How Should Muslims Respond to the English Defence League’s (EDL) threat? Yusuf Smith

MuslimMatters would like to thank Yusuf Smith (blogs at blogistan.co.uk) for this guest post.

The English Defence League is an organisation that has existed for about a year, whose creation was prompted by a demonstration by al-Muhajiroun at a soldiers’ parade in Luton in March 2009. To recount, the Royal Anglian Regiment, recently back from Iraq, marched through the town and besides the crowds of (mostly white) locals were a tiny group of al-Muhajiroun who held placards reading “Illegal war in Iraq”, “Anglian soldiers, go to hell” and other slogans that were understandably found offensive. In reaction, a group was formed with the name “United Peoples of Luton” but changed its name to the English Defence League after they received support from other parts of the country.

The thuggish element in the EDL has been notable from the start, with stories in both left- and right-wing British newspapers exposing the fact that several of those who organise EDL events are known football hooligans with criminal records. Many football (soccer) teams in the UK have gangs of hooligans (thugs) who seek out fights with other teams’ hooligans, and not all are racist or support the far right. As Nick Lowles of Searchlight notes, during the early 1990s when the British National Party won a seat on an east London council, Combat 18 (a far-right thug/wannabe terrorist outfit) attempted to win the support of Millwall’s hooligans, but were rejected: although Millwall itself is on the Isle of Dogs in east London, the club’s ground is south of the river in Bermondsey, where there is a substantial black population. They associated C18 with the Chelsea club and “were also willing to accept anyone within their ranks as long as their loyalty was to southeast London and the club”.

However, in the EDL, at least some of the rivalries have been put aside in pursuit of vicious racism and Islamophobia. There is plenty of video footage of them around, particularly privately-filmed footage on YouTube, some of it shot by supporters and some by opponents, and much of it shows the shouting of racist slogans, casual violence, attacks on police officers and vehicles. They have made some attempt to demonstrate that they are “not racist”; they prominently show off their black members and one of their leaders is a Sikh, Guramit Singh. In a recent BBC documentary, one of the main EDL organisers in Luton showed off a young black woman he claimed was his daughter when trying to explain away the claim that he was a racist, on the basis of his having provided a signature to allow a local BNP candidate to stand. In the same documentary featuring an EDL demo outside Parliament in support of Geert Wilders, an Asian guy called Abdul from Glasgow was shown, who boasted that he was a non-practising Muslim and supported the EDL. However, Singh showed what he thought of the likes of “Abdul” by including in his speech the words, “God bless the Muslims because they’ll need it when they’re burning in ****ing Hell”, and this got much applause from the mostly white, male crowd.

Regardless of whether they have black members or not, they certainly have plain racists in their ranks — a Guardian investigator spoke to a woman at an EDL demo in Stoke on Trent in January who said, “They [British soldiers] go over there and fight for this country and then come back to be faced with these Pakis everywhere. But to be honest it is the niggers I can’t stand”. However, Islamophobia is their main driving force and despite occasional talk of “extremism” and “Muslim militants”, the fact is that they do not make any distinction between ordinary Muslims and “militants”, which is why they are best known for demonstrating against the construction of new mosques, supporting Geert Wilders who condemns Islam in general rather than al-Qa’ida or terrorism, and why slogans too obscene to repeat here, insulting to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala or the Prophet, sall’ Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, are featured in much of the footage which is available.

The same investigation also found someone making an attempt to “intellectualise” the EDL: Alan Lake, an IT consultant based in London, claims that the UK will have Shari’ah law within 40 years “unless something is done”. He favours an alliance with the UK Independence Party, which has existed since the 1990s and whose main policy is withdrawal from the European Union, but which has diversified into Islamophobia since 2005 and particularly since “Lord” Pearson took over as leader. However, Lake stresses the importance of the ability of the EDL to “put bodies on the streets” and tells the Guardian, rather threateningly, that “these people are not middle-class female teachers … if they continue to be suppressed it will turn nasty in one way or another … if we are going to have a mess that is so much grist to the mill”. This is all rather reminiscent of Nick Griffin’s famous comment after the BNP’s council by-election victory in 1993: “the electors of Millwall did not back a post-modernist rightist party but what they perceived to be a strong, disciplined organisation with the ability to back up its slogan ‘Defend Rights for Whites’ with well-directed boots and fists”. Of course, the criminal records of a number of the BNP’s senior members is no secret either.

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The article also quotes a Manchester-based academic, Matthew Goodwin, as saying that the EDL has resonance because its anti-Muslim sentiments are echoed in the popular media, which is not true of the anti-semitic and anti-black bigotries of past generations of the far right. The front-page rants against the “burka” and the brazen untruth that the UK is headed for Shari’ah law, something Muslims simply have not demanded (other than the extremist fringe group al-Muhajiroun), are well- known to most Muslims that live in the UK were staples of some of the right-wing press (the Mail, Express and Star) for some time and although the stories have peaked, they clearly made a huge impression on many of their readers, and anti-Shari’ah slogans can be found on banners in some of the YouTube footage (such as this video).

How much of a threat do the EDL pose? In terms of potential to become a mass movement, in my opinion: not much.

They are well-known to be a poorly disciplined rabble of hooligans, and every second of video footage about them shows that this is the case. They should not be compared with Hitler’s Storm Troopers which, although they were thugs, were a disciplined private army; the EDL simply have no Hitler figure and many of them do not respect or answer to Nick Griffin or anyone else in the BNP. They are known to be divided against each other, some of them supporting and some apparently rejecting the BNP, besides the football club rivalries. They cannot persuade the middle-class mainstream of British society that they are defending the British way of life, because forming mobs, shouting obscene slogans and attacking the police are not part of their idea of any British way of life. In any case, the female half of the white middle class could not be expected to identify with the EDL’s crowds of young male hoodlums. The normal way of protesting in Britain is marches and rallies and letters to MPs and newspapers, not drunken rampages.

This issue makes it much easier to use the law to stop the EDL from holding their “demonstrations” and to prevent attendance. Their events do not even bear much resemblance to the National Front marches of the past, and it can be predicted for certain that criminal acts will take place; it is highly likely that the police will be attacked, that the “demonstrators” will try to break through police lines, and that if they succeed, criminal damage and violence are likely to be the result. This is the whole point of their demos – to intimidate and threaten. As the Guardian investigation referenced earlier makes clear, when they are present, individual Muslims, male and female, stand to be threatened and even physically attacked (along with anyone who “looks like a Muslim”). If they manage to get to a mosque, they will ransack it and beat up anyone they find inside.

So what are Muslims to do about this? Sister Mehzabeen (iMuslim) posted some very valuable advice right here on MM last September that brothers should avoid acting on anger and rising to the bait and getting into fights, and sisters should stay away altogether in case brothers be provoked by EDL thugs into fighting for them. On the other hand, more Muslims should be present at UAF (Unite Against Fascism) counter-demonstrations, as right now it may look as if we are relying on non-Muslim well-wishers to fight our battles for us, and it may only take one serious incident to diminish their numbers. Mosques should both strengthen their general security to prevent doors and windows being forced and implement emergency measures in case the building should come under attack during salaah.

We should also attempt to use the law to stop the EDL’s “demonstrations” entering areas where we have homes, businesses and places of worship because of the destruction and violence that would happen if they did (and because there is no reason why Muslims – or anyone else, for that matter – should have to lose a day’s business so that a bunch of thugs can go on the rampage). It is also important that we counter the lies being published by the tabloid media in particular, but much effort is already being put into this. Most of all, it is a great opportunity to show that the Muslims are civilised and law-abiding people and that we have more in common with other such people than with those who purport to “defend” them.

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50 responses to “How Should Muslims Respond to the English Defence League’s (EDL) threat? Yusuf Smith”

  1. Kenya Nomad says:

    Before Muslims respond to demonic entities like EDL, I think they need to air their views against mainstream bigotry perpetuated by forces who appear mainstream but aren’t different from EDL, only smarter. Read Bishop Alan’s blog and see how the media and in particular the Torygraph (some call it The Telegraph) sex up stories to instill hate against Muslims and Islam.

    http://bishopalan.blogspot.com/2010/06/how-press-feeds-bigotry.html

  2. Dara Ui Chonaigle says:

    A Chara,

    Our experience in Britain is partially applicable here. During the troubles in the north of Ireland, our community was at the receiving end of thuggery from these groups, egged on by provocative ‘reporting’ by the tabloid press. Those of us who objected to our portrayal were labelled as IRA supporters.

    Some of us decided to keep our heads down, others were driven to more radical groupings who took an anti-UK view. My advice is to stick up for your rights vociferously, while rejecting the voices of those who seek to use the EDL and BNP as evidence that you cannot function in British society.

    Insulting British society and scorning its way of life and traditions is not a sensible course for people who wish to live in it. Conversely, being afraid to condemn UK foreign policy for fear that you will be called an extremist is not an option. All of us have a right to call our leaders to account.

    Just because a non-muslim finds some aspects of Islam, or some people’s way of expressing their faith uncomfortable or even objectionable, does not necessarily mean that they are anti-muslim. And just because someone is strong in their muslim faith, and thinks others should follow their way of life does not mean that they are fanatical bigots or terrorist sympathisers. Most people are moderate, we should be able to put forward our views and also agree to differ.

    Stand firm in your beliefs, defend your rights and respect the beliefs of others where they are of goodwill and respect their rights. Rolling around in the gutter with the EDL is beneath your dignity, and its giving them what they want.

    Dara Ui Chonaigle

  3. Gurabah says:

    salam,

    well said Dara!!! I agree with what you said.

    I think this group is inticing and provoking the muslims to be reactive so that they portray them as violent muslims( wich is the picture they always see). They want to push the buttons of muslims so they can get a reaction from them. But muslims stay true to who you are and….fight for your right according to Law. Remember our Noble teacher and Prophet Muhammad Salal Lahu Alayhee Wa Salam ways to deal with these backward people.
    Peace!!

  4. […] How should Muslims respond to the English Defence League’s threat? […]

  5. Adam Wightman says:

    Honestly, I think you Muslims have to realize, that it isn’t the EDL, it is you, taken as a collective whole; a group of third world descendents that have a culture that is similar to where Europe was in the Medieval ages. Thats a fact. The point is, it is irrelevant how you respond to the EDL, there will reach a point where British Natives and the Muslim population will reach a tipping point, where tolerance will end and a ‘Clash of Civilizations’ will be inevitable. Its just how it is going to go down. Don’t give me this peace bullshit; Muslims don’t care about peace, they care about making Britain a Muslim country. Yea, there may be ‘secular’, tolerant Muslims, but they are the extreme minority.

    DON’T YOU SEE HOW HYPOCRITICAL AND PRIMITIVE YOUR INTELLECT IS; YOU DEMAND TOLERANCE FOR YOUR THIRD WORLD RELIGION, YET ANYONE WHO CRITICIZES ISLAM IS NOT AFFORDED ANY TOLERANCE.
    -THE WAY YOU SHOULD RESPOND IS TO GET THE HELL OUT OF EUROPE. OR DROP YOUR RELIGION.

    • Amad says:

      Nothing like being provided with proof of the bigotry that the article talks about, thanks Adam.

      Another of his more colorful comment was caught by our islamophobia filters. Adam is evidence of the flipside of radicalism. He is no different from the AlQaeda thugs. Both want a go at each other. I say get extreme bigots like EDL, etc. and from the Muslim side (Qaeda, etc.) all together in some uninhabitated island and let them kill each other. Take out all their energies and have their “clash of civilization”, which is really more akin to clash of bigots.

      • Adam Wightman says:

        Listen, its not bigotry when your stating a fact. Heres a bunch of them. Fact 1: Muslims in Britain, including fourth generation, tend to have significantly lower IQ then British people. Fact 2. Islam has no place in British society; Britain has nothing to learn from that biggoted book that, if followed, would put Britain back to the dark ages, roughly 700 AD. Thirdly, I have met many nice and intelligent ‘Muslims,’ but non of them are strict believers in Islam. Fourthly, most Muslims are nice, in the sense that they are polite, but they simply have a childs view of how the world should work; as in they don’t believe people should be able to question the precepts of their religion, or insult their prophet. Fact five, if Muslims don’t integrate, Britain will be completely bogged down by a civil war within 40 years, which will likely result in the expulsion of a huge population of British Muslims.

        • ibn Insaan says:

          But your facts don’t change anyting, Mr. Wightman, do they?

          I mean British Muslims are still going to keep populating the place at a higher rate – compared with much of the ‘mainstream’ society, simply because they (unlike Muslims) have lost their values. That’s not coz of Islam and Muslims, that’s coz they havent got values they themselves can believe in and are credible. And their lifestyles? What do you expect of a people who can just about have 1.2 kids per family? :)

          I agree them Muslims may have lower IQs, but it still won’t change reality – just as civil war wouldn’t do anything but change socitey even more. And you know that when they get mad, they’re no less mad than the rest. Mind you their lacking IQ never really stopped them from becoming doctors, PhDs and lawyers, did it?

          I have yet to see someone espousing your views to have ever rationally challenged his own stereotypes and prejudices – let alone his ‘values’. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones!

          Peace out.

    • Muslim Guy says:

      Adam, why do you hate Islam so much? I think all you know about Islam is probably from TV, and cherry picked inflated coverage. Have you considered understanding Islam as Muslims see it?

      Islam gives inner peace and makes sense. That is why so many Britons embrace it. According to the Church of England there were 50,000 British converts to Islam in the period 1997-2007, and “negligible” traffic in the other direction.

      Since you mention the middle ages, Islam was the number 1 civilization in science, economics, culture and knowledge at that time.

      Have you read the Quran? Have you read the life story of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)? Have you thought about what the purpose of your life is? How it all started? What happens afterwards?

      I invite you to learn about Islam as we see it, not as those who hate it see it.

      Peace

      • unknown says:

        yup, pls look into Islam as your way of life. http://www.islam-guide.com/

      • Adam Wightman says:

        Lost westerners that grew up with no friends, likely bullied, join Islam because it gives them a sense of identity, of comfort, of belonging; that doesn’t mean that it was a right choice, or a proper way to deal with feelings of being ‘lost.’ In fact, I think converting to Islam is a cowardice move that is based on a person not having the courage to face the world, and all its confusing hurt, with strength; look into the abyss, as Nietzsche said.

        • Adam

          as a English guy, I embraced Islam simply because it is true. Being Muslim in the current political climate is no soft option and requires patience and endurance especially when there is so much hatred and misinformation around.

          For examples of typical ignorance that some English people tenaciously cling to, see my recent debate ‘Muslim Convert and EDL member debate: The Future of English Identity – 8th May 2010′

          • Adam Wightman says:

            I would like to ask you something: how do you know that Islam, more than any other religion – such as christianity, Hinduism, Deism, Buddhism, is true. When you start making ad hoc claims about a particular belief, then totalitarianism is the only next option. For if Islam is true by default, as you wouldn’t switch from one religion to another if all supposedly had some truths to them, then what would be stopping, say, a Muslim majority, from imposing the truth on everyone else due to their ‘untrue’ beliefs. The huge schism between UAF and Islam – the former which defends blindly the latter – in Britain, is that Islam assumes everyone is wrong besides them, while UAF, supposedly being a bulwark of a ‘liberal’ society, assumes that all are equally right. The foundations of a true liberal society is the assumption that mankind, in his scientific state of ignorance of which he is continually being more enlightened, can not possibly know the entirety of truth. And so from this precept, UAF falsely thinks they have the right to basically condemn as satan EDL views that criticize what they think, as it appears to them, to be incongruent with British Civilization: Islamic fundamentalism. Thats how skewed the UAF is, and are actually more fascist then the EDL they so condemn. Thats why UAF is far from supporters of liberalism
            Back to you, if you assume that you know everything because it is true, because the Quaran says it is true, as it was revealed from Mohammed, who was revealed this from the almighty Allah. Secondly, since having more than one Supreme Being – creator of the world – would be completely fallacious, there is only one God. Yet, at the same time, there are numerous ‘Prophets’ that have revealed truth from transcendent sources, supposedly being the word of God. Now can you tell me, with any absolute proof, how Mohammed’s truth’s, and Mohammeds supreme being, which he called ‘Allah,’ are any more divine than the Jewish or Christian or Hindu, or Buddhist notion of Supreme Being. You can’t. Which is why Islam, and blind followers of it, have no place in the west. But if you look at what is in the Quaran, you see some pretty nasty, demeaning, and blind views that, as I said, have no place in the West. I have nothing against people, so I have nothing against Muslims, or people of any colour, but when some people immigrate to a country, and then tell that country and all its people that their world view is wrong, and the only true source of knowledge is the Quaran, then a country has a serious problem on its hands.

        • Ravi says:

          Interesting citation of Nietzsche at the end of the post.

          Since we’re in the habit of quoting the wisdom of Nietzsche, here’s Nietzche’s view of Islam in his book, The Antichrist:

          Christianity destroyed for us the whole harvest of ancient civilization, and later it also destroyed for us the whole harvest of Mohammedan civilization. The wonderful culture of the Moors in Spain, which was fundamentally nearer to us and appealed more to our senses and tastes than that of Rome and Greece, was trampled down (—I do not say by what sort of feet—) Why? Because it had to thank noble and manly instincts for its origin—because it said yes to life, even to the rare and refined luxuriousness of Moorish life!… The crusaders later made war on something before which it would have been more fitting for them to have grovelled in the dust—a civilization beside which even that of our nineteenth century seems very poor and very “senile.”—What they wanted, of course, was booty: the orient was rich…. Let us put aside our prejudices! The crusades were a higher form of piracy, nothing more! The German nobility, which is fundamentally a Viking nobility, was in its element there: the church knew only too well how the German nobility was to be won…. The German noble, always the “Swiss guard” of the church, always in the service of every bad instinct of the church—but well paid…. Consider the fact that it is precisely the aid of German swords and German blood and valour that has enabled the church to carry through its war to the death upon everything noble on earth! At this point a host of painful questions suggest themselves. The German nobility stands outside the history of the higher civilization: the reason is obvious…. Christianity, alcohol—the two great means of corruption…. Intrinsically there should be no more choice between Islam and Christianity than there is between an Arab and a Jew. The decision is already reached; nobody remains at liberty to choose here. Either a man is a Chandala or he is not…. “War to the knife with Rome! Peace and friendship with Islam!”: this was the feeling, this was the act, of that great free spirit, that genius among German emperors, Frederick II. What! must a German first be a genius, a free spirit, before he can feel decently? I can’t make out how a German could ever feel Christian….

    • Ravi says:

      It would appear that Adam’s posting and similar other postings are little more than identity postings about imagined communities. It seems that undergraduate political science courses aren’t as academically and intellectually vigorous as they should be. How unfortunate.

  6. How Should Muslims Respond to the English Defence League’s (EDL) threat?

    Well, I debated one of their number recently on TV:

    ‘TV Debate – Muslim Convert and EDL member debate: The Future of English Identity – 8th May 2010’

    Also viewable on youtube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlZeB_1nbyg

    regards

    Paul

  7. elham says:

    I so knew this post was going to bring forth for us entertaining characters that would try to make their enlightening views,well,reasonably sensible.

    Its not going to work my friends, so I’d suggest we go off and paint some slogans(don’t forget your water colours at home) and make great use of our time.How exciting :D

  8. anon says:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/first-woman-to-lead-friday-prayers-in-uk-1996228.html

    You guys should prepare for a spike in “Islamic” activities from all elements of the Muslim community in the UK.

  9. AA says:

    There will be a public meeting held on Sunday 13th June regarding this issue at the London Muslim Centre (East London Mosque) @ 7 pm.

    If you can attend, please do so

    “Learn more about a peaceful community demonstration by United East End on 20 June to protest agianst the EDL”

    The EDL are planning to march on Sunday 20th June.

  10. Yakoub says:

    The article also quotes a Manchester-based academic, Matthew Goodwin, as saying that the EDL has resonance because its anti-Muslim sentiments are echoed in the popular media, which is not true of the anti-semitic and anti-black bigotries of past generations of the far right.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, this is nonsense. As Elizabeth Poole’s research demonstrates (and perhaps Goodwin ought to read), Islamophobia in the media actually evolved from earlier media racism. Anti-semitism may not have been evident in 1970s media or NF campaigns, but black and Asian people were the object not just of NF racism, but of racism across the establishment. An odd rewriting of history.

  11. Sarah Cox says:

    Thank you to Yusuf Smith for a most balanced and well informed piece. As an active member of Brent and Harrow Unite Against Fascism I was involved in organising the two demonstrations last year in defence of Harrow Central Mosque and Harrow’s united community. I really welcome your advice to Muslims to get involved with Unite Against Fascism. We are determined to resist Islamophobia as anti-racists resisted the anti-Semitism of Mosley and his blackshirts in the 1930s, the racism against black and Asian people of the National Front, Combat 18 and other fascist groups in the 1970s and 1980s. Racism and Islamohopbia are intolerable, We believe in the old slogan that “an injury to one is an injury to all”.

    The English Defence League no longer plan to march through East London on June 20th. we believe they have been frightened off by the strength of the mobilisation against them by United East End and Unite Against Fascism in defence of the whole community.

    However, they are now threatening to demonstrate in Wembley on Saturday June 26th against the Peace Conference being held that day by the Al-Khair Charitable Foundation. The aim of the conference is to increase understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims. It is a measure of the EDL’s bigoted ingnorance that they disapprove of such a gathering. Brent & Harrow UAF will organise a counter-demonstration if the EDL go ahead. Their presence in Wembley is unwelcome to the whole community, not only those who hope to attend the event at the Arena, Their aim, as you say, is to threaten and intimidate. Where they have not been opposed, they have run riot, smashing the windows of Asian-owned shops and cars and abusing Asian passers-by.

    Please join us in showing that Wembley is united against Islamophobia, racism and bigotry. We need as many as possible, brothers and sisters, young and old, of all faiths and none to unite in opposition to these bigoted thugs. For further details, WATCH THIS SPACE

    • Adam Wightman says:

      Unite Against Fascism is full of a bunch of little teeny tot white kids that don’t have a clue what made Western Civilization. They think being nice, not insulting anyone, is what Western Civilization is all about. They have a view of the world that is entirely divorced from any scholarship, or learning, or common sense. I think UAFs are the most ignorant, blind, shallow bunch of comformist jokes that have ever walked the planet. They can’t think for themselves, basically blind sheep to the ‘elites’ that tell you to have Western guilt. Sarah Cox, grow the hell up and stop being such a shallow wimp; everyone knows your only doing this to feel good about yourself, likely because you have no self esteem and are, likewise, lost in this world. So what do you do, bash Western Civilization. Get a life.

      • AA says:

        She did not bash western civilisation.

        “They have a view of the world that is entirely divorced from any scholarship, or learning, or common sense.”

        That just about sums up EDL and the like minded from what I have seen of them through documentaries on the BBC and videos on the internet.

        Adam Wightman

        “They think being nice, not insulting anyone, is what Western Civilization is all about.”

        So you want the West to be cruel and insulting to people, is that what you think western civilisation is all about?

        Who is the ‘shallow wimp’ now then?

        You definitely are an ignorant, blind and shallow human that has ever walked the planet.

        • Adam Wightman says:

          Well, I don’t want Westerners to be blind haters, but I think that they should be able to virulently criticize a way of life and a religion and trends that happen in their society, if they disagree with them. That is what freedom of speech is about, and it is what it means to live in a free society. Islamic fundamentalists don’t believe in freedom of speech, as they don’t believe that people should be able to criticize Islam; UAF nuts don’t believe in freedom of speech, and are have a totalitarian streak. I have nothing against Muslims, but I think people that actually believe the Quaran have a lot of growing up to do. Parts of the book are nice, and I know it has its own prescription for how to live a truly moral life; but the fact is that people who believe that every word in a book is the word of God, and undeniably true, by definition do not believe in freedom of speech, and obviously don’t believe in western society.
          –Honestly, don’t you see what you do – you smear as racist or biggoted anyone that disagrees with your world view; its just another way that your unbelief in freedom of speech permeates through in your attempt to smear people that don’t agree with you. Listening to you from here, you sound extremely ignorant and largely unintelligent.

          • Ravi says:

            Well, I don’t want Westerners to be blind haters,

            Just have two queries about this statement:

            – what are “Westerners”? It would appear to be, like the “West”, a reification, an abstraction.

            – so, if you don’t want “Westerners” (subject to whatever this term means) to be “blind haters”, you are still okay with them being, for example, ‘informed’ ‘haters’? Strange choice of words.

            but I think that they should be able to virulently criticize a way of life and a religion and trends that happen in their society, if they disagree with them.

            Interesting use of pronouns (“they”, “their” and “them”). Seems to be little more a (race-based) discourse of identity e.g. us/other, inclusion/exclusion. It would appear that Adam’s own identity is oppositional and negatory. In other words, his own identity (implicit in his postings) is dependent upon the existence of the (imagined) ‘Other’ i.e. what seems to be the current totem for the non-white other, the ‘Muslim’.

            That is what freedom of speech is about, and it is what it means to live in a free society.

            Rather limited conception of freedom of speech and free society. These concepts aren’t predicated upon the limited ability to criticise others (regardless of whether or not you understand why you are criticising others or if you actually understand those or that you are apparently criticising). Adam’s concept of, for example, freedom of speech is monological, dialectical and didactic. Rather, freedom of speech is a wider, more positive and constructive instrument when used to engage with others as a tool of dialogue and reciprocity of understanding and interaction. Adam’s understanding would appear to perhaps preclude this – after all, one is more interested in being polemical and pejorative. Naturally.

            UAF nuts don’t believe in freedom of speech, and are have a totalitarian streak.

            Wrong – this is made up and just plain childish and silly to state:

            – UAF do believe in freedom of speech
            – UAF don’t have a “totalitarian streak” (a meaningless statement anyway).

            I have nothing against Muslims

            Are you sure?

            but I think people that actually believe the Quaran have a lot of growing up to do.

            Is that because such people didn’t have a nutritious diet whilst growing up and have resultantly suffered from stunted physical growth? That’s just mean to say.

            the fact is that people who believe that every word in a book is the word of God, and undeniably true, by definition do not believe in freedom of speech, and obviously don’t believe in western society.

            – All these statements cannot be proved. Unsubstantiated opinion. I also guess, Christians, Jews and people of other faiths who regard their religious texts as the ‘word of God’ also don’t believe in “western society”. Quickly, Adam you must resolve to protect “western society” from the dangers of the Christians and the Jews!

            – again, what is “western society”?

            –Honestly, don’t you see what you do – you smear as racist or biggoted anyone that disagrees with your world view; its just another way that your unbelief in freedom of speech permeates through in your attempt to smear people that don’t agree with you.

            – “unbelief” … hmmm … interesting appropriation of dogmatic religious-type language. I think this speaks for itself.

            Listening to you from here, you sound extremely ignorant and largely unintelligent.

            I take it that you live in a house without mirrors. And/or you are completely incapable of self-reflection.

    • Ben Jackson says:

      Honestly, Sarah, do you believe the s** your saying. The only violence that has ever been done during these who protest and couter-protest things is by the UAF. the UAF is constantly seen intimidating, being violent, – acts of assault – and you have the gall to say that the EDL ‘aims to intimidate.’ I understand the EDL is protesting in the wrong places – they should try to influence Camerons conservatives through intellectual dialogue, but I still have a question for the UAF, including you, Sarah. How do you completely ignore how much like Hitler’s SA your cronies have consistently acted in the last 3 years. YOUR AIM – THE UAF – IS TO BULLY, INTIMIDATE. It is a typical trend from far left brainwashed kids like yourself. Your actions are completely toltalitarian, trying to impose a strict ‘politically correct’ ideology that tries to cut the roots off of the British people.

      –If the UAF wanted to protest against totalitarian biggots, they should protest in front of a giant mirror at Wembley. Get a life.

      -edited for foul language

  12. To Adam Wightman, replying to your post above of June 12, 2010 • 4:53 pm.

    You ask a very intelligent question:

    ‘I would like to ask you something: how do you know that Islam, more than any other religion – such as christianity, Hinduism, Deism, Buddhism, is true. When you start making ad hoc claims about a particular belief, then totalitarianism is the only next option….’

    There is a response to this that is intellectually coherent and spiritually profound. I recommend you read one of the best books on Islam in the English Language entitled ‘Islam & the Destiny of Man‘ by Charles le Gai Eaton.

    It will teach you much about the beautiful religion of Islam and answer all your questions about life, the universe and everything. What you then do with these answers is of course up to you…

  13. Olivia says:

    so like, these guys are in actuality some wastrel soccer fans who have nothing better to do with their time? like gang-members without the organizational skills to form a gang, or something?

    what a bunch of LOSERS.

    • Adam Wightman says:

      haha, a great way to denigrate someone that actually gives an intellectual argument against your opinion: call him a soccer fan. And whose the loser. I disagree with nearly everyone on this boards views on fundamental aspects of society, and where not a better place to protest what I believe is wrong then in the belly of the beast. Im a hockey fan, actually. And Im not in a gang; I just graduated with a political science bachelors degree.

      • Olivia says:

        congrats on graduating and being a hockey fan and not a soccer fan. i dont really care to get into any arguments to be frank. and i didnt read any intellectual arguments because i dont read through all the comments, i just read the post. actually, the only conservative radio host in our country (USA) that promotes your group calls you “English soccer thugs”, so perhaps you may want to have a conversation with your supporters about who you are first.

  14. Ibn Al-rawandi says:

    The EDL is comprised of some unsavory characters and their views but we got bigger fish to fry then condemn the EDL. Jihadism is bigger threat to world peace then semi-literate protesters.

    Jihadists are murdering people — both Muslims and non-Muslims –, ethnically cleansing whole lands of its non-Muslim populations, flying planes into building and are now brainwashing 2nd or 3rd generation Western Muslims over to the Jihadi cause. The EDL and their ilk will melt away when Jihadism is defeated.

    • another white brother says:

      Alhamdulillah, the prophet (saw) said jihaad will remain until the end of days.

      • Amad says:

        Not the kind of perverted jihad that Al-Qaeda and other terrorist cults follow. The killing of innocent men, women and children can NEVER be considered jihad as it goes against the entire mercy and message of the Prophet (S).

        But I don’t agree that EDL will disappear based on the lack of jihadism. What brought Hitler into power? Which bogeyman was it then? And even if we were to suppose that it is due to jihadism, should we just ignore/justify their existence?

        Racism and prejudice have raised their ugly heads at all times in history. And it is always this or that excuse.

        EDL is pure racism and Islamophobia. For them, no Muslim is a good Muslim unless he’s a Muslim by name. Let’s not justify EDL’s existence. Just like we don’t justify Al-Qaeda’s existence by saying, “if there was no USA/Israel, then Al-Qaeda would disappear”.

        The existence of an “evil” cause doesn’t justify the existence and justification of an “evil” effect.

        • elham says:

          Totally agree with Amad,except I think we need to define what is Jihad and not call those who misuse this Islamic concept as ”Jihadists”. We are reinforcing their ideas by calling them ”Islamic fundamentalists” or ”Jihadists” etc., what is fundamentally Islamic or Jihadi about their actions?Nothing. It is a war of words and brainwashing by the Media and islamophobes. We need to differentiate and teach people what is from Islam and what isn’t .

        • Ibn Al-rawandi says:

          Hitler came to power thanks to the vacuum left by the rapidly collapsing – both politically and economically – Weimar Republic. And no body is arguing there is no genuine anti-Muslim prejudice in the West (or other parts of the World). Bigotry has always existed and will continue to exist although efforts to fight it have yielded dividends especially in the West. That is why Muslims choose to migrate to the West as they are fully are it is the least racist and the most human-rights friendly place in probably all of human history.

          What I am saying is: the ultimate cause for why large segments of otherwise unprejudiced public holds negative views of Islam and its followers is due to the misadventures of Jihadists who commit all sorts of moral outrages in the NAME of Islam. When these Jihadist are reigned in first and foremost by Muslims, there will be fewer ammunition for bigots to exploit and whip up anti-Muslim bigotry. Right now there is too much ammunition for anti-Muslim bigots to fight with.

          • elham says:

            You are again using the term Jihadist to describe these people who commit ‘Terrorist acts” . I wonder if you believe whether Jihad, ofcourse the proper form,is a part of Islam.

            I ask because I am also disturbed by the fact that your user-name is Ibn al Rawandi,a man who rejected the Quran as a revealed book and took stabs at the concept of a Revealed religion. Why you would speak on Muslim issues with that name is disturbing.

      • Clive says:

        I would liketo say to to the good muslims of this great land if you want to stop us THE edl FROM MARCH IN YOU TOWNS&CITYS THEN YOU NEED TO GIVE UP THE NAME OF THEM MUSLIMS THAT ARE TRYING TO BOMB THIS GREAT LAND,AND IF YOU DONT THIS GOVERMENT NEEDS TO SEND YOU BACK TO YOUR HOME LAND A.S.A.P BECAUSE YOU DONT CLASS ENGLAND AS HOME.

        EDL
        NORTHWOOD
        LONDON

  15. afric says:

    it is often the case that in discussions of this sort, someone will chirp up that western civilisation is based on the christian bible whilst simulataneously denoucing the quran.

    i just wanted to share with you these excerpts that from the bible that i came across which show a great many references to violence in the bible and yet we do not find the same questioning of it as the basis for western civilisation.

    http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/throwing_stones_at_the_quran_from_a_glass_house/0013466

    “Those carrying out these attacks on the Qur’an must be unaware that there are many verses in the Bible that can be considered violent and warlike, and that can be misused in exactly the same way as some verses in the Qur’an. For example:

    When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall offer it terms of peace. If it agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your forced labor and shall serve you. However, if it does not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. When the LORD your God gives it into your hand, you shall strike all the men in it with the edge of the sword. Only the women and the children and the animals and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall use the spoil of your enemies which the LORD your God has given you. Only in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes” (Deutronomy 20:10-17)

    “Hymenaeus and Alexander I have delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” 1 Timothy 1:20

    “This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down, and cut off your head; and I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, Then David ran and stood over the Philistine, and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath, and killed him, and cut off his head with it…. And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armor in his tent. And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand.” 1 Samuel 17:46

    “Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.”… And there is also with you Shimei the son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a grievous curse on the day when I went to Mahanaim; but when he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the LORD, saying, I will not put you to death with the sword.’ Now therefore hold him not guiltless, for you are a wise man; you will know what you ought to do to him, and you shall bring his gray head down with blood to Sheol.” 2 Samuel 16:9, 1 Kings 2:8

    ” When they came into the house, as he lay on his bed in his bedchamber, they smote him, and slew him, and beheaded him. They took his head, and went by the way of the Arabah all night, and brought the head of Ishbosheth to David at Hebron. And they said to the king, “Here is the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life; the LORD has avenged my lord the king this day on Saul and on his offspring.” 2 Samuel 4:7

  16. huda saleem says:

    Its important to note that there is no compulsion in religion under islam. So many people on this board are posting ideas that muslims go around forcing everyone else to convert to islam but the fact is that under islam people are free to choose their own faith and this is also stated in the Quran. I don’t know a single muslim who goes around trying to force others to convert. Do you? So this argument is untrue.

    Another argument used by some people here which is also completely unfounded is that jihad means war. In fact jihad means ‘to strive for good’. It’s a sad old world when we hear that people are trying to demonstrate against peace conferences and try and argue reasons for doing so. But what goes around comes around and no one lives forever…remember the Day of Judgment when we all get held to account!

    May Allah forgive our ignorance and guide us to the straight path.

  17. huda saleem says:

    Adam Wightman quote
    “<em>I have nothing against Muslims, but I think people that actually believe the Quaran have a lot of growing up to do. Parts of the book are nice, and I know it has its own prescription for how to live a truly moral life; but the fact is that people who believe that every word in a book is the word of God, and undeniably true, by definition do not believe in freedom of speech, and obviously don’t believe in western society. ”

    I sincerely hope that Adam Wightman stops criticizing the Quran on this board. If you have no faith then why do you feel the need to insult that of others . You have the freedom to choose (there is no compulsion in religion according to islam) and yet think you can upset those who have chosen to believe. Criticizing the Quran is offensive to many and just shows your ignorance and undermines any opinions you may have. Your criticisms of the Holy Book are in fact baseless and no one will listen or take you seriously because you need to read it properly. Remember human rights are the basis of islam and that includes your right and my right to follow our own beliefs without taunting each other.

  18. […] MuslimMatters.org – How Should Muslims Respond to the English Defence League’s (EDL) threat? Yusuf Smith […]

  19. Gurabah says:

    salam,

    Sister Huda Saleem, well said!! mashAllah!!

    As for Adam Wightman i think he is lost , angry, ignorant and a lot confused. Adam if you read the Holy Quran properly and with a clean heart, inshAllah you will understand and have tremendous respect for it and maybe even become Muslim, inshAllah!!!
    Don’t be a hater. Have a clean heart so you can have a clean brain and clean body overall.
    By the way, in one of your comments above you mentioned other prophets, other books etc… why is Quran the only truthful book. In ISLAM, we believe in all of the prophets that came before Muhammad Peace be upon Him. From Adam to Abraham to Noah, Moses, Jesus( peace be upon all of them )and many more. Some came to their nations with books given to them by Allah and some didn’t. Not a single generation of before listened to their Prophet so in cause of it, they were distroyed. Muhammad is the last, seal of Prophethood for mankind with a Holy Book from Allah Almighty. Thats why its the only true book because there is nothing after it. Allah said so!!! Islam calls for change. It calls for man to be free from the servitute of other men to the servitute of the only One God Allah the Sustainer of the Worlds. Its only normal that those who oppose change, fight Islam as a whole. They have done so in the past and they are continuing to do it now and if we live long enough inshAllah they will continue fighting it but will never win!!!

  20. […] mobilising large numbers of hoodlums to cause disruption, fear and violence. As I wrote in my earlier article for Muslim Matters on this subject, he is unlikely to be able to lead a mass movement simply […]

  21. DrM says:

    EDL are violent scum, no ifs, ands or buts about it. Muslims are not to abandon their faith in any way to placate anyone, especially a mob of semi literate, violent drunken hooligans. A good Nazi is a dead Nazi.
    “Western civilization? As Gandhi had said “it would be a good idea.”

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