Leslie Seavor has emailed me saying:
How dare you insult the EDL on Twitter! You know nothing about it or its members.
I’m a member. I’m not far right… Just keep your moronic prejudice to yourself.
Well yes, I dare.
There is ample evidence that the English Defence League (EDL) is a far-Right racist organisation. Even if some of its members are not (and if not what are they doing there?), that doesn’t change the politics and ethos of the EDL. It’s like telling me you’e a pro-woman Islamist. Well, good for you, but that doesn’t change the realities of the Islamic movement and it does raise the question of why you remain in and defend a misogynist movement. Clearly you must agree.
In fact, I know the EDL better than most. I’ve and met with ex-EDL members and co-authored a report for One Law for All called Enemies not Allies: The Far Right which gives evidence on why we make this claim.
In the report, we write:
While the English Defence League purports to be a pluralist movement, its actions and the opinions of its leadership betray an unwillingness to distinguish between Muslims and Islamists and reveal a desire to target Muslims en masse. Its rallies often descend into violence and arrests. While the EDL officially opposes ‘Nazi infiltration’ of its activities, their events are frequently attended by members of Blood & Honour, Combat 18 and the BNP. Neo-Nazis have also been recognised as organisers and ‘official stewards’ of their events.
The EDL has made use of ‘non-white’ persons sympathetic to its cause to insulate it from accusations of racism. However, its British Sikh spokesperson Guramit Singh has made racist and anti-Muslim comments online, as well as at EDL rallies. He has also stated that he believes most Muslims support ‘extremism’. Its leader Tommy Robinson has spoken of England’s ‘Apartheid’ system and its ‘oppression’ of English people, making threats and abusive remarks which differ in tone from his televised statements.
Any impartial observer who genuinely wants to know more about the EDL should read our report and why the European or American far-Right is similar to Islamism – they are two sides of the same coin.
The far-Right and Islamists have similar ideologies, characteristics, and aims. Both rely on religion. Both use a language of hate and are extremely xenophobic, misogynist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic. Both rely on indiscriminate violence and terrorism to intimidate the population at large. They are dogmatic and punish free thinkers and dissenters. They use threats and scaremongering to push forward their agenda. Both are vehemently anti-working class and the Left. They believe in the superiority of their views and culture and deal harshly with anyone who transgresses… The world they have in mind is equally bleak, segregated, hateful and inhuman.
And whilst there are obvious differences within far-Right and Islamist groups as there are in any phenomenon, the differences are not fundamental. The ‘hate cleric’ Anjem Choudhary supports stoning to death as do more ‘liberal’ Islamists like Tariq Ramadan. The ‘liberals’ have merely adapted their language to better dupe public opinion. The same is true with the European far-Right. There is fundamentally little difference between Anders Behring Breivik’s Knights Templar and the EDL or Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE). What they want is the same; the language they use is different. The EDL and SIOE are merely better at duping the public.
You can read more about their similarities here.
As is clear from Lesley’s email, there is yet another similarity. Both deem any criticism an “insult” and a form of “prejudice”… But prejudice is against people and not beliefs and political movements and ideologies.
In the real world, criticism is called free expression and this is politics after all. If you can’t stand the heat, get out. Otherwise why not defend your organisation’s racism? It would be more honest.
Finally, if you honestly aren’t a racist and are surprised to hear what we have reported on the EDL, well I’d suggest you leave immediately and join campaigns like One Law for All.
Others have done so, including ex-EDL members who are now anti-racist activists whilst also being anti-Sharia and Islamism and ex-BNP-ers. In fact one of One Law for All’s very good activists is a former high-up member of the BNP, Alistair Barbour now blogs about the far-Right including on the One Law for All site. You can see his excellent posts here.
By the way, CEMB member and founder of the Northern Ex-Muslim Meetup Group, Sandbad, recently posted a guest post on Alistair’s blog entitled “Righteousness in Islam and BNP“.