The EDL fails to attract support, but anti-Muslim sentiment remains widespread

Dominic Ashton reports on last weekend's English Defence League rally in Tower Hamlets.

Dominic Ashton reports on last weekend’s English Defence League rally in Tower Hamlets

Last weekend’s English Defence League rally, though garnering a significant amount of media attention, reportedly attracted an unimpressive 600 participants, who were handily outnumbered by rival protestors.

This has prompted some onlookers to question why the left occupies itself with such a small, insignificant group and others to laud the superior turnout of opposition rallies as a sign that the EDL’s flavour of prejudice is receding.

Yet triumphalist conclusions, when viewed from a broader perspective, may be premature.

Whilst true that preoccupation with the EDL flatters their rather modest levels of support, the group’s lack of success does not efface the need for constructive debate on the arguments they speak to. What hinders the EDL, in common with many attempted far-right incursions in recent memory, is not an infertile breeding ground for their ideology, but what Tommy Robinson, displaying a rarely deployed capacity for understatement, once described as “a bit of an image problem”.

Not often accused of knowing too much, Robinson is at least accurate on this point- with 84 per cent of those who are aware of the EDL professing that they would never join the group and only 6 per cent (down slightly in the wake of reprisals for the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich) willing to consider joining the organisation.

Scenes from the rally- featuring a keynote speech from Robinson which merged, as best it could, disparate themes of unfair treatment at the hands of the authorities, opposition to military action in Syria, the transgressions of Muslim grooming gangs, female genital mutilation and supposed Muslim controlled ‘no-go’ areas – are unlikely to persuade public opinion to the contrary.

Whilst the EDL has from its inception attempted to co-opt the language of human rights, even having the temerity to pose as a champion of women’s rights on occasion, its appeals to be taken seriously are seldom answered. Even it’s mission statement – which is carefully worded to present the organization in a benign light – lapses into identitarian politics as it asserts the importance of “respecting tradition” and insists that “the onus should always be on foreign cultures to adapt and integrate”.

‘Cultures’ – conceived as obstinate, ossified entities – are the arbitrarily defined groups creating the spark of conflict by the EDL’s account. Broadly adapting Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations thesis has become something of a hallmark for the modern far-right.

These portents may be ominous, but the thin barrier between central leadership and ordinary members makes the group’s challenge of winning support even more unlikely.

Unsavoury elements can easily join through the porous mechanisms of social media and lend their unphotogenic presence to public gathering without formal subscription. The cruder biological racism and associations with street violence that these members entail are enough to further dispel any notion that the EDL can successfully mobilise potential sympathisers who manage to overlook the controversies surrounding the leadership itself.

Yet complete complacency over the EDL’s platform risks conflating message and messenger: anti-immigrant sentiment and in particular anti-Muslim attitudes have remained at steadily high levels in spite of the EDL’s inability to capitalise on it. Statistical confirmation can be found in the British Social Attitudes survey, which concluded that “no other group elicits so much disquiet” among the British population.

Even more starkly, hate crime statistics indicate the effects of this prejudice in its more active form: 50-60 per cent of recorded anti-religious hate crime estimated to be directed against Muslims.

The discrepancy between potential and realised support for far-right movements is redolent of the UK’s encounters with the far-right in its more familiar electoral guise; the repeated poor performance of which is derived not from any exceptional cultural insulation from European trends, but from the lack of sophistication, and general incompetence, of our respective far-right parties.

The EDL has proven so far to be the social movement inheritor of this unsuccessful legacy. It is unclear what effect the street-based anti-fascist demonstrators have had in hampering their efforts, but it has to be noted that question marks remain over Unite Against Fascism, who have been accused of harbouring extremists of a different stripe.

Whilst it may be too trite and reductive to say that UAF are as bad as the EDL, the increasingly mutually dependent relationship of Islamist and far-right extremists should make selective opposition to extremism increasingly untenable. Nonetheless, the accumulated opposition to the EDL did ensure a sense of numerical embarrassment for the anti-Muslim group.

The unsolved attitudinal drivers of far-right sympathisers remain, however, and so the ideas that fuel the EDL’s marginal street presence are still obstinately active among the wider population.

The weekend’s skirmish may be seen as a defeat for the organised far-right on the streets, but the task of convincing a sceptical population of the benefits of immigration – particularly by engaging in the more difficult cultural, as well as economic, arguments – will have to be taken up elsewhere.

46 Responses to “The EDL fails to attract support, but anti-Muslim sentiment remains widespread”

  1. swatnan

    There’s no doubt about it, the EDL was a reaction to the disgraceful activities of Chowdray and his islamofiacists. Once Chowdray and his religious nutters are silenced, then the EDL will go away down the plughole.

  2. Mark

    Why should anyone be surprised about this? From my perspective, the EDL, or at least Robinson is difficult in the sense that he basically says the same things regarding militant Islam as did Hitchens, Harris and Dawkins, who I’ve read for over ten years. But, his organisation is so very obviously based on football hooliganism and racism. They order themselves into “divisions”, Robinson himself has taken on the name of an apparently infamous Luton football hooligan, and the people who turn up to rallies (Only seen on TV I admit) seem to be simple thuggish racists. However Robinson, in interview might confine his ire to radical Islamism, it shines like a beacon that their overall objective is to be against all Muslims. Most right thinking people won’t go along with that.

    On the other hand, why should there still be feelings against Muslims in the UK?

    That’s a little more difficult to understand if it actually is “all Muslims” or mainly against the radicals. It is hardly surprising that pre 9/11 hardly anyone would give a second thought to Islam etc, but 9/11 and everything since, not only in the USA and UK/Europe, but in various parts of the world, would make quite a few people want to know what drives those terrorists. This manifests itself in either taking from the media what is reported on Islam, or looking more for yourself, and from the concept of Jihad, through women’s rights, FGM and veiling to Quranic verses etc,etc, people have found a religion that is hard to fit in 21st century UK.

    Some of the same would probably be found in Orthodox Judaism, but seeing as there is no terrorist threat from that direction, nobody goes looking.
    Another thing that particulalry annoys me, is the use of certain ‘Muslim representatives’ on TV and radio, who are invariably religiously devout. Do they really represent all Muslims?
    How can a Muslim representative on TV, discussing for instance, the Danish cartoons, say “nobody should have been killed for that, however…”? There should be no “however” about it. This for me, is where that representation falls flat in a largely secular society. The implication is that violence due to depictions of Mohammed should be expected and understood. There are more examples like this.
    Turning to Twitter, I can find many modern UK Muslims who ridicule these people and don’t wish to be represented by them, but they get no voice in media because the TV companies actually want the orthodox religious as the supposed ‘moderate view’, when it is anything but.
    This week we see a Birmingham college has a policy banning all head coverings. This has been taken as a direct discrimination on Muslim women. Why should I believe the Principal of the college when she says the policy has been in place for a number of years and that it also covers non-religious head coverings and it’s for security, and various Muslim organisations not believe it? Apparently, there is to be a protest outside the college this Friday, specifically regarding the banning of the veil. This was retweeted by TellMama, an organisation set up to monitor hate crime against Muslims. Is this a hate crime? Have TellMama investigated and know something the rest of us don’t? If they haven’t, why should they retweet something about a protest which could be against a valid policy?
    Surely that goes against their ‘hate crime’ remit?
    Looking at the majority of comments given in online newspaper artlicles about the ban, there is no gnashing of teeth against ‘Muslims’ but overall measured responses regarding adhering to a ban which in this case, has encompassed religious dress.
    So from absolute armed Jihad against the West, down to feeling discriminated against for a valid policy, has ordinary people upset and frustrated.
    Hardly a solution, but a step forward, would be to have the regular orthodox TV representatives balanced (more) by non-orthodox and secular Muslims.

  3. JonathanBagley

    “Statistical confirmation can be found in the British Social Attitudes survey, which concluded that “no other group elicits so much disquiet” among the British population.”
    Even more disquiet generated recently as Joe Public, without any prompting from the EDL, ponders the purpose and expense of CCTV security systems which can be circumvented by anyone whose culture (not religion) apparently requires them to remain unidentifiable.

  4. JaqStansfield

    A timely (and well written) reminder. All too often pertinent questions about islamic ideology are brushed aside as the exposition of ‘racist’ fanatics.

  5. Zainab523

    Yes! ‘conflating message with messenger’ – why cannot everyone on the liberal left understand this as clearly as this author can? My twitter feed has been completely bombarded by twits proclaiming victory of multiculturalism

  6. Zainab523

    …yet the issues they raise will not.

  7. Antoine Bisset

    The EDL turned up because they wished to express their views on an amateur basis.
    The anti-fascists are paid by the taxpayer. They are professionals. A quick look at the UAF and its members, leaders and constituent and supporting groups will reveal that they are funded by the Government, that is by the taxpayers. Perhaps that is the reason that they have not been jailed in large numbers for violent conduct.

  8. nothing

    ‘Perhaps that is the reason that they have not been jailed in large numbers for violent conduct.’
    Ignoring the 260 anti-fascists arrested on the day…

  9. Antoine Bisset

    Even so. How many sent to prison? More relevantly, how many jailed on the many previous occasions that the UAF brought violence and mayhem to towns and cities? Turning up with the sole purpose of throwing bottles and starting fist-fights is hardly the actions of peace-loving democrats in a democracy – more Arab spring?

  10. VrioMan London

    What planet do you people live on?? There were probably about 2/3000 EDL. Support for the EDL is growing and will continue to grow as the issue’s they highlight are of REAL concern (Grooming Gangs, Sharia only zones, extremism, 2 tier policing etc). Keep dreaming in thinking that the UAF outnumber EDL marches… another ‘Lee Rigby’ (RIP) and it will be game over for Islam in this country, do not be blinded otherwise.

  11. Tacwhyt

    I think youll find that the overwhelming amount of reports suggest that the EDL were outnumbered and very few reports suggest there were more than 600 EDL supporters. I think the author’s very well made point was despite this, we shouldn’t ignore the messages they raise and indeed point out that some of their sentiment is shared by the wider population. I am all for putting Islam on the spotlight but make no mistake about it ViroMan, the EDL is supported at the peril of us all. Their methods and articulations Infact make it more, and not less, difficult for people to afford real analysis to the role of religion, and Islam more specifically, in soviety.

  12. Nothing

    Thankfully none, for they did nothing unlawful unless you view the right to public assembly as illegal and see a legitimate reason for arrest being leaving the police designated UAF static protest park. Although, those arrested have been given bail conditions not to engage in demonstrations within the boundaries of the M25 where the EDL, EVF or BNP are present. So EDL and their like can continue their ‘amateur expression of their views’ by marching through towns and cities and districts with a large immigrant populations trying to stir hatred all in the name of democracy! While the taxpayers pay for the police to escort them around on their tour of various car parks.

    Out of interest when have UAF turned up and brought violence and mayhem to town and cities?

    Additionally, why do some people (such as yourself) tar all antifascists with the same brush, the brush of UAF. Those that were arrested were a separate group; Antifa alongside many locals.

  13. jonlansman

    “Whilst it may be too trite and reductive to say that UAF are as bad as the EDL, the increasingly mutually dependent relationship of Islamist and far-right extremists should make selective opposition to extremism increasingly untenable.”

    It is a shame on a site that prides itself on producing evidence based analysis (http://www.leftfootforward.org/about/), and in an article much of which could be agreed by most LFF readers, to find

  14. Eisenhorn

    If we want to talk about violence then the UAF and EDL pale in comparison to Antifa.

    Of course Antifa is amongst the ranks though, it goes without saying, but a small amount.
    The thing about the UAF is that they ALWAYS counter protest against the EDL which causes chaos and arrests.

    This is because they are government controlled. Divide and conquer anyone?

    The beer swilling EDL or the SWP front UAF??
    How about NEITHER?
    I look at the mission statement of both groups and think ‘fair play’… Then I see their actions.. ‘No thanks’.

    However the UAF are there as a catalyst to create chaos. If you don’t think they are not capable of violence then mingle amongst the ranks as they throw bottles and psyche themselves up for a fight with the ‘Nazis’! (If you actually know what a Nazi is you know the EDL are not)

    Let the EDL show themselves up without the help of the UAF.

  15. Eisenhorn

    Choudary is a government asset they aren’t taking their boy out the game any time soon friend.

    There will be an increase of the EDL due to the result of cultural Marxism. Muslims don’t integrate well and they shouldn’t have to; global caliphate? Sharia Law anyone? These are their beliefs and ideologies they have their own way of life, we have are own as well… None of this is meant to work. That’s the point!

    Multiculturalism was only ever forced upon us to be used for divide and conquer. Left/Right its time to reject these terms and look at the bigger picture. Multi racial society is a blessing. Multiculturalism is used to terminate a host nations culture and help cause a breakdown in society… Ask Sweden and the like.

  16. Eisenhorn

    The fact of the matter is if you support the EDL you are automatically branded a racist even if you are not. People have lost their jobs for going on EDL marches. It is hard to estimate their following with regards to just ‘boots on the ground’.

    We all need to meet in the middle and ask the question: is islam compatible with modern day England? Obviously it is not so who will have to change…. That’s right we will and the left will make sure of it.

    We need to meet in the middle and have a solid secular society. Sure have freedom of religion but where it conflicts with secular law…..! The left are hell bent on turning this country into a multicultural haven which seems great but it cant possibly work.

  17. Dominic Ashton

    Jonlansman, thanks for your comments. You raise a valid
    point about the UAF paragraph, and a link has been added to elaborate on the
    claims made.

    The relationship between Islamist and far-right extremists
    touches upon cumulative extremism, which does go a bit beyond my article but
    has been written about elsewhere. For example see http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/may/23/woolwich-attack-far-right-three-points?CMP=twt_gu
    and
    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/06/left-should-mobilise-against-religious-extremism-well-far-right

    I would also add that not all anti-extremist organisations
    have the same question marks over them. For example Hope Not Hate have
    recognised the relationship between different forms of extremism, and been much
    clearer than UAF in adopting a consistent policy:

    http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/blog/article/1018/a-plague-on-both-their-houses

    The working definition of Islamism that I adhere to is a
    desire to impose one interpretation of Islam over society by law (this includes
    non-violent actors and organizations). There is no denying that there can be
    debate/discussion over definition but that is a good starting point.

  18. wattys123

    600, you are having a larff and where are the pictures to the middle-class communists (anti-fascists) in large numbers, Police estimated 300. THE EDL has massive support within the Woking class, most see it as their voice. The Left is devoid of working class people, if it had any it wouldn’t have forced mass-immigration on people who neither wanted or benefited from it. Most working class people see civil war as inevitable, given this fact and Islam’s 1400 years of not compromising, the EDL is here to stay.

  19. wattys123

    600, you are having a larff and where are the pictures to the middle-class communists (anti-fascists) in large numbers, Police estimated 300. THE EDL has massive support within the Woking class, most see it as their voice. The Left is devoid of working class people, if it had any it wouldn’t have forced mass-immigration on people who neither wanted or benefited from it. Most working class people see civil war as inevitable, given this fact and Islam’s 1400 years of not compromising, the EDL is here to stay.

  20. wattys123

    many locals, don’t talk bollx

  21. Jargee

    To point out on more than one occasion, that EDL were outnumbered in the very backyard of an area regarded as a Muslim area such as Tower Hamlets, is rather odd. That the residents could only muster as many as they did, was more surprising.

  22. wattys123

    For the sake of all our children, be the Saints, be the Knight and be the Christian soldiers fighting for all that is righteous, and all that is good - for all the values our people cherish and for the blood of our ancestors. No surrender to evil – EVER!

  23. Skater

    Witness the typical jobless UAF mob with their monotonous droning of warn out catchphrases… Oh and they are beating up a middle aged man as well. How are these idiots better than EDL? They don’t even have a genuine cause other than following the EDL around like a bad smell.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcomyWsENUc

  24. TJ

    HELP HELP I’M BEING OPPRESSED

  25. Phil

    Well I have seen footage of the Tower Hamlets march. As the EDL walk back across London Bridge and it certainly looks more than 600 people, which immediately discredits anything Dominic Ashton is trying to portray in his article, I find it disappointing that authors think their readership are so ignorant. Bit of professionalism please

  26. Metasham Crystilic

    More than 600… But thats only including police Phil.

  27. Alastair Jeffries

    Quote: “On the other hand, why should there still be feelings against Muslims in the UK?”

    The reason why there is so much hatred against Muslims is that hate groups need an easily identifiable target for their hatred.

    The identity and internal power structures of hate groups is built around hatred targeted at some social group.

    The most likely group used to be Jews but the 9/11 event and media coverage has meant that Muslims have become more useful for the hate groups as targets for hate.

    So they have forgotten all the anti-semitism now and instead target Muslims.

  28. Mark

    I’m not entirely sure that you read all that I wrote.

  29. mjd

    “Whilst there are undoubtedly Muslims who hold anti-democratic, sexist and homophobic views (as there are Christains, Hindus, Jews and believers in other religions),” Perhaps, but such “views” are not ENCODED in Christian, Hindu, and Jewish holy books as “the word of God! and mindlessly followed by an ENTIRE CULTURE! are you serious? or just stupid?

  30. mjd

    You Are! but are too stupid to know it!

  31. Phil

    Have a look at the footage of them walking back over the bridge, you can clearly see the police in their Hivis jackets and the EDL. Debatable how many but clearly more than 600.

  32. Metasham Crystilic

    Or maybe just maybe people have looked to every muslim nation around the world and seen the oppression of islamic rule?
    Maybe just maybe they have looked to the middle east, the birth place of another religion called Christianity and seen how it was rampaged and overthrown by a death cult?
    Maybe they have seen the likes of Sweden and Denmark and the cultural unrest caused by islamic immigration. Maybe they have a true understanding of the GLOBAL CALIPHATE. The first victims of islam are muslims. Religion is the problem not muslims. A cancer sufferer is not a problem but the disease they carry IS. Muslims carry the 7th century cancer that is islam, it hasnt and will not change, we want freedom not religious oppression. There will be more areas soon like tower hamlets and they will spread its inevitable. Muslims will be the majority one day and if you disagree you are plain ignorant… They thought the same in the middle east at one point.

    Don’t get me wrong though anyone who actually believes that is obviously A RACIST. Well that’s what the race baiting left tell me so it must be true. They are the saviours of the UK and Europe after all.

  33. jonlansman

    You have a narrow definition of islamism which makes sense, but many others have much wider definitions as evidenced by Tom Harris MP’s tweet (http://www.islamophobia-watch.com/islamophobia-watch/2013/1/16/labour-nec-sub-committee-rejects-ken-livingstone-proposal-to.html ) referring to the “Islamist Lutfur Rahman”.

    I am opposed to what you characterise as Islamist objectives but singling out Islamism rather than discussing it in the same context as Christian creationists and homophobes who wish to enshrine their views in law, together with more violent Hindu and Jewish extremists, puts us in danger of encouraging islamophobia.

    Islamists as you define them are a tiny proportion of British Muslims. Islamism is a much greater threat in the middle east and Muslim majority countries elsewhere, but so is Hindu and Jewish religious extremism in India and Israel. And the power and influence of Christian fundamentalism in the US is a major concern.

    It is surely enough that the vast majority of Muslims in Britain and their leaders are so quick to condemn and ostracise Al-Muhajiroun etc. For the anti-fascist movement to identify them as a particular and distinct threat would be to exaggerate their significance and fuel Islamophobia.

    Fascism and Racism are not really fuelled by these tiny minorities; they are fuelled by a hatred of the entire community. And, though I recognise there are differences between UAF and Hope not Hate, you have unreasonably written off UAF without any serious assessment of those differences.

  34. jonlansman

    Oh I think you can find parts of the old and new testaments to support (though not justify) “anti-democratic, sexist and homophobic views” Christian and Jewish views, though you can also find other references that stand in contradiction. Your suggestion that the Quran is “mindlessly followed by an ENTIRE CULTURE” marks you out as an Islamophobe and a racist and I would urge the Editor to remove your offensive remarks.

  35. Metasham Crystilic

    The thing about Al-Muhajiroun is their ideologies and actions are more rooted in the Quran than so called ‘moderate’ muslims. Islam is not moderate so I’m not sure who these moderate muslims are, equally who are these islamic ‘extremists’ when is islam IS extreme and finally don’t use the old age tactic of bringing up other religions because they are not the ones we are discussing and please don’t lower yourself to the level of race baiting like your fellow left who cant construct a rebuttal and bring race into a debate on religion.

  36. jonlansman

    I bring up other religions because of my own experience being brought up as an “orthodox” Jew, one who still retains my Jewish identity though I am now a socialist atheist who stands up for Palestinian rights rather than Zionism. I relate to Islamophobia as a Jew.

    And as to who are these “moderate Muslims”, they include every Muslim I have met in Tower Hamlets where I live, from those whose Muslim identity is as secular as is my own Jewish identity through to the observant religious Muslims who nevertheless engage with and respect others who live in their community.

    Just as in my own family, and in other communities in Tower Hamlets, some find it harder than others to overcome the sexist and homophobic attitudes that they were surrounded by as they grew up,

    I’m afraid that I find your view that “islam IS extreme” entirely objectionable and offensive.

  37. Nick Read

    600 people. 600 people don’t fill up the entire length of tower bridge. I watched EDL march from my office and believe me, there were thousands! I have been amazed by reports
    I keep reading suggesting this. So why the constant attempt to play down the EDL. I think it may be people are beginning to see common sense and the left for what it really is, and they are getting nervy. Free speech as long as you don’t upset a muslim. Why? It’s always Muslims causing the trouble, always Muslims that are offended, always Muslims taking to the streets because people haven’t shown enough respect to their faith, always Muslims involved in grooming gangs, FGM, anti semitism, anti British, anti government, anti democracy, homophobia, subjugation of women’s rights, halal, lets be realistic and say terrorism too, non Intergration, preaching hate on the streets, cave deeeling sharia law, honour killings, rape of underage children as it is somehow acceptable in their culture. The fact muslims represent 5-6% of population yet 30% of prison population should be telling enough. How often do you see this from other minorities?? Remember despite the way the word is thrown about these days its not racist to oppose and idelogy, remind me what race is islam? It doesn’t happen people, not every faith and ideology are equal. With Muslims its always take take take. And the English people are fed up. I’m not an EDL member but beginning to wonder why?
    Nick Read
    nickread88@hotmail.co.uk

  38. Nick Read

    Off 300 arrests that day 286 were UAF/MUSLIMS

  39. Fedup Voter

    Firstly, may I say I am very plesantly surprised by the civility of the debate here and the breadth of views. I was expecting a great deal more unquestioning support for multicultralism and Islam.

    That said, I would simplify that definition of Islamism down to “support for sharia law” and would point out a summation of an ECHR judgement made by the President of the court on 22nd Jan 2004:

    “In its judgment, the Court first noted that freedom of thought, of religion, of expression and of association as guaranteed by the Convention could not deprive the authorities of a State in which an association, through its activities, jeopardised that State’s institutions, of the right to protect those institutions. It necessarily followed that a political party whose leaders incited violence or put forward a policy which failed to respect democracy or which was aimed at the
    destruction of democracy and the flouting of the rights and freedoms recognised in a democracy, could not lay claim to the Convention’s protection against penalties imposed on those grounds. Such penalties could even, where there was a sufficiently established and imminent danger for democracy, take the form of preventive intervention.

    Noting that the Welfare Party had pledged to set up a regime based on sharia law, the Court found that sharia was incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy as set forth in the Convention. It considered that “sharia, which faithfully reflects the dogmas and divine rules laid down by religion, is stable and invariable. Principles such as pluralism in the political sphere or the constant evolution of public freedoms have no place in it”. According to the
    Court, it was difficult to declare one’s respect for democracy and human rights while at the same time supporting a regime based on sharia, which clearly diverged from Convention values, particularly with regard to its criminal law and criminal procedure, its rules on the legal status of women and the way it intervened in all spheres of private and public life in accordance with religious precepts.”

    That clearly sets out the dangers that sharia represents to UK values and complementary to that, the Islamic doctrine of “Enjoining the good, forbidding the evil” is relevant. This link briefly explains it under things that threaten the ‘religion’:

    http://bitesizeislam.wordpress.com/2008/03/18/ms094-protection-of-lineage/

    That phrase essentially means working towards imposing Islamic values on the public sphere (the very opposite of plurality and tolerance) and is the exact one that can be heard on one of the Muslim Patrol videos of people being harassed on the street that circulated earlier in the year, so the doctrine is very obviously being taught in the UK

  40. Fedup Voter

    Apologies, the correct link for “enjoining the good” is here

    http://bitesizeislam.wordpress.com/2008/02/16/ms091-protection-of-religion/

  41. Fedup Voter

    Your reply is simply a bucket of whitewash. 75% of the UK population have concerns regarding Islam for many reasons:

    1.The continual attacks and terror plots that are generally under reported in the UK media.

    2. The general level of religious intolerance in Muslim countries. They rank highly in PEW Foundation surveys on religious intolerance.

    http://www.pewforum.org/2012/09/20/rising-tide-of-restrictions-on-religion-findings/

    3. The day to day stories regarding pork in schools, niqabs etc. that signal an unwillingness of Islamic culture to bend and adapt to the UK.

    People are not stupid, they may only see a small proportion of these articles but it is more than enough to fuel general suspicion of Islam. That most certainly is not groups looking around saying, “right, who shall we hate today”

  42. Fedup Voter

    Also of interest in defining Islamism is this article from ConservativeHome. Possibly a bridge between left and right on this issue

    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2010/11/sharia-is-the-touchstone-for-recognising-and-combatting-radical-islam-part-2.html

  43. Fedup Voter

    Whilst recognising that there are extremists in other faiths, you singularly fail to address the question of the proportionality of the threat posed to the UK and UK interests by each group. Excepting the IRA(who are a much diminished threat compared with the 1980s), none of the others you mention pose any real threat. True the Christian abortionist idiots in the US require monitoring to ensure their baleful influence does not extend here but the stark truth is that is only faith group that currently poses a threat here is Islam. The truth of this can be seen in the arrests/imprisonment for terror convictions as is evidenced here

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/terrorism-arrests-analysis-of-charging-and-sentencing-outcomes-by-religion/terrorism-arrests-analysis-of-charging-and-sentencing-outcomes-by-religion

    with approx 57% being Muslim. The true figure is probably higher as there is an unknown category. When you juxtapose that to Muslims being 4.8% of the general population, it throws the threat level into stark relief. Add into that the numerous lower levels issues such as the ‘hate preachers’ on UK airwaves as evidenced here:

    http://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2013/07/muslim-tv-station-fined-for-allowing-contributor-to-incite-murder

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9698967/Muslim-radio-station-fined-for-saying-gay-people-should-be-tortured.html

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/9859804/Preachers-of-hate-who-spread-their-violent-word-on-British-TV-channels.html

    http://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2013/09/islamic-tv-channels-fined-for-hatemongering

    and the threats to free speech plus gender segregation:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/maryamnamazie/2012/01/17/you-can-expect-threats-if-you-discuss-sharia/

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/debate-on-islam-and-evolution-has-to-be-called-off-after-revolt-by-student-societies-8418022.html

    http://west-wight-sangha.blogspot.com/2011/03/iman-threatened-over-evolution.html

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/channel-4-cancels-controversial-screening-of-islam-the-untold-story-documentary-after-presenter-tom-holland-is-threatened-8125641.html

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/9107689/Mark-Thompson-BBC-director-general-admits-Christianity-gets-tougher-treatment.html

    http://freethinker.co.uk/2012/01/18/muslims-murderous-threats-stop-sharia-lecture-at-a-london-university/

    All this paints a rather disturbing picture. You say that Islamism is a much greater threat in the Middle East but fail to explin why Islam should be any different in the UK to elsewhere. We live in a global, interlinked world and it is reported that ME preachers often video link into mosques here plus their views are easily found online. Add to that oil money funding for mosques and community centres and it is easy to see how ME attitudes can be propagated in the UK. Your view, whilst undoubtedly honest and rooted in the Jewish experience in history, fails to take any account of the way Islam has expanded in the past as is evidenced here by an ex-Muslim:

    http://www.islam-watch.org/books/islamic-jihad-legacy-of-forced-conversion-imperialism-slavery.pdf

  44. Metasham Crystilic

    Although I’m not a muslim I have been a student of islam for some years. I go by the Quran and 1400 years of islamic history to research to make my assumptions, not liberal appeasers lip service.

  45. chris heath

    Why are people concerned about Islam?
    Perhaps its because Islam’s prophet, Mohammed was a warlord and conqueror, and to emulate him is considered the duty of every Muslim. And they follow the Koran, the Holy word of God, which in itself contains violent, intolerant texts, with commandments to kill.. But do they follow such examples? The source is ‘thereligionofpeace ‘.
    Islamic fanatics burned nuns, slit the throats of dozens of students at a school, murdered members of a polio vaccination team, bombed restaurants and markets, massacred over a hundred villagers and even waded into a train station to stab over thirty Chinese commuters to death – all in the past week.

  46. chris heath

    From Pat Condell – “Islam – the religion of permanent offense”.

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