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Teesside professor warns of bid to spread Islamophobia.

10 December 2010 @TeesUniNews

 

The English Defence League (EDL) is attempting to forge links with fringe elements to spread Islamophobia warns Professor Nigel Copsey.

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The English Defence League (EDL) is attempting to forge links with fringe elements to spread Islamophobia warns Professor Nigel Copsey.

The English Defence League (EDL) is attempting to forge links with fringe elements to spread Islamophobia warns Professor Nigel Copsey.

Professor Copsey, a specialist in right-wing extremism, fascism and anti-fascism says the English Defence League (EDL) is attempting to forge links with fringe elements associated with Jewish, Sikh and gay communities to spread Islamophobia.

Specialist divisions of the League have been created to attract new recruits from groups who would not normally associate with the ‘extreme-right’ organisation. The tactic could exploit divisions and has been branded ‘cynical manipulation’ by Professor Copsey in his new report.

In the report for the inter-faith organisation Faith Matters, Professor Copsey claims that the EDL target ‘floating groups’ to broaden their appeal and counter accusations of racism.

Guard against approaches by the EDL Professor Copsey warns that ‘True to the spirit of the enemy of my enemy is my friend, the EDL is targeting other ethnic communities. These communities need to guard against approaches by the EDL’.

By encouraging membership within communities that share a perceived ‘historical angst’ against Muslims, it is feared that relations between faith groups could worsen. The report warns that new branches of the EDL, such as the Jewish Division, could exploit religious tensions because of issues around Israel and Palestine.

Israeli flags have been seen at demonstrations and the senior US Rabbi and Tea Party activist, Rabbi Nachum Shifren, spoke at an EDL rally at the Israeli Embassy in London last month. The League were previously accused of forging relations with British Sikhs when they appointed Guramit Singh as their ‘Community Relations Spokesperson’

As well as aggravating religious tensions, the EDL has established a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Division to ‘defend’ gay people from Sharia law. There are also specialist divisions for women, soldiers and disabled people.

The report warns these communities to be vigilant against ‘selective racism’ and the EDL’s attempts at manipulation.

Speaking about the report, Founder and Director of Faith Matters Fiyaz Mughal said: 'The EDL’s main aim is to increase tensions, raise hate and divide communities.

'Their attempts to portray themselves as a legitimate and open movement cannot disguise their violent, anti-Muslim agenda. This hate can easily mutate against another community, except that today it is Muslim communities who are the target.'


In the News

Professor warns of bid to spread Islamophobia
The Independent, 27/11/2010, p.20; BBC Radio 4, 12/12/2010
Professor Nigel Copsey,a specialist in in right-wing extremism, fascism and anti-fascism, says the English Defence League is attempting to forge links with fringe elements associated with Jewish, Sikh