Woolwich Strong and the EDL

22 06 2013

Since the murder of Lee Rigby, various chancers have attempted to use the tragedy as a bandwagon for their own financial and political gain. The EDL leaped at the chance to exploit the murder, setting up Facebook fronts and organised memorial marches in order to expose more people to their anti-Muslim propaganda. Now they’re saying they will march from Westminster to Woolwich in order to get on TV again. Help For Heroes have rejected their sponsorship money so Tommy & Kev will be pocketing it instead.

The far right aren’t the only ones cashing in. Joshua Bonehill, a UKIP supporter and former Tory hopeful has stolen an idea from the US and has appointed himself the Chairman of Woolwich Strong. The Strong movement is set up to appeal to ordinary people who want to pay their respects to Lee Rigby but has, unsurprisingly, attracted the vultures of the far right as well. Nottingham Strong was shut down after it was revealed to have been run by the EDL and Strong events in Doncaster, Manchester, Exeter, Brighton and Mansfield have all been shown to have involvement with known fascist activists.

One of the main aims of Bonehill’s Strong movement is selling branded T-shirts. Lee Rigby’s family, who have spoken out against attempts to capitalise on his death, have not been contacted about where the proceeds are going.

This Sunday, the Strong groups are organising local marches up and down the country. The fascist activists involved will be trying to infiltrate these events to spread their poisonous propaganda and anti-Muslim conspiracy theories. Anti-fascists will be monitoring these events and exposing fascist involvement in them. There is no place for fascism in our local communities.

Brighton Anti-fascists, who exposed the fact that the Brighton & Hove Strong group was set up by the local EDL division, have these questions for the Strong movement:

‘What really is extremism?’ And: ‘Why isn’t “Strong” concerned about the rise of the right wing extremism of EDL?’

East Midlands Anti-fascists exposed the fact that Mansfield’s EDL organiser was involved in organising Mansfield Strong and that a number of local far right activists were planning to travel to the event on Sunday:

We ask the other organisers of Mansfield Strong to resist attempts by the EDL to infiltrate their event. We hope that they make it clear that the EDL and other far right groups are not welcome.

The Antifascist Network will be mobilising to oppose the EDL’s further cynical attempts to cash in on this tragedy. Keep an eye on this blog and join your local anti-fascist group to keep up to date.





EDL splinter group to demonstrate in Lincoln

14 05 2013

Re-post from East Midlands Anti-Fascists

EDL splinter group, the East Anglian Patriots (not to be confused with the East Anglian Patriotic Front or the People’s Front of East Anglia), have announced that they will hold a demonstration in Lincoln on Saturday 8th June at 1pm. They are protesting the building of a mosque on the site of a disused dairy because they don’t believe in freedom of religion.

Just in case there’s any dispute about whether or not the organisers of the demo are EDL or not, here’s what they are saying on Facebook:

LincolnMosqueDemo

Unsurprisingly, the promotional material for their event is littered with factual errors and half-truths. To start with they state that the mosque will cost £0.5m to build whereas the actual figure is close to £1m (and it’s going to be paid by the local Muslim community anyway, so why do they care?) The former EDL members twist the truth mercilessly by saying that “Local residents have objected but as usual their pleas have been ignored.” In actual fact, local residents group Boultham Residents’ Association initially objected to the plans on the basis of the increased traffic that would be brought to the area, but came out in support of the final plan, which included 68 parking spaces for worshippers. Lincoln Council only received five letters of objection, “mostly about concerns over traffic congestion”, while six letters were sent in which backed the project.

Chair of the Boultham Residents’ Association, Jean Flannery had some very positive things to say about the scheme that seem to demonstrate that local people are accepting and welcoming of the mosque and the Muslims who use it:

We need to move forward together. Now, our joint task is to foster understanding and acceptance of one another.

Misunderstandings may cause difficulties and anxieties but they can be corrected.

We already live and work alongside one another.

Individual and working relationships are the norm for many. We have our differences but we also share more similarities.

By far the majority of us surely wish to live in harmony. To my mind the way to accomplish this is to develop and expand relationships to fully include the wider community, in which we all share.

It seems that it’s the far right protesters who are riding roughshod over the desires of the local community and trying to impose their own agenda.

The invaluable piece of English heritage that will be destroyed by the mosque

The invaluable piece of English heritage that will be destroyed by the mosque

“Our way of life, our faith, our very existence is under threat from this Islamic encroachment” the East Anglian Patriots’ poster shrieks hysterically, although it’s not at all clear how turning a derelict wasteland into a mosque is going to do that. The Lincoln Islamic Association has compelling reasons for needing a larger mosque, saying “We now have approximately 2000 Muslims in Lincoln and surrounding areas. Our current Mosque capacity is only 60.” The truth of the matter is the demonstrators are mostly anti-Muslim and racist people from out of town (Lincoln is not in East Anglia) who want to divide communities along lines of race and religion.

This demonstration and its politics of intercommunal violence should be resisted.