Written by Right Side News
Luton 2011: Tommy Robinson On Newsnight
Tommy Robinson’s recent appearance on Newsnight marks a major landmark for the EDL. And tomorrow marks another. We have proven that we represent the views of a substantial proportion of the British public, and that we can successfully unite people of all colours and creeds. Tomorrow we will prove that opposing the spread of radical Islam, and exposing those who would deny that it is serious threat to this country, is of great importance to growing tens of thousands, both at home and abroad.
Tomorrow we will show the government that it is the EDL that represent the concerns of the British public. We will demonstrate that is the EDL setting the agenda and leading the debate about the nature of radical Islam and what can be done to combat it. We will make it clear to any who are yet to have read our mission statement that our views are not ‘racist’ or ‘divisive’ in any way. And we will leave no doubt that we have only been driven to make hard criticisms of Islam because of the past failure of politicians and large sections of the media to even acknowledge that these problems exist. As Tommy says to anyone tempted to criticise the conduct of some EDL members, it must always be remembered that we are a symptom, not a cause.
Tomorrow there will be much talk about the EDL’s presence in Luton. But we must not forget why we are there. Jeremy Paxman, in his interview with Tommy Robinson, gives the distinct impression that he thinks that anyone who is in any way ‘anti-Islam’ must believe exactly the same thing - that every Muslim should be marched to the ferries and kicked out of this country. That is dishonest, and an impression that we believe he should have done more to counteract. He must recognise that groups like the EDL include a diverse range of people with a diverse range of opinions. Being ‘anti-Islam’ can mean all manner of things, but it’s a label that is slapped on people regardless of the nature of their criticism - as if we’re all the same, as if we all share the same prejudices.
Paxman must realise that ordinary people have good reasons for wanting to challenge the intolerance and hatred that Islam is all-too-often responsible for. The need to ask serious questions about why it is that British Muslims are involved in terrorist plots, what it is about their religious scripture that could possibly inspire them, and why British Muslims have so-far failed so spectacularly to do anything about the evil in their midst, is not the result of prejudice, it’s the result of proper regard for the safety of our communities and for the future of our country.
We think that Islam isn’t getting the criticism it deserves. Islam’s prophet, the man that Muslims are taught to look up to as a perfect role model, engaged in murder, rape, torture, warmongering and what, by today’s standards, we wouldn’t hesitate to call paedophilia. These are hard criticisms, but with Islamic extremism a constant threat, Islamic communities becoming more and more segregated from the rest of society, and a disturbing correlation between Islam and convictions for sexual crime, they are essential if we are ever to overcome the clash between influential conservative Islamic traditions (with their focus on authoritarian religious law) and modern Western respect for individual rights and freedoms.
Of course some people refuse to make even the slightest criticism of Islam lest someone get offended. But parts of Islam are offensive. Why is it offensive to point that out!? The situation is made worse by organisations that wish to censor debate, or which believe that only certain people should be allowed to talk about Islam - as if ordinary people couldn’t possibly understand these matters, or couldn’t be trusted not to confuse the need to criticise Islamic ideology with the desire to engage in what the media is all-too-keen to call ‘Muslim-bashing’.
Paxman’s assumptions that Tommy is willing to tar a whole community with the same brush, and that he is unable to recognise that white people commit the same crimes as Muslims, are dishonest. He knows that this isn’t the case; he knows that Tommy is more than capable of making sure that his criticisms are fair, and that he has no interest in race. Perhaps he was just providing Tommy with the opportunity to address these misconceptions, but by mentioning these accusations he was still in danger of encouraging the prejudiced assumption that working class people have nothing to contribute to the discussion.
The EDL consists of a diverse mix of people from across the social and political spectrum. Although we were formed by what Tommy refers to as ordinary lads from a council estate, we have broadened our membership to include many members from what is often referred to as ‘Middle England’. Along with anyone else who dares criticise Islam, these supporters are not immune from the prejudiced assumption that anyone who is described as ‘anti-Islam’ must share some form of ‘group neurosis’. Recently we’ve seen the frantic spread of the term ‘Islamophobia’ - meaning a persistent and irrational fear of Islam - as if critics of Islam have some kind of mental disorder! It’s almost as if our critics fear to have a reasoned discussion, and would rather no one listen to people that not even they truly believe have nothing constructive to add to the debate.
For instance, not enough has been made of the fact that The European Court of Human Rights has declared that Sharia, the religious law that over 40% of British Muslims want introduced in this country, is “incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy”. In countries such as Saudi Arabia, Sharia is responsible for such ludicrous court rulings as those that see women prosecuted for the ‘crime’ of allowing themselves to be raped. Sharia in the UK may not be responsible for the cutting off of hands for thievery, but tolerating the operation of Sharia courts does nothing to protect the rights of Muslim women.
This is because as well as being built on a fundamental distinction between the rights of Muslims and non-Muslims, Sharia assumes the moral superiority of men over women. This runs contrary to our belief that men and women should be considered equals, and provokes unique challenges for the law courts. For example, the House of Lords described Sharia Law rules on child custody to be “arbitrary and discriminatory” for being heavily weighted in the favour of the father. What, then, should a Family Court judge do if presented with a ‘mediation agreement’, brokered by the MAT (Muslim Arbitration Tribunal), which gives custody to the father in an instance where the best interests of the child would seem to be served by the opposite decision having been reached? (Example provided by the Civitas think-tank).
Unfortunately, Paxman has profoundly misjudged Sharia if he believes that it is not a credible threat to this country. Whilst he may be right to claim that there is no immediate threat of it taking over our legal system, the fact that there are over 100 Sharia Courts operating in this country certainly does a lot to undermine the rule of law, especially when we are talking about a religious community that harbours great hostility to ‘the West’ and which actively works to set itself apart from the rest of society.
Only when we come to recognise that the problems that we experience with Islam today have deep roots in Islamic traditions and scripture, might we fail to be shocked to hear that 30% of British Muslim students claim that they would be willing to kill in the name of Islam. This is the next generation of British Muslims; the next educated generation. It is a scandal that even when these shocking facts are reported in the mainstream press, the government does nothing to reassure people that it does actually take this obvious threat to our country’s future seriously.
IIs the government on our side or not? Well, tomorrow will no doubt see the UAF, or ‘Unite Against Fascism’ organisation, come out to protest against the EDL. Not against Islamic extremism, but against people who are willing to talk about it. They have consistently failed to even acknowledge that there is a problem with Islam, but are convinced that it is those who campaign against the oppression of women, against the burning of Remembrance Day poppies, and against religiously-inspired intolerance, who should be refused their freedom of speech. The UAF will surely make fools of themselves, as they have done every time that they have faced the EDL. But what should worry all those who oppose the unchecked spread of radical Islam is that our Prime Minister David Cameron is a founding signatory of the UAF. What confidence can we have in a government led by a man who supports the UAF, and when can we expect him to admit that he was wrong to do so?
We would like to thank the BBC and Newsnight for allowing Tommy the opportunity to help dispel some of the myths about the EDL - myths that we will no doubt see the UAF encouraging tomorrow. The BBC have finally played their part in helping to ensure that the debate about Islam in Britain does not become about demonising viewpoints that are not always heard in the mainstream press. We sincerely hope that they continue to help provide viewers with engaging content from all sides of the discussion.
We would however like to take this opportunity to correct one section of the Newsnight programme. Our demonstration in Amsterdam last October was never intended to involve the mass-mobilisation of thousands of supporters. So the claim that it was “basically a shambles” is based on a false premise. In fact, we actively discouraged large-scale participation, and only advertised the demonstration a short while beforehand. Without a well-established relationship with local police and experience of organising demonstrations abroad, it would have been foolhardy to attempt such a thing. Instead we focused on meeting with our international supporters and ensuring that our message was not diluted by any stand-offs between rival demonstrators. This strategy certainly appears to have paid off, as the message and stuck, and since then defence leagues have been founded all over the world.
Tomorrow, as The English Defence League returns to where it all began, in Luton, we will stand side by side with representatives from a number of international allies. Together we will demonstrate against militant Islam, and challenge people to find out more about the threat it poses.
The recent threats against EDL members Kevin Carroll and Guramit Singh demonstrate that radical Islam is a serious force in modern Britain. As Tommy says, "we're not up against Mickey Mouse, we're up against militant Islam". It would be dangerous to underestimate the threat that they pose to those of us who are not afraid to hold Islam to account, but the EDL are not afraid to stand up for our nation’s traditional freedoms against the threat posed by creeping Islamisation and Sharia Law.
We have done all we can to ensure that tomorrow’s demonstration is completely peacefully, but we recognise that there will be those who try to disrupt the occasion. We will not be bowed or broken by anyone who attempts to cause trouble. The EDL are ready. Our stewards are ready. Our members are ready. And Tommy Robinson is certainly ready.
Tomorrow we take back Luton.
Tomorrow we deal an important blow against the enemies of free speech.
Tomorrow we make all of Britain realise that we are the EDL, and we will never surrender to radical Islam!