Movement, United Kingdom

Counteracting islamophobia

Various experts, politicians and activists consider the English Defence League (EDL) an islamophobic and racist organisation based on their rejecting of Islamic culture. The EDL was formed in 2009, from a group called the “United People of Luton”, as a party based on extreme right-wing ideology.

Led by ex-member of the British National Party (BNP), ‘Tommy Robinson’, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley Lennon, the EDL is linked with this political party and also has branches in Scotland and Wales.

It is characterised by nationalist, racist and islamophobic views and is formed in great part by groups of hooligans; organised football fanatics who are characterised by their use of violence.

To protest against the foreseen meeting this group has organised in the city of Luton, near London, ‘Unite Against Fascists’ and ‘Stop Racism and Fascism Network’ are going to demonstrate peacefully on the same day, next 5th of February. Their objective: to show their discord to the extreme right-wing organisation.

Although they are proud to have people of Muslim and black origin amongst their members and they deny being of a Nazi ideology, what is certain is that their demonstrations campaigning against Muslim immigrants in England are usually earmarked with aggression towards immigrants and Muslims and they accompany their “philosophy” with acts of violence.

The groups and people that oppose the ideas of the EDL point out that although this organisation claims to protest only against Islamic extremism, the overall message it conveys is opposition towards all Islamic culture.

Inherent to the group are the islamophobic views promoted by the Dutch parliamentary populist Geert Wilders of the Party for Freedom (PVV), whose objective is, as he has demonstrated in the past, “to fight against the islamisation of Europe”.

Wilders is known for his islamophobic views although occasionally he has pointed out that his political motive is against Islamic ideology, but not against Muslims. In 2008 he made a video, broadcasted on the internet, in which there are continual references to Islamic extremism and images alternating with verses from the Koran. Information: Saturday, 5th February, 12.00 p.m to 15.00 p.m

(Traducido por Piers Jarvis – piersjarvis@hotmail.com)

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