14th December, 2011
30th November, 2011
The Sunday Times have formally investigated the English Defence League’s backers and have confirmed that two key individuals in particular are involved. You can read the full article here. A few extracts:
A property tycoon and a City-based financier quizzed by police over his links to the gunman who slaughtered 69 people in Norway are exposed today as key figures behind the rise of the far-right English Defence League (EDL).
A Sunday Times investigation has revealed that Ann Marchini, a mother from Highgate, north London, and Alan Ayling, a former director of an investment fund, have sought to mould the thuggish anti-Muslim group into a credible political force. They are both linked to the murky world of the online “counter-jihad” movement from which Anders Behring Breivik drew ideological inspiration before committing his massacre in Norway in July. They have remained in the shadows until now by using aliases on the internet to mask their true identities.
…..Marchini, who is thought to be in her fifties, runs a buy-to-let property empire from her £1.6m mock-Tudor home in Highgate, a leafy suburb usually associated with liberals…..She is said to have helped organise a “pivotal” meeting between EDL figures and anti-jihad thinkers in July 2009 and recently attended a discussion where the EDL agreed to consider an electoral pact with the right-wing British Freedom party (BFP).
…..Ayling, 57, has been operating under the alias “Alan Lake”. He is an IT expert and was a director of Pacific Capital Investment Management until January this year. The fund was dissolved in August. Last month Ayling was interviewed by officers from Scotland Yard at the behest of Norwegian police who were investigating whether he was a possible “mentor” of Breivik. Paal-Fredrik Kraby, an Oslo police prosecutor, confirmed that “the man known as Alan Lake” had been questioned.
…..In an interview with a Norwegian newspaper nine days ago, Lake denied having any contact with Breivik. However, he admitted to having met a prolific anti-Islam blogger called “Fjordman”. “People ought to read him, he is good,” Lake said. Breivik named Fjordman 111 times in his manifesto.
28th November, 2011
17th November, 2011
The mass-murdering Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik has been declared insane. In a 243-page psychiatric report following 13 meetings between Breivik and a team of psychiatrists, Breivik has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, a severe psychotic mental disorder.
It has been recommended that Breivik should be indefinitely confined to a secure unit at a psychiatric hospital, potentially for the rest of his life, with reviews every three years to determine if he is still a danger to society. The public prosecutor in the ongoing terrorism investigation told a press conference that the psychiatrists evaluating Breivik’s mental state had “described a person who lives in his own delusional universe”. The report will be formally presented at Breivik’s next court appearance, on 16 April 2012.
As discussed on Pickled Politics here, the English Defence League recently issued a public statement on their official Facebook page finally admitting that their agenda is racially-motivated (it turns out that part of the EDL’s statement was practically identical to the statement made by Anders Breivik during his court appearance just two days previously), and the EDL have also announced a formal alliance with the Far-Right “British Freedom Party”.
It is worth noting that EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka “Tommy Robinson”) is on record as explicitly stating that he does not think Breivik is insane and that he actually shares some of Breivik’s opinions:
“We share some of his opinions, and his fear, but not what he did in Norway 22 July. I do not think he is insane. I think that his approach was insane. Breivik dared to come forward with his opinions, and was tough, in some regards. People need to understand that Breivik is not alone in these feelings.”
Readers can therefore draw their own conclusions about the implications of the EDL leadership claiming that they share the “opinions”, “fear” and “feelings” of an individual whom psychiatrists have now certified as psychotically insane.
· Two EDL members have now been sentenced to 10 years in prison for attempting to blow up a British mosque. Full details via EDL News and BBC News.
· It turns out that British Freedom Party leader (and EDL ally) Paul Weston has regularly written articles for the virulently anti-Muslim website “Gates of Vienna”. The website was repeatedly cited in Anders Breivik’s manifesto. In fact, the rhetoric and terminology used by Weston in his articles is very similar indeed to Breivik’s statements in his manifesto (by tests forge severly). Weston himself appears to take no responsibility for the poisonous influence of such propaganda on people like Breivik; instead, in an article cross-published on the EDL’s main website, Weston has bizarrely blamed Jeremy Paxman, the BBC and “the entire political/liberal left” for Breivik’s mass-murdering actions and any similar future atrocities. More details here.
14th November, 2011
The English Defence League issued the following public statement yesterday on the EDL’s official Facebook page where they finally confirmed that they are indeed motivated by racial reasons. If the terminology in the statement sounds familiar, that’s because it’s identical to the explicitly racist propaganda of the BNP, Neo-Nazis, and white supremacist websites such as Stormfront, complete with references to “race”, “dilution”, “genocide”, “indigenous” and “wiping us out as a race”. A screenshot of the EDL’s statement is displayed below:
For the convenience of readers who may wish to quote the statement elsewhere, here is the transcript:
10th November, 2011
More than 170 English Defence League members were arrested in London on Remembrance Day in order to prevent a “breach of the peace”.
The reasons for the arrests were the threats of violence which senior EDL figures had posted on the internet beforehand. Three EDL members who had been arrested were released specifically on police bail, with further inquiries pending.
The most incriminating message of all was posted by Michael Rafferty, a senior EDL leader from the group’s ‘Combined ex-Forces’ (CxF) division. As reported in The Independent, police have confirmed that Rafferty had claimed that the EDL had access to guns and would bring them to London on Remembrance Day.
Rafferty had also claimed that the EDL have snipers and other armed members, and were prepared to open fire against the police. A screenshot of Rafferty’s sinister Facebook message is displayed below, which includes Rafferty’s repeated threats of an armed war being started on the streets of Britain.
Michael Rafferty was subsequently stopped by police in London’s Whitehall area on Remembrance Day and searched for guns, although none were found on him. The EDL had also made direct threats against the Occupy LSX camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral, claiming that the protestors had ridiculed what the EDL referred to as “our religion”.
The Guardian have reported that the EDL posted Facebook messages threatening to burn down tents in the Occupy LSX camp if they were still outside St Paul’s on Remembrance Sunday; The Guardian have also confirmed that EDL members tried to enter the camp, with the most recent incident occurring on Thursday night.
Shortly after the arrests of EDL members on Remembrance Day, the EDL released a statement making the following threat against the Police and the British Government:
Of course, making threats is a repeated pattern of behaviour for senior EDL figures.
For example, EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka “Tommy Robinson”), an ex-BNP member who recently claimed that Islam is a “race”, is on record as recently accusing “every single Muslim” of collective guilt and publicly making a direct threat of EDL-led retribution against what he terms “the Islamic community” en masse. Similarly, The Guardian have confirmed that EDL financier & strategist Alan Lake was the author of a horrifying “Final Solution” blueprint targeting the entire British Muslim population and anyone perceived to be sympathetic towards them, including death threats against British Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy PM Nick Clegg and the Archbishop of Canterbury (by tests forge richards). Lake is currently being formally investigated by the Norwegian police to ascertain his ideological influence on the terrorist Anders Breivik.
8th November, 2011
· Reuters news agency are reporting that English Defence League financier & strategist Alan Lake is now being formally investigated by the Norwegian police in order to verify if he was an ideological influence on the mass-murdering Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik.
· The Guardian have formally investigated and independently confirmed Alan Lake’s authorship of a “Final Solution” blueprint targeting the entire British Muslim population along with anyone perceived to be sympathetic towards them, including death threats against British Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy PM Nick Clegg and the Archbishop of Canterbury. You can see a screenshot of Lake’s horrifying “Final Solution” here and here.
· Alan Lake was interviewed by the Daily Mail in 2010 and openly discussed his involvement with the EDL as a financier and strategist.
· Channel 4 News, describing Alan Lake as “the EDL’s chief financier” during their investigation of the EDL’s connections with Anders Breivik, have confirmed that Lake was interviewed on Norwegian television in April 2011. In that interview, Lake confirmed that he has funded the EDL.
· Video footage is available of Alan Lake attending a meeting in London with senior EDL leaders Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka “Tommy Robinson”), Kevin Carroll and Roberta Moore, in a video released on 20 March 2011.
31st October, 2011
English Defence League leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka “Tommy Robinson”) has a history of making statements indicating that his actions are racially-motivated. For example, during an interview on 27 January 2010, Yaxley-Lennon made the following remarks:
“Within 30 or 40 years in this country we are a complete minority to Muslims, because of the Muslim demographics…..Our culture and our race will disappear in this country.”
More recently, Yaxley-Lennon gave an interview to Adrian Goldberg at BBC Radio West Midlands on 22 October 2011. It’s available via Youtube here. Yaxley-Lennon made some particularly self-incriminating statements towards the end:
“The black community and the white community in Birmingham are treated with iron fists. The Islamic community are treated with kid gloves and that’s just the way it is. And it’s not on, You can’t have a two-tier policing system. There can be no master race. And I’m sorry, but there is a master race in certain areas of this country and it’s Islam !”
Therefore, Yaxley-Lennon is now on record as 1) essentially claiming that there are 3 races in Birmingham, namely white, black and Muslims, and 2) describing the religion of Islam as a “race”. Apart from the fact that Yaxley-Lennon’s description of what he claims to be the three communities in Birmingham would raise some eyebrows amongst the city’s sizeable Sikh and Hindu populations, his remarks also make a mockery of the EDL’s claims that their bigotry isn’t racially-motivated “because Islam is not a race”.
The implications of Yaxley-Lennon’s statements are even more disturbing when you bear in mind the following fact: As a result of his speech during the EDL’s demonstration in London on 3 September 2011, Yaxley-Lennon is also on record as publicly accusing “every single Muslim” of collective guilt for 7/7 and publicly making a direct threat against what he terms “the Islamic community” en masse:
“EVERY SINGLE MUSLIM watching this on Youtube, on 7/7 you got away with killing and maiming British citizens, you got away with it. You had better understand that we have built a network from one end of this country to the other end, and we will not tolerate it, and the Islamic community will feel the full force of the English Defence League if we see any of our citizens killed, maimed or hurt on British soil ever again.”
17th October, 2011
The think-tank Demos have published a report into the English Defence League.
There report is here. They say:
While leaders of the EDL claim they are a pluralistic, liberal movement that is fighting Islamic extremism, chants heard at demonstrations and the vitriol frequently posted on the EDL’s chat forums suggest otherwise. It is in this context that we have undertaken the first ever large-scale empirical study of the EDL, which comprises responses from 1,295 sympathisers and supporters, and includes data on their demographics, involvement in EDL activity, political attitudes and social views. The results show that, although the EDL is usually understood as an anti-Islamic or anti-Islamist demonstrating group, the reality is more complex.
Supporters are characterised by intense pessimism about the UK’s future, worries about immigration and joblessness. This is often mixed with a proactive pride in Britain, British history and British values, which they see as being under attack from Islam. Although their demonstrations have often involved violence and racist chants, many members are democrats who are committed to peaceful protest and other forms of activism.
That sounds about right to me.
The report also destroys the myth that EDL people have usually defected from the left; in fact most have right-wing sympathies:
Who would they vote for?
BNP – 34% (public: 2%)
UKIP – 14% (3%)
Conservative – 14% (36%)
Labour – 9% (29%)
Lib Dem – 3% (23%)
11th October, 2011
Halesown News reports:
A MUSLIM book stall in Cradley Heath market was stormed by over 25 thugs from the English Defence League this weekend. The shocking attack occurred in front of shoppers, many of which were women and children, at the market at 2.30pm on Saturday. The local Ahmadiyya Muslim book stall and Qur’an exhibition was attacked and volunteers were manhandled and abused by members of the Far Right organisation.
“We have the book stall to raise awareness of our work in Britain and in the local community we are proud to be British Muslims and this incident saddened us.
“Our motto is ‘Love for All – Hatred for None’ and we do not meet violence with violence so we just stood there and did not respond to the provocation.”
I thought the EDL lot were against violence and British values huh? So much for that pretence. via @HopenotHate
On Boxing Day in 2009, Cradley Heath Mosque and the local Islamic Centre was burnt to the ground by arsonists.
27th September, 2011
This is a guest post by Haroon Ravat.
Many observers trace the origin and development of the English Defence League to a poppy-burning publicity stunt staged by the group Muslims Against Crusaders (MAC) at last year’s Armistice Day commemorations. For many British Muslims like myself, the actions of MAC left us in a precarious situation with the tabloid press intent on providing front page publicity to a fanatical fringe and strengthening the EDL argument that we are a minority of fifth-columnists who cannot be trusted in relation to our loyalties to Britain. Muslims who adopted a principled anti-interventionist attitude towards the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan also felt that they could no longer articulate their position without being connected somehow to the opinions of Anjum Chaudhry’s band of merry but troubled men.
The recent murders of Haroon Jahan, Shahzad Ali and Abdul Musavir forced a much needed realignment in public opinion towards Britain’s largest and arguably most visible minority. Brutally run over whilst protecting local shops from looters, the principle of laying down your life in order to protect the innocent was thought to be an archaic concept from bygone eras of conquest and marauding tribes. However, within a moment of tragedy the boys recovered for many thousands of British Muslims the true meaning of the word ‘jihad’, which means ‘to struggle’ in Arabic from the nihilists of Al-Qaida.
12th September, 2011
As recently highlighted by The Guardian, the ugly reality of the English Defence League has been exposed in a newly-published report by Dr Matthew Feldman and Dr Paul Jackson at Northampton University’s Radicalism and New Media Research Group. The report was formally released during a major international conference recently hosted by the RNM; it is based on extensive independent research and is a truly brilliant analysis of all aspects of the EDL. The results are damning to say the least.
The full report can be downloaded for free as a PDF document via the RNM’s website here.
Some of the key findings are as follows (from p.56 of the report):
From the outset, among leaders and followers it is clear that the EDL has had sustained connections with the BNP and other extreme-right groups. Moreover, the EDL might profess itself a single issue, counter-jihadist movement, but its failure to adhere to this line leaves it looking like all previous racist extreme-right groups. This failure makes it even more difficult to ignore the neo-Nazi methods, antecedents and current connections of the EDL’s leaders and its followers.
Consequently, these profiles allow four conclusions. Firstly, the EDL is unarguably connected to the BNP and other far-right groups, whether by previous association or by shared interest. Secondly, some of these far-right individuals have possessed significant weaponry that identifies them as potential ‘lone wolf’ terrorists. Thirdly, EDL leaders and followers have engaged in criminality, especially racially aggravated incidents. Fourthly, the EDL engages in doublespeak that powerfully questions their claim to be a single-issue, non-racist movement.
25th August, 2011
The English Defence League’s leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka “Tommy Robinson”) recently gave an interview to the Norwegian media and made the following dubious statements about the mass murdering Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik:
“We share some of his opinions, and his fear, but not what he did in Norway 22 July. I do not think he is insane. I think that his approach was insane…Breivik dared to come forward with his opinions, and was tough, in some regards. People need to understand that Breivik is not alone in these feelings.”
Yaxley-Lennon previously appeared to make a threat at the end of his interviews with the BBC’s Newsnight and CNN shortly after the massacre in Norway, which was immediately noticed by Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman and CNN anchor Becky Anderson. Curiously, Yaxley-Lennon is also on record as making exactly the same claim about Far-Right anti-Muslim terrorism occurring in the United Kingdom “within the next 5 years” several months before Breivik’s attacks in Norway.
A detailed Pickled Politics article about the EDL’s links to Breivik can be read here. More recently, British counter-terrorism officers have confirmed that they are now investigating and monitoring the EDL in the same way that they investigate potential Islamist terrorists, and that this is a direct consequence of Breivik’s murderous actions.
Furthermore, Paul Ray aka “Lionheart”, one of the EDL’s original founders who is being investigated by the Norwegian police for his links to Breivik, has now stated that Breivik is indeed part of a wider Far-Right movement, including possible cells in the UK. The Norwegian police are expanding their investigations in conjunction with Scotland Yard to possibly include the questioning of a number of British citizens. Multiple photographs of various EDL supporters brandishing guns have also recently surfaced, and some examples can be seen via Hope Not Hate here.
19th August, 2011
I can’t tell if the Independent columnist Howard Jacobson has lost his god damn mind or if he’s always been like this.
In an interview with the Evening Standard today he says:
The good thing that came out of the riots was a renewed sense of community. “How does one put this without sounding gross … it was terrific to see the Asian communities on telly and not to have to think about terrorism, and not to have to think about the thing I’m always thinking about… do they want to kill Jews?”
Is that meant to be a joke?
Jacobson looks at an Asian person and thinks they might be terrorists or want to kill Jews? What is he smoking? Has the paranoia got to him?
Does he look at me and think ‘Hmmm, this guy has brown skin. Maybe he wants to kill me. I better run and hide!‘. Perhaps he should stop reading Jihad Watch or something. Idiot.
Update: a few people on Twitter say he’s saying it positively.
Let’s try a thought experiment. If I say: “Isn’t it great we can stop thinking of these white people as morally degenerate savages for a bit and see them as nice people who cleaned up after a riot” – that wouldn’t be highly patronising?
15th August, 2011
Another blow to the EDL’s purported claim to be only against Islamic extremism:
A member of the English Defence League will appear before a judge today accused of racially-motivated vandalism after a mosque was sprayed with graffiti.
Charlotte Davies, 19, of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, was charged after an attack on the Nasir Mosque in Hartlepool and a shop and guest house in Shotton Colliery in November last year… Two men also accused of the attacks will enter pleas at a later date
8th August, 2011
Throughout the looting/riots, the EDL attempted to capitalise on the situation, and use it as an excuse to promote themselves and as an excuse for some violence.
Cambridge saw EDL vigilantes clear Mill Road (an important road in the town centre) of imaginary looters, only to be told by local traders that they were not welcome. Meanwhile a senior Met police officer warned of more attempts by the EDL to hijack local communities defending themselves, with places like Enfield being hit.
Nor did the EDL stick to its alleged belief of only being anti-Islamic extremism. An EDL gang attacked a bus with black youths on it in London, whilst EDL posters online flooded forums with racist language directed primarily against blacks:
The English Defence League have reverted to type, with torrents of sickening anti-black racism on their divisional Facebook walls, peppered with the N-word, and description of black people being “monkeys” and “apes”. Since their existance, the moderators have tried to brush all of their non-Muslim racism under the carpet, pretending that the EDL have only one enemy, Muslims, but since the rioting began in London, the far right group have switched tack to virulent anti-Black racism of an extreme and disturbing nature.
Now graffiti is going up condemning the riots, signed by the EDL. Compare and contrast such behaviour with how many victims of the looting reacted. In Birmingham, Tariq Jahan, the father of one of the three men killed by looters, called for calm:
Today we stand here to plead with all the youth to remain calm, for our communities to stand united. This is not a race issue. The family has received messages of sympathy and support from all parts of society … I lost my son. Blacks, Asians, whites – we all live in the same community. Why do we have to kill one another? Why are we doing this? Step forward if you want to lose your sons. Otherwise, calm down and go home – please.”
Others held vigils or banded together to clean up the area. If there is a silver lining in all this senseless violence and destruction then it will be the renewed bonds that now exist between many people in the worst affected areas, which is what a healthy society depends on.
4th August, 2011
Pickled Politics senior editor Sunny Hundal briefly mentioned the following subject in his recent article discussing the fact that the atrocity in Norway highlights “a new form of prejudice”, but it’s worth providing further details. Pamela Geller is the American author of the virulently anti-Muslim blog Atlas Shrugs and the executive director of the organisation “Stop Islamization of America”; like SIOA’s co-founder Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch, Geller was repeatedly cited in the 1500-page manifesto of the Far-Right Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik (described by the Norwegian police as a “Christian fundamentalist”).
Geller herself, who is originally from a Jewish background but describes mainstream liberal Jews as “lost souls” and “self-hating wretches”, was given a huge public platform by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News last year during the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy. She has consistently been at the forefront of promoting extremely bigoted anti-Muslim propaganda; you can read a comprehensive list of examples via Media Matters for America here and here, and via The American Muslim here.
It turns out that Pamela Geller received an email in 2007 from a Norwegian contact who sounds disturbingly similar to Breivik. Geller approvingly published the email on her Atlas Shrugs blog on 24 June 2007 without naming the author; in response to a query from one of the commenters there, Geller confirmed that she was deliberately hiding the author’s identity so that he would not be investigated and prosecuted. After the recent massacre in Norway, Geller quietly edited her article in order to remove the email’s explicit references to weapons, ammunition and equipment; unfortunately for Geller, her actions have been noticed by multiple readers and the original unedited version of the article had already been cached elsewhere. (More details, including relevant URL links, can be found here).
Therefore, this has the following possible implications:
1. Pamela Geller had personally been in contact with Anders Breivik and even promoted his email on her own website, but she deliberately hid his identity in order to protect him (and did not report him to the authorities) despite being aware of Breivik’s extremely violent rhetoric and the fact that he was stockpiling weapons & ammunition;
2. Alternatively, Geller was not emailed by Breivik himself but there is currently another violent Norwegian out there with aims and attitudes which are disturbingly similar to those of Breivik, and whose identity Geller is deliberately hiding.
1st August, 2011
The Sun has done some good digging today:
TWISTED BNP chief Chris Hurst gives a Nazi salute at a fascist gig by the singer who inspired massacre monster Anders Breivik.
Hurst, the BNP’s London Regional Secretary, cried “Sieg heil” as pop girl Saga sang the Norwegian fiend’s favourite songs at a rally in Hungary.
The warped 22-year-old reckoned the victims were needed to “breed” to increase the white population.
And blaming immigration for Breivik’s shocking slaughter, he added: “Isolated incidents like that are going to happen more and more as the problem gets worse.”
Read the full piece here
Two points to note: he blames immigration for Breivik’s actions, echoing other people on the right who predict more such far-right terrorism on the basis of immigration.
Second, note how he also focuses on the demographics of white identity versus minorities.
29th July, 2011
The Guardian have now confirmed that English Defence League financier Alan Lake was indeed the author of a horrific “Final Solution” blueprint targeting Britain’s entire Muslim population, anyone perceived to be sympathetic towards them, and senior members of the current British government such as Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy PM Nick Clegg. The Archbishop of Canterbury was also included in the list of targets for execution. Lake wanted to open a debate on the subject and therefore requested in his message that supporters should provide further suggestions for people who should be killed.
The millionaire businessman Alan Lake, who wrote “it would be great to see them executed or tortured to death”, posted the message on his “4Freedoms” website on 23 May 2010. According to The Guardian, although Lake removed the references to execution and torture the next day, he still claims that “the fundamental point of that piece is correct” and that he is “holding people responsible for the consequences of their actions”.
As discussed in the Pickled Politics article summarising recent developments involving the EDL’s public response to the atrocity in Norway along with the organisation’s connections to the terrorist Anders Breivik (described by the Norwegian police as a “Christian fundamentalist”), during his BBC interview with Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman on 25 July 2011, EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka “Tommy Robinson”) claimed that he does not know Alan Lake despite the fact that Lake himself has publicly admitted to his considerable involvement with the organisation. A detailed overview of Lake’s background, his affiliations with multiple extreme Far-Right groups and Christian fundamentalist organisations, and his extensive activities in both Europe and the United States to further the EDL’s agenda can be read via Hope Not Hate/Searchlight here.
A screenshot of the original message by Alan Lake is displayed below (via EDL News and 1 Million United). Along with the threats of extreme violence, particularly noticeable are the similarities to the virulent hostility towards Muslims en masse and the death threats against politicians which are also present in Anders Breivik’s 1500-page “manifesto”. Incidentally, according to Channel 4 News, it turns out that Lake was interviewed on Norwegian television in April 2011.
26th July, 2011
A compilation of continuing developments focusing on the English Defence League’s public response to the atrocity along with Breivik’s own connections to the EDL :
1. Fresh from his court appearance during which he was convicted of leading a violent brawl involving 100 football supporters, EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka “Tommy Robinson”) was interviewed by Becky Anderson on CNN’s “Connect the World” programme on Monday evening. The anchor noticed what appeared to be a threat at the end of the interview and challenged Yaxley-Lennon about it. The full transcript of the CNN interview (link provided above) also includes the observations of a former Neo-Nazi who was interviewed immediately after Yaxley-Lennon, both in relation to the massacre in Norway and his damning response to Yaxley-Lennon’s own anti-Islam assertions on behalf of the EDL, especially the close parallels with historical Far-Right bigotry towards Jews.
2. Yaxley-Lennon was interviewed in further detail by Jeremy Paxman on BBC’s Newsnight later on Monday evening. Along with refusing to answer most of Paxman’s questions, Yaxley-Lennon recited almost exactly the same memorised statements that he’d made on CNN, from his “words of condolence” at the beginning to what appeared to be a threat at the end. He became increasingly belligerent and aggressive as the interview progressed, and by the end he was loudly ranting. Paxman also noticed the “threat” and challenged Yaxley-Lennon about it.
· Furthermore, Yaxley-Lennon told Paxman that he does not know Daryl Hobson, despite the fact that Hobson is one of the EDL’s main organisers. A photo of Yaxley-Lennon with Hobson is displayed at the top of this PP article (via Hope Not Hate/Searchlight). Hobson himself has also confirmed that the terrorist Anders Breivik was in contact with the EDL.
· Yaxley-Lennon also told Paxman that the millionaire businessman Alan Lake does not finance the EDL, despite the fact that Lake himself has now publicly admitted to funding the organisation. A detailed profile of Lake can be read via Hope Not Hate/Searchlight here, including details of Lake’s extensive involvement with the EDL and the scale of his international activities to further their agenda.
A reader just sent me this link which I’d missed earlier. The EverythingEDL twitter account posted this video of an EDL member filming himself attacking random Asians on the tube.
The video has violence – it is NOT safe for work
[Flash 10 is required to watch video]
If the video doesn’t work for you, see it here.
Everything EDL say it was the EDL member ‘Cobz Smith’. If you know more, get in touch.
Update: Here is more on the guy who posted the video first, and then bragged about it on Facebook.
[I've changed the title as it turns out the EDL didn't exist when this was filmed (but may have joined EDL after)]
25th July, 2011
The BNP and EDL were under greater pressure last night after their connections with the Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik were laid bare:
The Norwegian fanatic has been in close contact with hundreds of British right-wing extremists for two years, it emerged last night. He chatted about ‘tactics’ on social networking sites with hundreds of members of the English Defence League (EDL) and the British National Party (BNP) and attended demonstrations and meetings here… Breivik has claimed he was recruited by two English Right-wing extremists at a UK meeting in 2002 attended by seven others.
It is good to see that far-right groups are being put under increasing scrutiny. For years we have seen neo-Nazis and their allies convicted of various terrorism-related charges, from plotting terror campaigns to detonating nail bombs. Yet much of the mainstream media has rarely focused on this threat, apart from when trials were going on. Even then, the coverage has seemed muted at times. This should be a wake up call for many that there are armed and dangerous far-right extremists out there, who are willing to slaughter their fellow citizens in the name of their twisted ideology.
Nor should the EDL and BNP be ignored in this debate. Whilst they will publically disown convicted terrorists like Anders Breivik, there is a significant overlap in many areas of their respective ideologies, which is why Anders Breivik was able to get on with so many BNP and EDL activists.
13th July, 2011
This should do wonders for the EDL’s image:
Stephen Lennon, 28, led Luton Town supporters and chanted “EDL till I die”" as they clashed with Newport County fans in Luton, a court heard. He was charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour during the clash on 24 August last year. He denied the charges but was convicted after a trial on Monday at Luton and South Bedfordshire Magistrates’ Court.
Nor was this his first conviction:
Lennon, who has previous convictions for assault, possession of cocaine and disorderly behaviour, shook his head upon hearing the verdict.
21st June, 2011
There was a good article in the Guardian yesterday offering background to the recent controversies in East London regarding Muslims and gays.
The article by Jack Gilbert starts off describing the ‘Gay free zone’ stickers that were stuck around East London, and then says:
Coverage of the sticker campaign, particularly online, often seemed ill-informed. Comment pieces from both sides tended towards a rabble-rousing tone, inspiring a torrent of racist and Islamaphobic abuse. I experienced more back-to-my-roots shivers, this time thinking about my grandparents’ fight against Oswald Mosley’s blackshirts.
Acting on Rainbow Hamlets’s advice, a joint statement was issued by Tower Hamlets’ mayor Lutfur Rahman, the Inter-faith Forum, and the East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre (ELM). This represented the first public condemnation of homophobia by both Rahman and the ELM.
Both the points: about the tone of the debate online (I wonder which blogs he was thinking of!) and of who were the first to issue a condemnation, should be noted.
Jack Gilbert then highlights two more points. First, that the law is inadequate in dealing with homophobic abuse in the way that it deals with racist abuse for example. I suspect this is partly because tightening that up would instantly render both the Testaments and the Qu’ran as illegal writings. Nevertheless, I believe more needs to be done.
Secondly, he does say that the East London Mosque initially failed to back its initial action with more public statements. But he later says:
Today, moderate communities have a simple unequivocal duty: to be seen to show all their neighbours respect – whether or not they agree or approve of their beliefs or lifestyle. What is needed is a paradigm shift among LGBT and Muslim opinion formers, one that enables the leaders to find a rhetoric that can speak of respect and joint-working publicly, and which addresses patterns of prejudice on all sides without fear
He is right. There is an internal battle going on at the ELM right now between conservative and more moderate voices. Like in the Usama Hasan case, I hope that saner, moderate voices prevail. In fact I’m sure they eventually will.
But the likes of Andrew Gilligan and certain blogs with their incendiary and one-sided reporting don’t help this debate. In fact they poison it.
I hope the ELM will pay close attention to the progress report and listen to local communities in how it can tackle homophobia, regardless of what racists outside of the area say online.
6th June, 2011
The English Defence League’s “Sikh” spokesman Guramit “Singh”, who recently posted a message on Facebook publicly announcing his resignation, was interviewed by BBC West Midlands radio a few days ago. The issue of Guramit’s potential excommunication was one of the subjects mentioned during his radio interview; it was subsequently discussed in detail by a number of other programme participants, and Guramit received no support whatsoever from any of them. You can read a full transcript of the programme here.
I will highlight a number of relevant extracts below:
Guramit: “At the end of the day I’m not representing the Sikh culture – the religion…..I don’t represent Sikhs, I don’t represent Hindus, Christians, Catholics, Muslims – I don’t represent anybody apart from people who are sincere to our cause. The members of the English Defence League, we represent them and that’s all I’m here to do.”
False. Guramit deliberately uses the characteristically Sikh name “Singh” during his public activities in conjunction with the EDL, even though it’s not actually his real surname. In one of Guramit’s earlier public statements, he explicitly claimed that he considers himself a “servant of the Sikh Nation”; he also explicitly claimed that he considers the Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh scriptures) to be his “Guru” and that Sikhism has “taught him a lot”.
Guramit has also now issued multiple public statements, in writing, repeatedly claiming that the EDL are the modern-day ideological counterparts of the 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh’s historical Khalsa, and repeatedly referencing (and grossly misrepresenting) Sikh theology & history in order to justify his own actions.
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There have recently been a series of further Sikh signatories to the joint statement condemning the English Defence League and any Sikhs who join them. Examples of notable individuals who have recently publicly voiced their support are several popular UK-based Sikh musicians along with Sikh councillors such as Hardial Singh Rai (Barking & Dagenham) and Pavitar Kaur Mann (Slough).
However, the most high-profile Sikh signatory so far has been the acclaimed Indian ghazal singer Jagjit Singh, who was recently in the UK for a major concert tour. Jagjit is extremely famous among more than a billion South Asians worldwide, and continues to have a successful career which has spanned approximately 40 years. Although he is trained in Indian classical music and also occasionally records albums of religious music, he is most famous as a ghazal maestro. In fact, he is widely regarded as the world’s greatest modern-day Indian proponent of the genre. Jagjit regularly performs at international concerts to huge audiences.