A Twitter trend that surpassed its intended purpose – and backfired a little – thanks to the English Defence League's (EDL) Tommy Robinson.
April 15, 2012, just another day in Tommy Robinson's growingly Islamicised Britain. Well, it was meant to be just another day, until the master intellectual, visionary strategist – and leader of the EDL – spotted a window of opportunity to whip up further anti-Muslim sentiments. That night he logged into Twitter on his computer and, to his absolute consternation, observed that the homepage featured an image of a mosque.
The national hero and beacon of British liberal society that he is, he immediately tweeted, “Welcome to the Twitter homepage has a picture of a mosque, what a joke #creepingsharia”. Having an image of a supposed mosque featured on the Twitter homepage was evidence enough for this intelligent, patriotic young man, that Sharia law was indeed slowly, but surely, permeating into the mainstream. Very soon, every woman in Britain will be required by law to dress in a burka out of modesty, akin to the many EDL members who proudly cover their faces during protests.
Of course, this is someone who also tweeted, “I support Israel, so what! In fact I would go one further! I would fight to defend Israel the shining beacon in the middle east! #defendit”. Some Shining Beacon that.
This 'mosque' that Robinson was tweeting about, it later transpires, was this building which we have all seen and heard of. Of course, I will never compare my uncle with the epitome of supreme IQ that is Robinson, but the last time my uncle checked, it was not a mosque, and probably never had been in the 500 years or so of its existence. To my credit, the assumption that it may be about five centuries old was made by me, not my uncle.
The EDL, for those of you who may not know, are a far right group in Britain who openly incite racism, anti-Muslim sentiment, peddle hate and violence against minority communities, and generally indulge in anti-social behaviour. Robinson, in his avid knowledge of the political spectrum, claims that the EDL is not positioned in the far right and never has been. However, Dr. Matthew Goodwin, an expert on the subject suggests that the two salient features of far right groups are that they act in abhorrence of liberal values, and are seen to frown upon human equality – two traits that the EDL has been all but too proud to conceal and exhibit in abundance. Though some grievances of youth who join the EDL are understandable, the vast majority of them are an extended version of football hooligans and are not seen to tow a rational approach, as best illustrated by this fine mate of mine here.
So, back to how Sharia was creeping into Britain. As you've probably gathered, Robinson started the #creepingsharia hashtag and hoped to galvanise the British people and get them to join him in highlighting symbols in everyday British life that were emblematic of the fact that Sharia was indeed creeping into British society. And how they highlighted it! Within a matter of hours, #creepingsharia was trending.
Personally, I dislike the word 'Islamism' because I think it is a paradox in every sense, but I am using it here in reference to the associations people have made with the term. This tweeter, for example, highlighted how the British weather was succumbing to Islamism when she observed that, “The weather in Britain is always Sunni or Shiite #creepingsharia”.
The NHS has been the centre of many a controversy during this parliament, what with the Tories trying to implement reforms and Labour attempting to make it the crux of their next election campaign. What was not seen by many, however, was the rapid Islamicisation of the NHS. Many, except this observant tweeter, who tweeted: “Surgeons are forced to wear niqab, an oppressive garment which restricts thinking #creepingsharia”.
What's more, Islamism has created a case to start using the non-existent word 'paradoxify' by even forcefully creeping its way into Christianity, according to this tweeter at least, who stated, “Every time I see a painting/statue of Jesus Christ, he is wearing a beard #creepingsharia”.
As if Sharia hadn't crept enough into British social life, it was even trying to metamorphosise the set laws of nature as this tweeter (whose profile suggested that she was a woman) observed that, “my facial hair is growing at an alarming rate #creepingsharia”. On a related note, unknown to another tweeter, Sharia had crept in when he mused, “haven't shaved, consumed alcohol or eaten bacon in at least a week. They've got me #creepingsharia.”.
Even the BBC's Dara O'Brien joined in saying “School of hard sums uses algebra and Arabic #creepingsharia”.
Apart from, “I was stoned last night #creepingsharia”, my personal favourite was, “My wife's name is Sharon, she is changing it to Maria. #creepingsharia”. Rhymes nicely, too.
The EDL has been trying to tap into the racist, anti-Muslim tendencies of the general British public – which they are convinced exists. Instead, the vast majority of the British public have clearly shown how much they despise the lunatic fringe that is the EDL. It was indeed heart-warming to witness how well the general British public came to the defence of their fellow British Muslim citizenry, in such gallantry, energy, wit, good humour, (insert suitable word) and no doubt, in fond affection.
This is evidence enough that the British public at their core are a wonderful people, with tendencies which help foster harmonious co-existence with people of all kinds. It is time the EDL, BNP and other far right groups understood the British public and realised that as long as Muslims and other minority groups are hardworking, responsible and conscious citizens who are proud to be British, the EDL and BNP have only so much space to manoeuvre within.