Police terror boss only half right in remarks about EDL

Islamist terrorism predates the EDL by many years. Osama bin Laden published his justification for the indiscriminate killing of Americans and Jews everywhere in February 1998 and the ‘secret apparatus’ of the Muslim Brotherhood is believed to have assassinated Mahmoud an-Nukrashi Pasha, then prime minister of Egypt, as long ago as 1948.

According to Detective Superintendent John Larkin of the West Midlands counter-terrorism unit, high profile English Defence League rallies can act as a “potential recruiting carrot” for Islamist terrorism. In response, the EDL have denied any responsibility for feeding Islamist radicalisation, saying:

“The root cause of the problem is the Qur’an.”

Of course, Islamist terrorism predates the EDL by many years. Osama bin Laden published his justification for the indiscriminate killing of Americans and Jews everywhere in February 1998 and the ‘secret apparatus’ of the Muslim Brotherhood is believed to have assassinated Mahmoud an-Nukrashi Pasha, then prime minister of Egypt, as long ago as 1948.

But whilst there may be no causal relationship between the EDL and Islamist terrorism, the anti-Islam demonstrations of the EDL do help to create an atmosphere which is more conducive to Islamist radicalisation.

In particular, their anti-Islam protests and their chants of “we hate Muslims” help Islamist recruiters to argue that there is a ‘war on Islam’ and that the only way to defend against it is by uniting against ‘the West’, possibly using violence. For example, Taji Mustafa of the global revolutionary Islamist group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, has argued that EDL protests are part of a:

“Wider campaign by mainstream politicians … to pressurise the community to compromise her Islam.”

Leading to the conclusion:

“In this situation the Muslim community needs to remain focused on adhering to Islam and continue exposing the plans of the British government in the Muslim lands whilst explaining how Islam is an alternative to the political, economic and social breakdown in the world today.”

What Detective Inspector Larkin failed to mention is that the reverse also occurs; the antics of Islamist extremists are a “recruiting carrot” for far-right groups like the EDL. Al-Muhajiroun/Muslims Against Crusaders/Islam4UK have 40-60 members at most and they have not, in recent years, managed to attract more than about 150 people to any of their events.

Indeed, at their carefully stage-managed publicity stunts, media normally heavily outnumber Islamists. Yet it was al-Muhajiroun’s March 2009 protest in Luton against troops returning from Afghanistan that led to the creation of the EDL.

This symbiotic relationship between far-right extremists and Islamists has been noted previously at Left Foot Forward, but Detective Inspector Larkin’s comments come at a particularly interesting time. Nick Lowles of the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight recently published an article entitled ‘A plague on both their houses’, in which he stated:

“We stand opposed to both sides. We oppose the racism and Islamophobia of the EDL just as we oppose the religious bigotry and antisemitism of the MAC [Muslims Against Crusades – the latest name for al-Muhajiroun/Islam4UK].

“To hear these Islamist extremists publicly deny the Holocaust and call for the formation of a Muslim Waffen SS Division – as they did today – should rightly sicken every anti-fascist just as much as the racist bile spat out by the EDL and ENA.

“We think it is important to criticise both groups publicly.”

Ending the feedback loop produced by far-right and Islamist extremists exploiting each other’s propaganda has never been a more important goal. Now, with this statement from the people behind ‘Hope Not Hate’ and its successful campaign against the BNP in east London, it is finally getting the recognition it deserves.

20 Responses to “Police terror boss only half right in remarks about EDL”

  1. Morgan Dalton

    RT @leftfootfwd: Police terror boss only half right in remarks about EDL: //bit.ly/akdbOo writes @QuilliamF's George Readings

  2. Simon Sayer

    RT @leftfootfwd: Police terror boss only half right in remarks about EDL: //bit.ly/akdbOo writes @QuilliamF's George Readings

  3. Shamik Das

    Police terror boss only half right in remarks about EDL: //bit.ly/akdbOo writes @QuilliamF's George Readings on @leftfootfwd

  4. Wisdom786

    Hi Guys,

    EDL has stated that the root cause of the problem is Qur’an. However, if one studies the Qur’an it talks about the importance of keeping peace amongst the people. It also talks about the right of the neighbours e.t.c. A simple conclusion – Islam and Qur’an is not the root cause of problems.

    The leaders have named the group English Defence League, I’m not too sure what it is they are trying to defend, is it the fact that we are forcing Burkha on their women, because i’ve never heard of an incident of forcing Brukha’s on their women. Or is it that they are worried that we will force Shariah Law on them, because part of Shariah is that you cant force and oppress people.

    I’ll leave the last taughts to you guys.

  5. Mr. Sensible

    George, this is an important point you have raised.

    The clearest possible message should go out to the Muslim community that the EDL and BNP are not part of the British political mainstreem. When the EDL held their demo in Leicester in October, I heard on BBC East Midlands Today that either side of it the local community had held a gathering to demonstrate this. I think recent events show that the EDL is not just opposed to “militant Islam”; it seems to me that the EDL is opposed to all Islam.

    Just as we should be rightly appalled at events in Luton, I personally am appalled that the EDL came last December to protest in my hometown of Nottingham at the same time as we were welcoming some of our troups home from Afghanistan. I was appalled to see their homecoming highjacked in that way.

    I think you and others are entirely right to say that the extremists on both sides are wrong.

  6. Mark Scott

    The police are certainly adopting Muslim ways, this argument sounds very similar to what many imans say.

    That when a western woman has been raped, it is her fault for wearing provocative clothes.

    In the future we will get blown up through are own fault for being annoyed at Muslims burning poppies, dishonouring are war dead or of even blowing us up previously.

    Thanks blair, harman et al for destroying this once green and pleasant land.

  7. pete

    We all know how this is going to end up, unfortunately the powers that be can’t see it.

  8. Nick Sutton

    RT @leftfootfwd: Police terror boss only half right in remarks about EDL //bit.ly/9T48rD >> Very interesting idea

  9. Joseph

    Well… I think what Nick Herbert said speaks for itself. I think the ignorance and actions of people such as; Wisdom786 and many like him is beyond surreal, and i’d like to really know exactly what experience they have in a real Muslim world. Oh, it is very respectful (and i mean in the Arab world), as long as u respect their values… but what about ours?

    Islamic extremism is beyond counting, and to blame it on people who take pride in who they are, who have simply had enough of politicians forcing their own way of thinking onto them, is ludicuous.

    I no longer scares me, the future. As I’m prepared for complete and utter unrest, and I know that those with power “clouded” will fail to bring fourth their idea, but then again… their whole idea may even be that, complete power.

  10. janie_s

    Let’s face it, the EDL are not extremist. They are a bunch of english working class men who have the occasional march to show their support for ‘england’ and english ways. They are the sort of people who were sent to die on the fields of France so our ruling classes could lord it over India.

    The media makes out they are extreme because everybody needs to put someone else in a labelled box. They pretended the Tea Party in the US were racists but the position didn’t hold water after a while.

  11. Straus

    You and The Guardian rightly point out that both groups feed off each other. I’m assuming from the way that the story has been reported that Mr Larkin made no such counterbalancing argument himself. He certainly should have done. The police must be seen to be absolutely impartial and non-partisan in matters like this.

    The rank and file of the EDL have as much a sense of grievance against the Establishment for supposedly neglecting their concerns and interests as they do against extreme Islamists or moderate followers of Islam. Larkin’s remarks will no doubt have reinforced this perception and may well serve as a “recruiting carrot” for the EDL.

  12. Matt

    Christ, if “the anti-Islam demonstrations of the EDL… help to create an atmosphere which is more conducive to Islamist radicalisation,” just imagine what invading Muslim countries and slaughtering hundreds of thousands of their citizenry must do.

  13. Mr. Sensible

    ‘Janie_S’ when they go round saying things like, I quote, ‘who the f— is Ala’ how is that not extremist?

  14. janie_s

    well, saying ‘who the f— is Ala’ is not really extremist. it is just a football chant. here on earth we tend to think of extremist as people murdering people or suicide bombing, throwing homosexuals off cliffs, raping wives for the trangressions of their husbands etc. get a sense of perspective.

  15. Mr. Sensible

    ‘Janie_S’ the point is that making such comments undermines the EDL’s claim to oppose militant Islam.

  16. wendy

    your comments and name “sensible” do not belong in the same sentence.The chant who the f is allah are in no way extremist, however “troops burn in hell” “troops are terrorists” “troops are murderers” “troops are rapists” is extreme if only in content, should YOU wish to live where extremists rule please feel free to leave the country because we the people, will NEVER let it happen here

  17. wendy

    there is massive criticism of the EDL who would like the spineless Govt and biased Police to make a statement and a stand against other groups who are attempting to destroy EVERYTHING and ANYTHING which we regard as part of the “British Way of Life”. In relation to last nights Panorama programme how can it ever be right that books are available in schools here, which promote Sharia Law and the range of punishments it metres out to those who commit crimes, showing diagrams of limbs and where to mutilate them and how stoning is best carried out etc etc

  18. Red

    The EDL may well use extreme Islamists to further their casue but go to their forums, watch their own videos, and see that even without the likes of Al-Muhajiroun/Muslims Against Crusaders/Islam4UK they would still find something to shout about. I saw them in Leicester and far from showing support for “england and english ways” all they did was embarass and degrade the very nation they supposedly support.

  19. We shouldn't abandon the label "extremist" for extremists | Left Foot Forward

    […] It is not hard to find examples of similarly divisive attitudes about Muslims from the likes of Rod Liddle and Melanie Phillips, doyens of the dinner party set. Yet these figures would no doubt  argue that, far from attacking all Muslims, they are only opposed to ‘extremists’, just without defining what they mean by this term or by its opposite, ‘moderates’. Even the EDL claim to be opposed only to ‘Muslim extremists’, a claim undermined by their own actions and words. […]

  20. John p Reid

    saying someone says somehting discusts people so enocurages teh other side, is bad as teh police chief saying the EDL cause people to join Muslim extremists, is like saying that Bernie Grants anti white racist comments casued people to join the Tories, well if they did so be it, You could’nt censor Grant but, he should have realsied that he done more harm than good,

Leave a Reply