Some further disturbing facts about the English Defence League (EDL) have recently come to light:
1. It turns out that one of the EDL’s founders, Richard Price, has a criminal record for downloading child pornography. Police discovered multiple images on Price’s computer when they raided his home after he had broken police lines and engaged in threatening behaviour at an EDL rally (for which he was jailed for 3 months). Price later admitted to downloading child pornography and was placed on the Sex Offenders Register. To make matters even worse, the EDL’s current leader Stephen Yaxley Lennon (aka “Tommy Robinson”) actually attempted to defend him, and only backtracked after an outcry from other EDL members who had become aware of Price’s actions.
Stephen Yaxley Lennon himself, an ex-BNP member and a convicted criminal who is actually the son of Irish immigrants to England, is of course now on record as admitting to being vehemently hostile towards Islam in general, not just extremist interpretations of the faith (ie. “militant Islam”). He publicly confirmed his stance when he was interviewed by the BBC’s Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight in February 2011.
2. The EDL has links to the Jewish Task Force (JTF), a Far-Right American organisation whose leader Victor Vancier is a convicted terrorist on multiple counts of attacking targets in the United States. Until 1978, Vancier was the national chairman of the “Jewish Defense League”, which the FBI has formally designated as a terrorist organisation. Vancier is banned from entering Israel due to his affiliations with the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, the founder of the Jewish Defense League. The leader of the EDL’s “Jewish Division”, Roberta Moore, has stated on her Facebook page that the EDL intends to work with the JTF; her comment also included a URL link to an audio file on the JTF’s website, in which Vancier confirmed that the EDL had contacted the JTF and that they have agreed that they want to work together on “joint projects”.
3. Numerous photographs of the EDL’s “Birmingham Division” have become publicly available, several of which can be seen below. The EDL members involved are posing (apparently with firearms) in front of a number of flags, one of which is associated with the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). The UVF is a loyalist paramilitary group in Northern Ireland which is banned in the Republic of Ireland and is formally designated as a terrorist organisation in the United Kingdom. From 1966 until it officially ended its armed campaign in 2007, the UVF engaged in numerous acts of violence including multiple bombings, ultimately killing more than 480 people, the vast majority of whom were Catholic civilians.
At the time of writing, the EDL plans to hold a demonstration in Birmingham on 19 March 2011.
Sunny’s Update: I’ve changed the headline slightly to be clear about the nature of the conviction.
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Filed in: EDL,Race politics,Terrorism