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    Was it al-Muhajiroun that turned Harrow nasty?

    by Sunny on 13th September, 2009 at 5:22 PM    

    The Independent’s Jerome Taylor has a really good blog entry on what happened in Harrow on Friday.

    His main point is that despite the best efforts of the Harrow Mosque management and many people who came to defend the mosque, there were some who wanted trouble. Among these were the predictable self-publicists (extremists) al-Muhajiroun.

    But as the sun began to set it was clear anger amongst a small but hardcore number of Asian youths was building. Shortly after the 15 anti-Muslims were carted off in a police van for their own safety (about 5:45pm) I and a number of other journalists watched Asian youths, many of them masked, throw bottles, rocks and fireworks at riot police. The chants of “F##k the BNP [sic]” had quickly changed to “F##k the police”.

    It is important to point out that every time objects were thrown at the police there was a much larger group of people calling on the violent demonstrators to protest peacefully and return to the mosque. One young man in a yellow hi-vis jacket was particularly brave, wading into the crowd on numerous occasions to try and persuade leading troublemakers to calm down. At one point a group of men tried to drive a commercial bin into the police lines but were stopped by fellow protestors. When one group of men turned on me and The Times’ Fiona Hamilton, others stepped in to help us.

    However, as these confrontations continued throughout the evening it soon became apparent that the angry skirmishes with the police were going to become the main story

    Now I’ve said this before - the media cannot be ignored. And just because the Daily Mail journos will turn up to take pictures of angry Muslim men, while ignoring the fascists from the EDL, doesn’t mean that we excuse what happened. The people who attend these counter-demonstrations need to be controlled and disciplined otherwise they give everyone a bad name. And if some idiots are throwing rocks at the police, that inevitably means the media narrative will change.

    Right now most of the media is not giving the EDL an easy ride, because it’s obvious they’re full of football hooligans and straightforward fascists from the BNP and National Front. But Ajmal Masroor was completely right in saying that if a dog bites you then you don’t retaliate by biting the dog.
    Jerome Taylor adds:

    The media are obliged to lead on the most newsworthy angle and the violent protests against the police lasted longer, were angrier and involved more people than the anti-Muslim protest so it had to be covered prominently.

    Unfortunately, this is exactly what the EDL and their kind wanted. They had come to provoke young Asian men into masking their faces and throwing rocks so that their actions would also be pictured - that way they can return to their supporters and say “Look, we can’r even protest in our own country without having rocks hurled at us”.

    Al Muhajoroun will also be happy because they will now be able to persuade more young followers that there can never be a compromise with the kuffar (their leader Anjem Choudhary has just posted a video to that effect).

    Overall the vast majority of protestors were peaceful. The person who summed it up best was Tony McNulty, the Labour MP for Harrow, who was watching the skirmishes unfold.

    “For many of these teenagers what they are doing is simply an expression of frustration brought on by the original threat of a protest outside the mosque,” he said. “Emotions are running a little high. But the vast majority of people protesting on both sides are not even from here. A load of young teenagers chasing ghosts should not detract from an overwhelmingly peaceful and multi-racial protest which stopped fascist groups from targetting Harrow.”

    Tony McNulty is completely right. But the people who will exploit these disturbances - the religious extremists, the fascists and their enablers in the mainstream press - have been given a boon to push their narratives. Hence, I don’t like the ‘ha ha, we chased them away‘ narrative - the UAF side has to be extremely disciplined to win the media and public opinion narrative. They cannot ignore it as if it is irrelevant.

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    1. Amar Twink

      [...] post is from here. Visit the link to read more.Do you understand his pain? jookymundo — on 14th September, 2009 at [...]

    1. Leon — on 13th September, 2009 at 5:34 PM  

      Sunny, seems to me you’re whispering in a storm…

    2. Mr Eugenides — on 13th September, 2009 at 5:49 PM  

      Good post, and fully agreed.

    3. Refresh — on 13th September, 2009 at 6:25 PM  

      Tony McNulty should now go back to his ministers and get them to follow his example.

      And they’d better move quick.

    4. Anon — on 13th September, 2009 at 6:28 PM  

      “a really good blog entry on what happened in Harrow on Friday”

      How do you know that, Sunny? You weren’t even in Harrow on Friday.

      “Among these were the predictable self-publicists (extremists) al-Muhajiroun.”

      This is laughable. Hundreds of Muslim youth chased the EDL out of Harrow. The al-Muhajiroun contingent at the demo were a tiny minority.

    5. Anon — on 13th September, 2009 at 6:36 PM  

      “Was it al-Muhajiroun that turned Harrow nasty?”

      Just add. What a stupid pillock you are sometimes, Sunny.

    6. jookymundo — on 13th September, 2009 at 7:59 PM  

      I was at the counter demo and most of the guys causing the trouble were youngsters maybe 18/19 years old, pretty uncontrollable.

      They know as well as I do that no matter how the protest progressed the media would have portrayed us as militants/ fundamentalists.

      The real amount of violence was really minimal, and personally I think we Muslims showed a lot of restraint, If we had really wanted to take our anger out on the Police they would have known it, however the majority of the guys showed maturity and restraint.

      Many muslims received text messages, telling them not to go to Harrow on the 11th advising them it was a SIOE media stunt, to portray Muslims in negative light. However many people ignored this, as I think we have come to the realisation that no matter how we act the portryal of Muslims in the Media is pretty much always negative.

      I don’t think we care what the media portrays us as anymore, or how the average member of public views us.

      After 8 years we’re use to it, and we couldn’t give a toss.

    7. Sunny — on 13th September, 2009 at 8:04 PM  

      I don’t think we care what the media portrays us as anymore, or how the average member of public views us.

      Well, if you can’t understand how the media works, and how to use that to your advantage, then there’s little point in complaining that the media gives people a bad rep.

      In every situation its always going to be the minority that capture the headlines. That’s how the media works, which is why it’s important to have the discipline.

      How do you know that, Sunny? You weren’t even in Harrow on Friday.

      Because it’s a way better reading of the other crap I’ve read.

    8. douglas clark — on 13th September, 2009 at 8:05 PM  

      Anon, Whatever happened to the idea of reliable witnesses? Quite frankly why should anyone believe you were even there, what with you being ‘Anon’ and all. You could just be making it up as you go along. I’m more inclined to believe people who put their names to what they post, like Jermone Taylor amd Tony McNulty than you.

    9. johng — on 13th September, 2009 at 8:07 PM  

      Sorry posted this on the other thread unintentionally (I thought I was reading the bottom of this one):

      Reading comments by the likes of Camilla (thread below) I’m very much reminded of reading the hysterical hatred on south asian forums coming from Hindu communal fascists. This I think is one way to understand the backdrop to the appearence of the EDL. In terms of the presence of Islamic extremists I’m sure they would put in an appearence. All the more reason for liberals and the left not to leave people facing these threats by themselves. I’m also very much reminded, and others have already commented on this, on the kind of response which was widespread in the aftermath of Lewisham etc. Of course local black kids don’t much like or trust the police. Its a bit wierd to imagine that Muslim kids would be any different in this respect to others. Not wanting to really inflame some of our more conservative readers but there is almost something orientalist about this assumption. In terms of my experiance of being there I can only say that people are vastly overstating the importance of either the fundementalists and indeed any violence that did occur (just to state again: not a single injury reported). I’d add and re-emphasis that if people don’t want the EDP agenda to succede (as opposed to some of the commentators here who clearly share it) then its vitally important that people are not left to face these threats alone. Its true that the Mosque was calling for calm and its also true that a number of young people ignored these repeated calls. This had, as far as I could see, nothing at all to do with the handful of fundementalists hanging about, and everything to do with these kids not wanting the fascists to be allowed to march on the mosque and into their area. And I think this was a jolly good thing to.

      90. johng — on 13th September, 2009 at 7:51 pm
      Sorry I should clarify my remarks about Hindu communal fascists. I’m suggesting that the EDL very much resemble them, and that the wider current of islamophobic hatred repersented by those like Camilla is akin to that kind of communal fascism (which is not of course identical to racism but very quickly becomes hooked up to it). I am not suggesting that the EDL has connections with the RSS, BJP or Shiv Sena. Just that they look remarkably similar (in particular the latter).

    10. jookymundo — on 13th September, 2009 at 8:25 PM  

      What is there to understand about how the media works?

      Even if there had been no violence, pictures of a large crowds of youths wearing the keffiyeh arounds their necks or faces would have sufficed.

      No matter how hard the majority of muslims strive for a positive portrayal in the media, it is always drowned out by the usual rhetoric.

    11. Sunny — on 13th September, 2009 at 10:13 PM  

      No matter how hard the majority of muslims strive for a positive portrayal in the media, it is always drowned out by the usual rhetoric.

      In a lot of cases - but not all. What you’re saying is that Muslims shouldn’t bother working the media to their advantage. I think that’s short-termist and counter-productive.

    12. johng — on 13th September, 2009 at 10:42 PM  

      Another counter-productive day for the EDF:


    13. damon — on 13th September, 2009 at 10:50 PM  

      Leon @ 1

      ”Sunny, seems to me you’re whispering in a storm…”

      I think that Sunny’s points were good ones.
      The storm is really one of overeaction.

      So far, apart from the first Luton EDL protest, their numbers have been really small.
      It could get worse, but it hasn’t yet.

      Take a look at the footage of the Al-Quds demonstration in London from 2008.

      A pro Hezbollah event in its entirity it would seem.
      A similar one was held in London today.
      But nobody would support the idea of it being attacked.

      If Jewish youth turned up to attack it and try to drive it off the streets, we would all say it was the wrong thing to be doing.

      I think I can understand how the small minds of the EDL type people would look at this disparity of reaction. A pub full of their blokes shouting ”we want our country back” gets treated as a rerun of the Battle of Cable Street, whilst in the eveyday world of normal England, Islamists have a free reign to walk about and say what they like with total impunity.

      Maybe people who go on the Al-Quds demonstrations or to Islam Expo have to explain to the wider British public what these things are about.

    14. douglas clark — on 13th September, 2009 at 11:03 PM  



      EDL type chaps also have complete free reign to walk about and say what they like with total impunity. You are increasingly becoming rather too understanding of white bigotry.

      There is a desire to sensationalise - on both sides. Sensible people see through it.

      The whole bloody point about a democracy is that all points of view should be heard, and that our decisions based on that debate should be private. And not subject to threat from mobs, whether white or brown or purple.

      Least, that’s what I think.

    15. johng — on 13th September, 2009 at 11:08 PM  

      Well the main difference being that demonstraters on Al Quds day don’t march on places of religious worship, don’t physically assault people whenever there isn’t a police presence or sufficiant numbers of demonstraters to put them off, and don’t pose a threat to public safety whenever they organise events. They are an organisation currently organising through an outfit called casuals united which seeks to link up different firms of football hooligans. I think that just about covers the difference. They are organising to attack people whenever they hold a demonstration. Hence the attention from the Police, hence also the attention from anti-fascists, hence also why local communities faced with their unwanted arrival organise to defend themselves.

    16. Not a sheep — on 13th September, 2009 at 11:14 PM  

      I seem to remember the Daily Mail calling them fascists.

    17. johng — on 13th September, 2009 at 11:16 PM  

      similar one was held in London today.
      But nobody would support the idea of it being attacked.

      Wrong. The EDL would like to. “We want our country back”. Whose taken it away? I had’nt noticed it disapearing or anything.

    18. Roger — on 13th September, 2009 at 11:19 PM  

      The sad thing about this whole Harrow episode is that groups like the EDL now have an excellent template for success thanks to the opposition protestors.

      Their aim of course is to do everything they can to make Moslems and Islam look bad so what better way to do so than hyping up a protest somewhere then just wait for the UAF and their lovely friends to turn up and do the rest for them.

      Mobs chanting ‘Allah O Akbar’ whilst charging and throwing missiles at the Police last week was the best recruiting campaign these anti-Moslem groups could have wished for.

    19. douglas clark — on 13th September, 2009 at 11:31 PM  

      Roger @ 18,

      That seems to be the name of the game.

      But you can’t really expect wains with mobile phones to be disciplined, can you? In fact, I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that we oughtn’t to want or expect it?

      What a load of rubbish. There parents should have been there with them and kept them under control.

    20. KB Player — on 13th September, 2009 at 11:37 PM  

      OK, I haven’t seen any of the media coverage of this, but I would have thought that the EDL would be portrayed in the media as football hooligan types, who are generally regarded as a shameful bunch. And that anyone with half a brain cell knows that their demos against “islamic extremism” means “muslims in general”. So if a group of people going about their own religious business is menaced by football hooligan types, a violent reaction could be regarded with some sympathy, even by law ‘n’ order tabloids. After all The Sun thoroughly enjoyed Nick Griffin having eggs chucked at him.

      However, attacking the police doesn’t get good coverage as a rule.

    21. damon — on 14th September, 2009 at 12:53 AM  

      Douglas Clark, I hoped that’s not how I would come across, but was trying to see how those people might view things. It takes a lot of thinking to get your head around why large crowds of local muslims were turning up at the East London Mosque to hear Abdul Rahman al-Sudais speaking one evening last month.

      I think it’s beyond the EDL’s understanding actualy (and is a bit beyond mine too) - and my point has been, that given that cultural disconnect, some kind of reaction might have beeen expected sooner or later.

      Johong. They’re racists too I’m sure. (Or culturalists at least). They don’t really get that part of society who live amongst them who are very religious. And who fast and pray and think of the Ummah.

      Yes they’re a bunch of football hooligans, and therefore should be regarded like people with borderline learning difficulties, which the prisons are full of. They are a threat right now and have to be countered and stood up to some way, but still, might be worthy of some understanding.

      Whether going nuts whenever catching a glimpse of them is the right thing to do though, I’m not so sure.

      You see that Independent newspaper guy that Sunny mentioned at the top of this post?
      Like a liberal softie he tells how ”When one group of men turned on me and The Times’ Fiona Hamilton, others stepped in to help us.”

      So there’s a chance that if I’d been there I might have got beaten up because I look like some of those EDL blokes. It kind of puts me off going along to one of those counter-denonstrations in support of anti-fascism in the future.
      Or maybe the white people should be urged to stick close to some trades union or UAF group to make sure no one mistakes them for fascists..

    22. Random Guy — on 14th September, 2009 at 1:12 AM  

      Sunny @ 11: “I think that’s short-termist and counter-productive”.

      I think ‘jookymundo’ has a very good point. Engaging (as you say) with the media is to some extent allowing the debate to take place in their framework. It has been shown time and time again (esp. since 9/11) that vested interest groups are in charge of the content and type of stories that are written about Muslims in the mainstream media. Save for the internet, there is no other medium where this can be avoided.

      So why debate on their terms if it doesn’t make a difference? All the right-wing BS that has grown because of the typical coverage etc.

      Jookymundo, imo you have hit the nail squarely on the head there. I know what Sunny is trying to get at, but one of the interesting things to take from this is where can engagement occur? I believe that apart from the internet where ppl are actively seeking this kind of thing, it would be at the grassroots level.

    23. Katy Newton — on 14th September, 2009 at 1:38 AM  

      What you’re saying is that Muslims shouldn’t bother working the media to their advantage. I think that’s short-termist and counter-productive.

      I actually really sympathise with what Jookymundo says, to be honest. It’s very difficult. Either you don’t work the media, in which case you’re portrayed as a bunch of racist thugs, or you do try to work the media, in which case there’s a fairly good chance that you’ll be portrayed as a bunch of racist thugs employing cynical PR tactics to try to “sell” your EVIL FURRIN SECRET SHADOWY FINANCIAL WORLD CONSPIRACY OMG FURRIN BABYEATERS!1!. I can see exactly why people may think there’s no point in trying.

    24. Katy Newton — on 14th September, 2009 at 1:42 AM  

      Oh, also: I’ve never been to a demo that didn’t turn nasty and it’s why I no longer go. They are always 95% nice people espousing a cause and 5% thuggish troublemaker on either side, and it’s always the 5% of bottle throwing or fighting that gets the publicity and ruins it for everyone else. I have no doubt that al-Muhajiroun stirred like mad, you understand, but when I went to Criminal Justice Bill marches in the mid 90s there was always a small but unpleasant hard left/anarchist element who’d clearly turned up solely to spend the day chucking bottles at police horses, and it always ended up with everyone running for cover.

    25. johng — on 14th September, 2009 at 2:20 AM  

      Personally I think those who write in the media should be doing everything possible to mainstream the idea that protesting against people like the EDL is both reasonable and worth it. The current line which seems to be to create an atmosphere where the dominant tendency is a “plague on both your houses” is very dangerous as its something of a self-fullfilling prophesy. If you look at Leeds or Manchester unless there are large, representative and broad protests against these thugs its going to get nasty. Its going to get nasty because if you have gangs of street fighters attempting to intimidate people with impunity young people are going to resist them no matter what anyone says. They have to be stopped with numbers. Thats safer for everyone. If you isolate people under attack its going to make it ten times worse. John Denham does have a point about these people having a kind of political smartness about them. There really is a responsibility not to fall for the scare stories. Now if there is hostility to the press from elements in a crowd thats a shame. But you can only address that by turning greater numbers out. I’ve done my best to say what it was like on Friday. Whilst there were a few hair-em scare-em moments my experiance was that this was predominantly a product of no-one knowing what would happen. In Birmingham it was very bad because unlike the Met the Police just allowed these people to wander about without even an escort (on the second occassion they actually let them run at anti-fascist protesters without even the pretense of marshalling them). Luton was even worse. It seems the Met for all their sins were determined that they don’t allow that to happen on their watch. The more numbers the safer. If a few people behaved stupidly after the event, as I said, thats a shame. But I’m the biggest coward in the world, and I never felt threatened by the protesters. And the bottom line is that if you have a bunch of people whose sole aim is to intimidate and frighten people (these are people who do it for fun for goodness sake, in their spare time so to speak) there will be trouble if they are not met with large enough numbers to make it impossible for them to do so. Obviously no-one wants to have to do this. But the people doing it enjoy this sort of thing, and if they’re not stopped they will continue to do so. And those at the recieving end have no choice about being at the recieving end. Some of us can just about remember the time when “Paki-bashing” was actually trendy in a sick way. Thats what they want to re-create. It can’t be allowed.

    26. Anon — on 14th September, 2009 at 3:15 AM  

      Jerome Taylor’s blog entry that Sunny so admires does in fact demonstrate how the media, even the liberal media, produce distorted coverage of events like Harrow.

      Taylor says his first report filed at 5pm began: “Muslims in Harrow expressed deep frustration today that their mosque had been targeted by anti-Islamic right-wing protestors whose demonstrations in Birmingham last month led to a series of arrests and street battles with Asian youths.”

      His follow-up report at 8pm began: “Hundreds of Asian youths threw rocks, bottles and fireworks at riot police last night as anger over an anti-Muslim demonstration spilled onto the streets of Harrow.”

      But that is complete bollocks. Certainly there were hundreds of youth who broke through police lines in pursuit of the EDL, but the clash with the police that I witnessed outide the mosque involved 20 youth at most. Taylor himself states that “the vast majority of protestors were peaceful”. The idea that hundreds of people threw rocks at the police is just a fantasy.

      As indeed is Taylor’s idea that the EDL came to Harrow with the express intention of getting themselves chased out of town, so they could say “Look, we can’t even protest in our own country without having rocks hurled at us”.

      But neither of these fantasies is as ludicrous as Sunny’s suggestion that al-Muhajiroun played a leading role in the disturbances.

    27. Sunny — on 14th September, 2009 at 4:39 AM  

      Random, Katy - I’m not saying one works with the media on their terms. I’m saying it’s just important to be careful about media management, and ensuring that there aren’t any easy angles the media can use to demonise.

      Right now it’s pretty standard across the media that most of the EDL lot are a bunch of nuts. So it’s not that difficult to keep the media on side, as long as the UAF crowd isn’t acting stupid.

      I sympathise with what Katy is saying - there will always be some people looking for a fight. But that doesn’t mean you give up attempts at crowd control and presenting a dignified face at these counter-protests.

      You can’t blame the media unless you at least try to use them to your advantage.

    28. Atilla — on 14th September, 2009 at 9:55 AM  

      Load up a water cannon truck with piggy urine; that’ll disperse Muslim protestors fast enough!

      At least nobody was burning a Holy Quran!

    29. Refresh — on 14th September, 2009 at 10:41 AM  


      That would disperse the vast majority of people. Perhaps jews and muslims first.

      I suppose the equivalent for the EDL would be to soak them in their own urine. Hard to tell.

    30. persephone — on 14th September, 2009 at 10:46 AM  

      “At least nobody was burning a Holy Quran!”

      Are they meant to be grateful at the EDL’s largesse?

    31. persephone — on 14th September, 2009 at 11:01 AM  

      refresh at 29 :-)

    32. Reza — on 14th September, 2009 at 11:08 AM  

      The EDL may have racists, football hooligans and BNP supporters among their number, but there is no denying that their official line is that they’re not racist. It’s actually rather sweet how some of them hold badly scrawled banners with “f*ck the BNP” and “f*ck the NF” at their demo’s. These are people, traumatized by a staggering level of cultural ‘enrichment’ of their communities and schools. A group who have not benefited one bit from the uncontrolled immigration and staggering demographic change of the last few decades. They could very easily have embraced unconstrained racism. But they haven’t. They’re trying not to.

      But hey, they’re not very articulate. They’re not clever enough to hide behind blogs or write letters to the Guardian. And in any case, no one would listen to them.

      So they’re out demonstrating. Demonstrating against Islamic extremism. Demonstrating against what they perceive as the Islamification of their world.

      The liberal establishment repeats ad-nauseam that we mustn’t accuse all Muslims of being violent, intolerant, homophobic, anti-woman, anti Jew and anti democracy, just because many of them probably are.
      Therefore why is it acceptable to pre-judge every member of the EDL or SIOE as ‘BNP/Nazi/racists’, even when they appear to go to great lengths to stress otherwise?

      Here’s the answer. Our society has a real loathing of the white working class. You hear such bigotry constantly, even on forums like this. How our wonderful immigrants are so much better and harder working than lazy, drunken, stupid white chavs. And how there is “no such thing as English culture”, and even if there was it’s not worth defending.

      This immigrant understands their pain of the white working classes. Shame on those who don’t!

    33. johng — on 14th September, 2009 at 12:12 PM  

      Here’s the answer: because if you disagree with them about anything, they kick your head in. Because they beat up innocent people. Because they enjoy beating up and intimidating people. Why is that so hard to understand? And this idea that they somehow represent the working class (white, black, asian or whatever). What a cheek.

    34. johng — on 14th September, 2009 at 12:16 PM  

      “Hundreds of Asian youths threw rocks, bottles and fireworks at riot police last night as anger over an anti-Muslim demonstration spilled onto the streets of Harrow.”

      Thats a straight foward lie. He should be called on this rather then praised for it.

    35. marvin — on 14th September, 2009 at 12:53 PM  

      Reza, love reading your posts mate. You make very sensible counter-points that will be entirely missed and misinterpreted. Ho hum :P

    36. Liz — on 14th September, 2009 at 2:05 PM  


      Who is this Reza person? Not related to them Persians?

      Why is he [?] not in the Commons or the Lords?

    37. johng — on 14th September, 2009 at 2:09 PM  

      The “misunderstood” EDL in Birmingham:


      Its the sign of real bigotry towards the working class to imagine that these people represent it.

    38. Refresh — on 14th September, 2009 at 2:10 PM  

      No Marvin, Reza is not misinterpreted at all.

      Obfuscation is the only thing he is offering. Whilst the rest of us are beginning to achieve clarity, which will be in great need over the next weeks, months and years.

    39. johng — on 14th September, 2009 at 2:26 PM  

      And the notion that they don’t use blogs is ridiculous. They are all over them (and indeed organise their violence through a network of blogs and something called the “inner circle” on a blog called “Casuals United”). Look it up.

    40. Jai — on 14th September, 2009 at 2:49 PM  

      This immigrant understands their pain of the white working classes.

      Exactly which country are you an immigrant from, “Reza” ?

    41. johng — on 14th September, 2009 at 3:01 PM  

      Well you don’t understand much if you think these people represent the “white working class”. Thats like saying Anjem Choudary represents the Muslim community. Do you understand his pain?

    42. jookymundo — on 14th September, 2009 at 3:06 PM  

      Sunny @ 27: “You can’t blame the media unless you at least try to use them to your advantage.”

      I think the problem is that we have realised in trying to use the media to our advantage we have really made no headway, we can drone on about how we’re not all militant fundamentalists all we want, but as you said this doesn’t sell newspapers.

      Even if Muslims were perfectly well behaved in this country, (which we aren’t) stories from other parts of the “Muslim World” seem to surface regularly which are attributed to Islam or Muslims, and these stories pretty much tar the whole community.

      We can work the media all we want, for the little good it does us, but it seems futile.

    43. zaffer — on 14th September, 2009 at 3:15 PM  

      Identity is a crucial aspect in this- I went to school in Harrow for 6 long years ( 88-93) and the majority of the Asian boys had an identity crisis (including myself!).

      Driving through Asian areas now, it’s hard not to notice young boys with shaved heads beards and pin-rolled trousers acting cool with the rest of their boys- its their culture and they own it and others are shit scared by it- this is natural territory for young boys/men who want to act ‘cool’.

    44. Ismaeel — on 14th September, 2009 at 6:58 PM  

      For once I’m with you Sunny, absolutely spot on.

    45. damon — on 14th September, 2009 at 10:25 PM  

      To Douglas Clark and Johng @ 14 and 15, I’d just like to clarify that when I talk of trying to understand these EDL type people, it’s not that I think they have valid points of view. I think they most definitely don’t.

      What I meant was to try not to over-demonise them (for now anyway). It certainly winds up the more excitable muslim youth who are already feeling a sense of persecution, and who again have today hear about the sentencing of those would-be plane bombers and the name of their religion in the same sentences.
      (And can I just add that Max Hastings is one of those Tories that I had some respect for in the past, but his ‘Mohammed being the second or third most common boys name’ article was a disgrace).

      By understanding them I mean, don’t be so alarmed if some of them come back from football matches and start with some EDL bollocks in the town center afterwards. Otherwise things will get worse more quickly. Even though they are thankfully pretty incompetent and disorganised, even they might be able to get it together enough so that like thinking football fans might congregate together for a while at certain locations after football on a saturday. Maybe in central London where half a dozen matches had been played that day.

      A Harrow or Birmingham UAF type response might not be the right way to be going about it every time.
      Though I agree with Johng, that turning up at a mosque is getting much more serious than shouting some shite from outside a city center pub.
      If it was possible, I’d rather a response was an attempt at dialogue, even though that might only be possible in the way of going up to them and trying to hand them a leaflet.

      A leaflet that tried to explain why their actions were causing anxiety and offence, and why their worries (if they were what they said they were - not BNP type racists) were unfounded.

      And how most muslims and ordinary people who might be opposed to their EDL actions were also against the extremists who claimed to speak for muslims.

      This might of course be very naive of me, as they would only have to come back with some points of view they’d read on the Harry’s Place website.

      Stuff like this that I was reading this morning.

      So the truth is, I don’t really know what should be done about these EDL people.

    46. douglas clark — on 14th September, 2009 at 10:35 PM  

      damon @ 45,

      Fair enough. I largely agree with what you’ve said with that post.

      It is very easy to be misunderstood on this internet thingy.

      On another thread I am now apparently a SWP/Respect troll. What was I last week? Oh yes, not Lee John Barnes favourite person. And the week before? A white racist if memory serves.

    47. johng — on 15th September, 2009 at 1:45 AM  

      Its kind of tough not over-demonising people who have a plan to stoke racial hatred up and down the country over the coming months. The point is that these are not just ordinary folk worried about Islamic Fundementalism. These are hardened thugs trying to stir up fear amongst ordinary people who are willing, able and enthusiastic about employing violence. It really worries me that anyone can be confused about the distinction, especially after watching that video. They are somewhat demoralised now after three failed attempts to assert themselves (although on one of these they were capable of creating mayhem). Their difficulty is that the people they aim to recruit like to win occassionally or at least get to march. The good signs are that in the south of England this is not going to be possible. In Leeds this might be a more close run thing. But on the terraces the slogan, show the EDF a red card is a good one. If they were marching unopposed they could attract what a much wider network of what casuals united calls “football tribes, by which it really means the firms whose real interest in aggro. This is the interest of the Danish adviser who see’s football hooligans as a potential “army” required to fight a “war”. That after a few failures their turnouts are getting smaller is a sign that the UAF tactics are working. There are different and wider arguments to be had with ordinary people of course. But you can’t have debates with people whose aim in life is to beat you up.

    48. johng — on 15th September, 2009 at 1:50 AM  

      I was also interested to see in searchlight an article suggesting that in Luton, despite official denials, there is a shadowy relationship between the BNP and the network of those associated with the EDF. This is unsurprising as its pretty obvious even from material sunny has posted on this blog that there is overlapping membership, regalia etc. Its also true that the BNP, despite its vote, continues to have real problems of translating this into an active and growing actual membership. This means that where there is the chance of local units to build support through these methods its probably going on. Its also worth knowing that the far right is notoriously fractious (more so even then the left). This does’nt mean they are not the far right.

    49. damon — on 15th September, 2009 at 8:58 AM  

      Johng, I’m not really a regular reader of Searchlight, but this was on their Hope not Hate website, talking about saturday’s Al-Quds demonstration.

      ”The fools of the EDL had been touting this event as a pro-Hezbollah march but of course it was nothing of the sort.”

      Really? That statement makes me wonder if they just ignore anything that they find inconvenient.
      The Al-Quds demonstrations are awash with Hezbollah flags and placards. How could they not notice?

    50. Anon — on 15th September, 2009 at 1:06 PM  

      I thought it was amusing that the EDL-aligned Casuals United urged their supporters to join the protest against the Al Quds Day march on the grounds that it was organised by HT:

      “Hizb al Tahir are marching in Central London on Sunday 13th September. This is the terrorist supporting ‘we are Hezbollah’ mob. We need all our lads to turn out to let them know they arent welcome here.”

      This misrepresentation seems particularly ungrateful considering that HT, in line with their usual idiotic sectarian, abstentionist politics, have in fact called on Muslims to avoid confrontations with the EDL.

    51. Jerome Taylor — on 15th September, 2009 at 4:42 PM  

      Anon: Part of the reason I wrote my blog was in the interest of absolute transparancey - to illustrate to a wider audience how the top line of a news story often changes throughout the day, and to show how the EDL got exactly the reaction they were looking for.

      I and Fiona Hamilton from The Times thought long and hard about how to describe the protests.

      The most violent scenes of the night we witnessed were on Station Road bridge where we stood on the crash barriers watching people hurl bottles, rocks and fireworks at police for approximately 20 mins from around 6pm onwards. I began trying to count how many troublemakers there were and there were easily more than one hundred. Throughout the rest of the evening further brief clashes broke out behind Harrow Council, in the car park opposite the mosque and up on the bridge again.

      Therefore I decided that “hundreds of Asian youths” (note, I didn’t say Muslim because we couldn’t guarantee that they were all Muslim) was a fair description of those “throwing rocks, bottles and fireworks”.

      I also very deliberately used the term “skirmishes” rather that “fight” or “riot” because I felt that better represented the nature of brief and sporadic clash points that broke out.

      Both mine and The Times’ reports also pointed out that there were many people in the crowd who also tried to stop the more violent demonstrators. We also made it clear that the angry responses were in response to a march by anti-Islamists, which places the initial blame for events unfolding squarely at the feet of SIOE and EDL.

      Bearing in mind we only have a limited amount of space in a news page, I wrote the blog to further elaborate on the evening and create a more detailed testimony of what I saw.

      As I said in my blog, Al Muhajiroun’s presence was largely ignored by the rest of the crowd but it does reveal how determined Al M is to use any media opportunity to their advantage - a brief outburst from an Al M supporter during the very emotional and calm Khutbah given by HCM’s imam, for instance, was largely ignored by the media.

      I guess what I’m trying to say is that believe it or not, despite tight deadlines and the fluid nature of a large protest, most journalists do their utmost to try to describe what they see in as honest and as accurate a way as possible.

      I know there is often a deep mistrust of reporters and much of that can be laid at the media’s door - particularly the more tabloid disciplines whose coverage of Islam since 9/11 hasn’t helped build up trust. But if people want to be properly represented in the media, we need to build reciprocal relationships with the people we cover.

    52. Jai — on 15th September, 2009 at 5:21 PM  

      Jerome Taylor,

      Quick off-topic message to yourself as a representative from The Independent. Ideally this message should also be conveyed to Fiona Hamilton from The Times (or any of her colleagues there who may be interested in the matter).

      Pickled Politics has been given access to several dozen answers from the BNP’s senior leadership in response to two batches of policy-related questions recently supplied to them by eGov. The questions were a selection from a total of 85 (the full list can be accessed via this webpage: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/4869 . This article lists the final section, and there are URL links for the previous sections at the bottom of the article).

      The answers were provided by Lee John Barnes, who was formally authorised to speak for and represent the BNP in this matter, and confirmed this in writing to eGov. I strongly recommend that you and Fiona also read the subsequent comments threads detailing the multiple logical, factual and statistical errors in the BNP’s answers.

      First series of questions, answers and counterarguments: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/4889

      Second series of questions, answers and counterarguments: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/5057

      I think you and your counterparts at The Times will find this extremely interesting reading. The BNP’s responses — and the conclusions that can subsequently be drawn from them — not only show the true face of the BNP regardless of their recent PR efforts, but (in terms of the second batch in particular) expose the reality of their endgame.

      Amongst other aspirations, they’re effectively aiming to turn Britain into an apartheid state, with non-white people completely stripped of any human rights legislation currently protecting them from harassment, discrimination, or deliberate misrepresentation (ie. negative propaganda), including areas such as employment and the provision of professional services to customers/clients.

      Again, staff at The Independent and The Times should bear in mind that the answers were formally provided on behalf of the BNP and were authorised by the party’s senior leadership.

    53. Anon — on 16th September, 2009 at 4:14 PM  

      I was down by the mosque itself, so missed the clashes with the police further up the road. So let’s accept Jerome Taylor’s assurace that “more than one hundred” youth were involved in clashes with the police. We’re still nowhere near “hundreds”.

      I did witness one of the later clashes, after the youth had returned to the area in front of the mosque. It involved about 20 youth who mainly threw sticks, and were almost certainly the same youth who had clashed with the police earlier.

      However you slice it, “hundreds of Asian youths threw rocks, bottles and fireworks at riot police last night” is a distortion, and one that does conjure up the picture of a riot in the mind of anyone reading it. Jerome Taylor evidently decided to give an exaggerated account of what happened, because it made a better story.

      He says that his blog was intended to “show how the EDL got exactly the reaction they were looking for”. But he “shows” nothing of the sort - he just asserts that this was the response the EDL wanted. All this “shows” is that Jerome Taylor doesn’t have a clue what groups like the EDL are about.

      These are football hooligans, for Chrissake - skinheads and boneheads, people covered in tattoos, who tell journalists to fuck off, shout racist abuse and treat their opponents to the occasional Nazi salute. Are these people who are engaged in some sophisticated tactic to manipulate media coverage in their own favour?

      The EDL’s tactics are like those of Mosley’s blackshirts in the 30s or the NF in the 70s. Their aim is not to manipulate the media but to show that they control the streets.

      From that standpoint, getting chased out of Harrow didn’t represent the successful implementation of some tactic which would allow the EDL to whinge about how their democratic right to protest had been abused. It was a demoralising defeat and a humiliation.

      One thing is certain, they won’t be coming back to Harrow any time soon.

    54. Jerome Taylor — on 17th September, 2009 at 3:26 PM  

      @Jai - Thanks Jai, I’ve been following PP’s very dogged pursuit of pinning down exactly what the BNP’s policies are and have read their answers with interest. In fact, there’s a saved version on my hard drive to go back to and check wheh Griffin and other BNP leaders speak to see if they remain consistent.

      @Anon - I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one, you saw what you saw, I saw and wrote what I saw. The EDL and their kind may not come back to Harrow, but they will reappear. Seems like Manchester on 10th October is their next showing.

      I hope a similar number of people from all walks of life come out for a counter protest, but I also hope it remains entirely peaceful.

      The saddest thing in all this is that the EDF and co pretend to only be against “Islamic extremists” such as Anjem Choudhary from Al M who they try to portray as an ordinary British Muslim, rather than the angry but utterly marginalised figure with little support outside his own coiterie that he actually is. Those who wish to oppose the EDL (including the media) would do well to give them no cause whatsoever to increase such misleading propaganda.

    55. johng — on 17th September, 2009 at 4:12 PM  

      As a matter of interest Jerome did you see more then one firework? And did you see rocks being thrown by “hundreds” of youths? Also did you speak with any of the demostraters outside the mosque? I’m just puzzled by an event at which hundreds of youths were throwing rocks at police when there was not a single report of anyone being injured. I was there to.

    56. Jai — on 17th September, 2009 at 5:42 PM  

      Jerome Taylor,

      @Jai – Thanks Jai, I’ve been following PP’s very dogged pursuit of pinning down exactly what the BNP’s policies are and have read their answers with interest. In fact, there’s a saved version on my hard drive to go back to and check wheh Griffin and other BNP leaders speak to see if they remain consistent.

      Thank you for your reply; I’m glad to hear you’ve been following matters so closely. Some of the BNP’s responses were fairly predictable; others, however, were very eye-opening, and in many cases confirmed numerous suspicions about their agenda and goals.

      I get the feeling that many members of the general public on both sides of the fence aren’t necessarily aware of the details or real-life negative ramifications of the BNP’s ideology and policies (not to mention the staggering lies, distortions and flaws involved on their part, as mentioned earlier). Beyond a certain point, there certainly doesn’t seem to have been a detailed discussion in the mainstream media about the kind of specific issues and implications which the two series of questions posed to the BNP and their subsequent answers have revealed.

      It would definitely be very constructive if The Independent and The Times could do anything to increase an awareness of all this in the wider public domain, especially as we’ve now obtained detailed responses in writing from the BNP’s senior leadership.

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