This is a cross-post from Shiraz Maher
Here is the EDL in all their bigoted glory.
It is an astounding video, revealing the true colours of the EDL and everything you ever needed to know about its members.
This blog takes a robust line against Islamists – it always has. That much is evident from its name. Where we depart from those who like to describe themselves as anti-Islamists is that we oppose fascism and discrimination in all its forms.
It is not enough to say the EDL have been provoked into this by years of woeful inadequacy by the government. Officialdom has undoubtedly turned a Nelsonian eye to the growth of Islamism, as catalogued by this blog along with our comrades at Harry’s Place and the Spittoon. But to dismiss their actions as ‘understandable’ in this context is every bit as disingenuous as those who explain away Islamism as a reaction to ‘Western foreign policy’ or ‘oppression’.
There can be no equivocation with the likes of the EDL. They are an avowedly anti-Muslim organisation, not anti-Islamist. Their rallies are riots. Time and again they descend into violence against anyone perceived to be Muslim. They are the worst kind of bigots.
I have direct experience of EDL members. I supported – and attended – this fantastic initiative led by British Muslims from Secular Democracy (BMSD) last year:
It drew support from a broad cross section of society – including many writers from this magazine who attended on the day.
A small contingent of EDL members also turned up for their own demonstration. I spoke to some of them. They claimed not to be racist, but when the demonstration finished and I walked towards the tube station along with others we passed the same group of EDL members who were, by now, well established in a nearby pub. As we walked past they unleashed a torrent of racial abuse: "F**k off Pakis".
A one off? Not really, even a cursory glance through youtube reveals that the EDL frequently employ the most obscene racist chants at their events. I can’t reproduce every video but this one featuring a lovely young man is just far too good to pass up. Here he is on a police van shouting "dirty Muslim b******s".
Fortunately, in the UK at least, there is a genuine and progressive front against Islamists. The EDL does those of us who are motivated by sincere concerns for the future of our country and society a great disservice. They are neither comrades nor colleagues in the struggle against Islamists. Indeed, they are the flipside of the very same problem – a loathing of the ‘other’.
Just as those who defend, explain away, and minimise the threat of Islamists come in for attack, so too must those who now provide the same cover for the EDL. After all, this is struggle for values – and it can only be won if those principles are applied to all in equal measure.