This essay, by A. Millar, published by Hudson New York, represents an alternative view of the English Defence League from the ones previously presented at CiF Watch. As always, your comments are welcomed.
A group of extremist Islamists attacked the returning soldiers as “butchers of Basra,” “baby killers,” and “terrorists” during a homecoming parade not long ago in the city of Luton. With years of anti-British “political correctness,” and a political class that has failed to tackle Islamism with seriousness, this proved to be too much: the crowd that had turned out to cheer on the soldiers was soon making their disgust known to the Islamists; the two groups had to be held apart by police. Within a few days, a video was floating around the internet, showing the aftermath: calling themselves the “United People of Luton,” thousands of (mostly) young men had taken to the streets in a rowdy, and chaotic show of anger and frustration, chanting “no surrender to the Taliban,” “we are Luton,” and, directed at the Islamists, “scum.”
A short time later, the English Defense League [EDL] emerged from the United People of Luton, and, in a little over the year since its founding, has become the largest street protest movement in Britain.
The EDL has also inspired the recent establishment of independent leagues in the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, and other EU states; the movement is attracting international attention – including from the Israeli-based Haaretz and the US-based Dissent.
Strident opposition to integration — from politicians, the media, and Islamist extremists — has led to serious social problems, not only for long-settled British citizens, but also for immigrants and the children of immigrants. These range from the high rates of unemployment among Muslims, the forced marriage of school girls (and to a lesser extent school boys), to honor violence against women and girls, and violence against homosexual Muslims. Opponents of integration know of these problems, but ignore them. It would appear that their intention was not to make life easy for immigrants, but to make life easy for themselves.
Mass immigration into Europe, is, in some sense the “Americanization” of Europe, according to Christopher Caldwell, author of Reflections on the Revolution In Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West, who has said that over the last few decades – especially over the last ten years – Europe has become increasingly multi-ethnic, and multi-religious, and multi-everything. In this sense, it resembles the US, especially its cities, such as New York; however, because the EU was intended as a “counterbalance” to the US – and an exemplar of a more socialistic, statist, and allegedly moral and ethical way of doing things – Europe has enacted immigration and integration in an almost opposite way. Consequently, as immigration has increased, instead of becoming more like the US, Europe has become less like it.
In the US, newcomers may be encouraged to feel proud of America’s achievements in the world, its democracy, its opportunities. Immigrants might retain significant aspects of their culture, their religion, or values from their former homes, but, largely, they are also proud to be American, and proud to have democracy, liberty, free speech, and the other opportunities for which they came. In Britain, however, immigrants have been encouraged to remain separate from the rest of society, to refrain from learning the language of the host culture, and from integrating. The Archbishop of Canterbury appeared to encourage the adoption of some sharia into Britain in 2008; a few months later, Stephen Hockman, QC, former chairman of the Bar Council, called for aspects of sharia to be formally incorporated into British law.
The routine devaluing of British culture is a gift to Islamists who want to separate Muslims from non-Muslims in the UK – or, worse, who intend to impose sharia on everyone, like it or not. The organization hosting Hockman, as he delivered his appeal for a sharia-lite Britain, was none other than the now-banned Islam4UK, an Islamist group descended from al-Muhajiroun, which has been linked to one in seven convicted terrorists in the UK [pdf]