wing response to what is simply pointing out the hypocrisy and double standards, of a group highlighting the wrongdoings of a certain section of society, whilst the same crimes are being committed within their own. I’m not the one demonising an entire community of people here, if it wasn’t for the EDL and their ilk being hellbent on creating a fear of a non-existent threat, there would be no need for people like me to redress the balance.
Next, and this is a good one, is the feeble attempt to absolve the EDL of any semblance of guilt by association or incitement. The claim that “the EDL doesn’t have any members, it only has supporters” will come as a huge surprise to the thousands of people who believe they are members of a movement, not just supporters of an abstract concept or political ideology. Unless you are part of the leadership you have no authority to make such a claim. And what of the leadership? Are the people who actually founded and lead the EDL members or merely supporters of an intangible set of ideals (sharia?)? What if we just use them as a measure of how credible the claims to be a human rights organisation are?
Courtesy of Exposing Racism and Intolerance online & Hope not Hate.
The leader and founder Steven Yaxley Lennon
In 2004 he joined the BNP with a family membership. In the same year he assaulted an off-duty police officer who intervened to stop a domestic incident between Yaxley-Lennon and his partner Jenna Vowles. During the scuffle Yaxley-Lennon kicked the officer in the head.
He was convicted on 18 April 2005 for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, for which he was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, and assault with intent to resist arrest, for which he received a concurrent term of three months.
Vowles, also a BNP member, was cautioned for possession of cocaine. She told the court that the she found two empty bags in her house and was taking them out so that her parents did not find them.
Kevin Carroll is considered to be one of the founding fathers of the EDL. In July he lost his appeal against his conviction for shouting abuse at Islamic protesters at the Luton homecoming parade for the Royal Anglian Regiment. It was the events in Luton in March 2009 that prompted the EDL’s formation.
He insists he is not racist, yet he revealed in a BBC documentary, Young, British and Angry, that he had signed the nomination papers in the 2007 Luton council elections for Robert Sherratt, a BNP candidate and activist in the tiny nazi November 9th Society. Carroll apparently was very keen to stand as a BNP candidate himself but was prevented by his partner’s intervention.
You know what, ive got an inkling the profit muhammed was really a bit of a adultering, raping, hate preaching looting Cunt!! Anyone agree, or is it just me????
The muzzies wanna keep away from me im just looking for an excuse im fucked off at the mo fuck the pakis … i just think we shud burn the cunts now!!
[Comment aimed at a Muslim who insulted the EDL] hey amir how many times have u fucked your sister today, ure all a bunch of pedos, piss off back to pakistan!!
“God bless the Christians, Jews, Sikhs, even God bless the Muslims — they’ll need it when they’re burning in fucking hell.”
Has served three jail terms for violence, including a two-year sentence in 1989 for stabbing two Manchester United fans.
Joel Titus – EDL Youth Division Leader
A prominent member of the English Defence League admitted his part in a mass brawl between Brentford and Leyton Orient fans in London. Joel Titus, was among rival supporters who clashed in a a pre-arranged meeting on the final day of last season, on May 8, at Liverpool Street station.”
Joel Titus gets ASBO preventing him from attending EDL protests for the next three years.
A leader of the English Defence League who was described as a “political prisoner” after being jailed for violence at a march had already been placed on the sex offenders register for downloading indecent images of children.
Price, 41, had been convicted in June 2010 of making four indecent images of children, and possessing cocaine and crack cocaine.
An earlier arrest in 2009 for public order offences believed to have been connected with EDL marches.
Roberta Moore, notorious Kahanist , Islamophobe and close ally of Zionist Federation Co Vice-Chair Jonathan Hoffman, announced that her three-member strong “Jewish Division” is now closely working with American far-right group, the Jewish Task Force (JTF), whose leader Victor Vancier served a five-year prison sentence for bomb attacks against Soviet targets in America in response for the USSR’s alleged mistreatment of Soviet Jews.
Show me another human rights organisation with a leadership structure with these types of characters. If these are the most senior and influential members of the EDL how does that fit into the ethos of a human right group?
Here’s another beauty.
“As the mission statement makes clear, the changes required need to come largely from within the Islamic community.”
Not once, on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, television or radio interviews, from ‘supporters’ and leaders alike have I ever seen or heard the suggestion that the solution must come from within the Muslim community. In fact I have yet to see any constructive advice at all. I have seen chants of “Burn a poppy, we’ll burn a mosque”, “We all hate Muslims”, “Who the fuck is Allah”, “Allah is a paedo”, “Muslim paedos off our street”, “We want our country back”, “You’re not English any more” etc. Divisive and offensive slogans sang by hundreds of ‘supporters’ at every demo without the intervention of other ‘supporters’ or stewards.
This one is a peach.
“Suggestions that as an entity, EDL should present recommendations would only be construed as imposing things.”
The EDL don’t want to be seen as imposing things on the Muslim community? How very British. Let’s just take that in for a moment. The EDL, out of meekness or diplomacy don’t want to impose, but feel it’s their place to call for a ban on the burka? They don’t want to be construed as treading on anyone’s toes, but will protest halal food outside KFC for a whole week? Their leader is happy to call for the halt of mosque building and Muslim immigration, but doesn’t want to impose? Why organise demos in Luton, Bradford or Oldham where there are large Muslim communities, at huge expense to the taxpayer and against the wishes of the locals if you don’t want to impose? As I said your either being naive or dishonest.
“The mention of origins of majority of Muslims shows that once again racism is being used (wrongly again) as a charge to try and stifle any debate.”
*Sigh* This tired old right-wing cliché again. This one is wheeled out every time the truth becomes a little too uncomfortable. The irony is that it’s this statement that usually leads to the end of the debate, not the accusation of racism. It never seems to be followed by any convincing argument for why they couldn’t possibly be racist. Is it a just wild coincidence that a group formed and lead by BNP members, convicted hooligans and terrorist sympathisers attracts other violent racists as supporters.
“As for the ‘type of people’ the EDL attracts, some people are less articulate than others (that is more a reflection on the British school system over the past decades) on the subject of Islam but they have a right to their opinion and it is still valid.”
This is a weak and disingenuous argument. Don’t try to pass off the failure of people to express their objections to a ‘barbaric, totalitarian, political doctrine’ as a lack of education. Have a browse of the 1,300 screen captures compiled here if you honestly think it is to do with anything other than racism. Before you use the Muslims aren’t a race card, read my thoughts on that first.
I’m not sure how you’re defining the ‘Muslim problem’, but here is my take. This is what I had to say about Cameron’s multiculturalism speech. Some thoughts on collective guilt here. You have already read my piece on sharia.
Another question for you to consider. If the EDL genuinely advocate human rights, how do they explain throwing their support behind Israeli and Zionist organisations? Israel has perpetrated more violations of international law than every other nation combined, and consistently ignore UN rulings. The EDL would be the only human rights organisation on the planet that not only don’t condemn Israeli expansion but actively support it.
“Also, some of the sources quoted by you are hardly what one might describe as impartial. Most have fairly extreme agendas of their own and that has certainly influenced the presentation.”
This one is going to be fun. The sources I have quoted are either concerned with news or opposing bigotry. Any agenda they have is either in reporting fact or exposing racial hatred. If you think that’s extreme, that says more about you than it does about them. If the details were libelous action would have been taken. As you say, the presentation may be influenced, but you don’t challenge the veracity of the contents. Speaking of impartial sources with extreme agendas, I notice that you provide a link to Jihadwatch in your twitter profile. You may not see the irony here so I’ll do my best to make it obvious. Let’s start with Robert Spencer himself, the anti-Muslim ideologue who runs the site. Here’s what some renowned scholars and experts have to say about him.
“Spencer’s readers are carefully steered away from all contact with the Islamic interpretative tradition, which equals or exceeds that of any other religion, because any scholarly knowledge about Islam would expose all his extremist interpretations to ridicule.”
- Robert Crane, (Ex-Nixon Aide, author)
“[Robert Spencer] has no academic training in Islamic studies whatsoever; his M.A. degree was in the field of early Christianity”
“The publications of Spencer belong to the class of Islamophobic extremism that is promoted and supported by right-wing organizations, who are perpetuating a type of bigotry similar to anti-Semitism and racial prejudice. They are to be viewed with great suspicion by anyone who wishes to find reliable and scholarly information on the subject of Islam.”
- Carl Ernst (Islamic Scholar UNC)
“[Robert Spencer] uses the Internet to spread misinformation and hatred of Islam and presents a ‘skewed, one-sided, and inflammatory story that only helps to sow the seed of civilizational conflict’.”
– Benazir Bhutto (Late Prime Minister of Pakistan)
“When it comes to Robert Spencer scholars of Islamic studies outright dismiss him and his body of work. They call him an unreliable ideologue at best and a divisive bigot at worst.”
- Michael Kruse (Writer St. Petersburg Times)
“After looking at your website, I was quite surprised to see how much hate, venom and misunderstanding you are fostering.”
- M. Cherif Bassiouni (Law Professor, Scholar, Humanitarian)
“Robert Spencer is an extremist, right-wing anti-Muslim rabble rouser.”
- Robert Dreyfuss (Nation Magazine Editor, Contributor to Rolling Stone and Mother Jones)
“Mr. Spencer espouses a view of Islam as a system of belief which is essentially violent, undemocratic, totalitarian, exclusive and at war with all non-Muslims. Mr. Spencer in fact goes as far as to equate Islam with fascism.”
- Group of ALA Librarians, scholars and academics
“There is no doubt The Little King [Robert Spencer] ‘plagiarized,’ and therefore is a ‘plagiarist’.”
- Andrew Bostom (Close friend, ally and blog collaborator)
“Robert Spencer is an anti-Muslim blogger…And yes, I do mean ‘anti-Muslim’ — Spencer long ago crossed the line from simply criticizing radical Islamists to relentlessly demonizing all Muslims. And the bigoted, hateful comments he allows at his website are beyond disgusting.”
– Charles Johnson (Former Ally, Friend and Blog Collaborator)
“Spencer’s historical argument is dubious. It emphasizes violent passages in the Koran, while downplaying the passages that urge peace and goodwill. It applies a moral standard to Islamic empires that certainly could not be met by the Roman empire or the empires established by the Portuguese, the Spanish, the French and the British. In the Spain of Ferdinand and Isabella, for example, Jews had three choices: convert to Christianity, leave the country, or be killed. No Muslim empire legislated or systematically enforced such a policy toward its religious minorities.”
“Spencer glibly jumps over entire centuries in linking, say, the savagery of the Ottomans in Constantinople with the savagery of Hezbollah in Lebanon or the Taliban in Afghanistan.”
- Dinesh D’Souza (Conservative scholar, pundit and author)
“According to Mr. Spencer, Judeo-Christianity is fundamentally and qualitatively superior to Islam, so to suggest that there could be a degenerative least-common-denominator into which all three religions could converge under any conditions, reeks of cultural relativism, because it denies Judeo-Christianity’s irreducible superiority.”
“I find it curious that Robert Spencer closes both eyes to atrocities perpetrated by Serbs, because if it had only been Muslims on their receiving end, I would understand now (but of coursenot justify it) seeing where Spencer is coming from, but Serbs have also fought against Croats and Slovenes —their fellow Christians. Yet he takes the side of the most historically aggressive representatives of his own ‘Religion of Peace.’ Could it be that while ostensibly and quite irrationally denying any violence within Christianity, he in fact secretly and perhaps subconsciously admiresviolent Christianity?”
- Kejda Gjermani (Commentary Magazine author)
“Robert Spencer, a prolific anti-Islam writer and a leading Islamophobe who is bent on distorting Islam and demonizing Muslims, has persistently argued that violence and terrorism employed by Muslim extremists is rooted in the Quran and its message. Spencer calls the Quran, a book sacred to Muslim, ‘the jihadists’ Mein Kampf,’ in reference to Hitler’s memoir.”
- Louay M. Safi (Islamic Scholar)
“The widespread ignorance about Islam in the West makes many vulnerable to Spencer’s polemic; he is telling them what they are predisposed to hear. His book is a gift to extremists who can use it to ‘prove’ to those Muslims who have been alienated by events in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq that the west is incurably hostile to their faith.”
- Karen Armstrong (Author)
“Spencer thinks, ‘Islamist fundamentalist drive European politics’.”
“Spencer and Bat Ye’or “lack academic seriousness.”
- Ivan Jablonka (Scholar)
“Words like Islamophobia and phrases like anti-Muslim bigotryare bandied about too liberally…But the real thing does exist, and it frequently takes the cover of anti-jihadism. Jihad Watch…traffics fairly openly in such stuff.”
- Cathy Young (Writer with Reason Magazine)
Hasn’t started well has it? What about the content of the site.
Well there was that time when a series of bomb attacks hit India in 2007 & 2008. Without hesitation or a shred of evidence, Spencer claimed it was the work of a Bangladeshi jihadist group. Lo and behold, it then transpires that the attacks were carried out by a Hindu group, with no retraction or correction on Jihadwatch.
Then there was the case of the Muslim terrorist on a Maltese flight last year, who was praying in the aisle with a suspect package. Except it turns out he was a Christian. A West Indian, dreadlocked Christian with a funny accent, but a Christian all the same. This particular story was deleted from Jihadwatch.
What about the infamous Gaza mass child bride extravaganza? Who could forget that? A field day for Islamophobes and Zionists. A photograph emerged in which numerous grooms were accompanied by primary school age girls dressed as brides. You can imagine the headlines. Yet again, this myth was busted by someone who was actually present. The young girls were the cousins and nieces of the grooms. But hey, they’re Muslims, you wouldn’t put it past them would you?
There’s the fact that Spencer uses a bogus translator to manipulate Arabic texts to suit his agenda. In one instance he reported a Fatwa giving Muslims permission to have sex with pre-pubescent girls, when in fact the true translation showed that the Fatwa was intended to do the exact opposite. The full read is absolutely ‘you couldn’t make it up’, facepalm material.
There was the time Spencer was revealed to be the owner of ‘hate URLs’ fuckislam.com and fuckallah.com only to delete them when exposed. Impartial source?
Don’t forget the time he accidentally joined a genocidal Facebook group. That could have looked really bad.
There are volumes upon volumes of work, comprehensively debunking Spencer’s dishonesty. Here is a start.
Robert Spencer and the disappearing articles
Robert Spencer’s “Scholarly” Credentials
On Spencer’s Credentials and Methodology
Understanding Jihad – Answers to Spencer’s The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades)
“Fascist-Islamophobia”: A Case Study in Totalitarian Demonization – Five part series debunking Spencer’s written work.
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Robert Spencer – A huge resource of responses and rebuttals of Spencer’s statements.
It seems to me that you are either oblivious to the reality of what the EDL is or just trying to pull the wool over my eyes. It won’t work. If you truly believe that the EDL mission statement is sincere, and a representation of what they stand for maybe I have overestimated your intelligence. I wonder if you can even see the irony of an EDL member using a piece of text as the true representation of what they believe in when an extreme element of their membership is found to be violent and bigoted, and the whole organisation comes under fire? Does it sound familiar?
Some areas of Islam may indeed be in need of reform, and the will to do so must come from within the community. But if the EDL mission statement is the true reflection of its values, intentions and actions, I argue that they are in need of larger reforms, from top to bottom. Either that or you need to admit that it’s just an exercise in disingenuous public relations, get off the bandwagon, and start your own peaceful human rights organisation. All the EDL has succeeded in doing is driving a wedge between themselves and the Muslim community, and creating further hostility. If Islam is going to reform some of its aspects, young, Westernised Muslims will be at the forefront. The EDL is only alienating them at present, and fostering a climate of suspicion, resentment and hate.