July 28, 2014
The founder of Britain First has resigned from the far-right group over its “provocative and counterproductive” mosque invasions. James “Jim” Dowson, a former British National Party (BNP) member and anti-abortion campaigner, announced his departure on Sunday. While Britain First blamed “media pressure” and family issues for the decision and said he would be missed “enormously” in a saccharine post, Mr Dowson publicly shamed the group’s tactics as “unacceptable and unchristian”.
The 49-year-old told the Mirror: “Most of the Muslims in this country are fine. They are worried about extremists the same as us. So going into their mosques and stirring them up and provoking them is political madness and a bit rude.”
Britain First posts triumphant videos of the so-called “invasions” on its website and Facebook page, where its paramilitary-style arm is seen confronting imams and worshippers. The group also organises “Christian patrols” in ethnically diverse areas and has been known to hand out Bibles to Muslims. The group ignored requests to take off their shoes in a place of worship, saying “when you respect women we’ll respect your mosques”.
The father-of-nine is facing criminal charges relating to loyalist flag protests in Belfast earlier this year and claims to be under “constant police surveillance”.
The leader of the far Right British National Party Nick Griffin has urged his followers to ignore a police ban on the organisation’s planned march near the scene of the brutal murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich. The call comes despite police warnings that any BNP members who try to demonstrate in south east London on Saturday risk arrest.
Mr Griffin posted on Twitter: “Ignore reports of march ban. See you there on Saturday.” He called the ban, which was issued under the Public Order Act, a “police abuse of power”.
“The right to protest is a fundamental part of our society, however, such an evocative mix of views being expressed in communities still hurting from Lee’s murder could have resulted in ugly scenes on our streets,” said Metropolitan Police Commander Simon Letchford.
The enforced change, if adhered to, raises the prospect of the two far Right rivals – the BNP and English Defence League – reaching the Cenotaph at the same time, along with anti-fascist groups. Speaking to The Independent tonight, Simon Letchford added that the Metropolitan Police was continuing to gather intelligence and would adapt its tactics in the event of any trouble.
9 March 2013
Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks), an official hotline established in February of 2012 with the intent to help quantify instances of anti-Muslim violence, found that of the more than 630 incidents reported in the hotline’s first 12 months of operation, the majority of victims were women.
58% of the incidents reported to Tell MAMA targeted Muslim women. Most of these incidents were characterized by the hotline as “abusive behaviour,” with 74% of these acts perpetrated online. The majority of public physical assaults were characterized as “random” in nature and directed primarily toward women wearing Islamic clothing.
The majority (54%) of the perpetrators were linked to far-right groups such as the English Defence League (EDL) and the British National Party (BNP). Of the instances reported, three-quarters of the perpetrators were men with an average age between 21 and 34.
These results emerge in the wake of a Chatham House report which found wide support for the claim that Islam and Muslim communities pose a threat to the nation.
The first results recorded by Tell Mama shocked Fiyaz Mughal, the hotline’s coordinator, who issued a call to public officials to combat what he referred to as a “shameful wave of fear and prejudice.” Currently, only the City of London police and the Metropolitan police record anti-Muslim crimes separately, a practice Mr. Mughal would like to see expanded. 2,000 hate crimes directed towards various religious communities in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales were reported to police officers in 2011, though officials are unable to determine exactly how many of those were perpetrated against Muslims.
12 May 2012
This week eight men were convicted at Liverpool Crown Court for their involvement in the exploitation of underage girls in Rochdale, Greater Manchester. The members of the gang, who are of Pakistani origin, recruited vulnerable teenage girls as young as 13 years old to force into prostitution. Inevitably the event shocked the British public and the conviction of the gang members led the public to question why the society failed to protect these vulnerable teenagers.
Far-right groups such as British National Party (BNP) and English Defence League (EDL) took the opportunity to demonize the entire Muslims community for the crime. Muslim groups warned of an increase in hate attacks and abuse against Muslims across the UK.
Also, some of the Catholic media joined the far-right in their demonization campaign of Muslims and called on the media to blame the Muslim community for the crime.
23 April 2012
Britain’s notoriously Islamophobic and racist far-right party is working hard for the forthcoming local election to restore its power. Although the party gained unprecedented popularity among working-class Britons in 1970s, soon after it began to decline due to a series of internal feuds and the electoral success of the breakaway British National Party (BNP).
Now, with the rising tide of Islamophobia in Britain, the whites-only party is seeking to seize the opportunity and to restore its glory days.
Hugely excited about Britain’s first televised party leaders’ debates, the British media have paid limited attention to the vicious electoral battle being fought in the East London borough of Barking and Dagenham.
Yet the outcome of the general and local elections there on May 6 could have troubling consequences, not least for Britain’s 2.4 million Muslims. For it is in Barking and Dagenham that the leader of the far right British National Party, Nick Griffin, has a fighting chance of winning what has long been a safe seat for Britain’s governing Labour Party.
In Dagenham, as throughout Britain, the whole issue of immigration has never been more emotive. But it is Muslims, portrayed as the “enemy within” bent on Islamizing Britain, who are the chief target of the BNP. From the Muslim perspective, the desirability of voting for the Labour Party to keep the far right out seems clear. Yet such is Muslim disaffection, especially over British foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan, that many Muslims appear disinclined to vote at all. Alarmed by the possibility of a triumphant BNP, prominent Muslims are backing a campaign in Dagenham, “Hope, Not Hate”, aimed at mobilizing the Muslim vote. Jewish businessmen, mindful of the threat posed to the Jews of East London by the fascist black shirts led by Oswald Mosley in the 1930s, are backing it, too, for the BNP’s historic anti-Semitism is manifesting itself anew in the area, with Margaret Hodge, who is of Egyptian Jewish parentage, being vilified on grounds of both her race and wealth.
The Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who was banned from entering the UK last year, has now shown his anti-Islam film at the House of Lords. The screening and subsequent press-conference was accompanied by a supporting demonstration of the right-wing British National Party and many counter-protesters outside Parliament.
In an article for The Independent, entitled “Islamophobia on tour: Wilders comes to Britain”, the author claims Britain should have renewed the ban to prevent Wilders from promoting his racist views. Indeed he repeated his view that Islam was a fascist ideology, called the Prophet Mohammed “a mass murderer, a barbarian and a paedophile” and suggested that immigration from Islamic countries to Europe should be stopped.
Only few members of the Houses of Commons and House of Lords attended the press conference — six in total –, among them Lord Pearson, who invited Wilders, and Baroness Cox. The remaining audience of around 60 was made up of parliamentary staff. The whole event has stirred much criticism and counter-protests.
An Indian-born Sikh pensioner is hoping to become the first non-white member of the far-right British National Party (BNP) because he wants to fight Islamic extremism. Rajinder Singh, 78, is joining the BNP — whose policies include stopping immigration — after the party voted Sunday to change its constitution to admit ethnic minorities for the first time, following a court ruling.
Singh said he had seen the “potential of Islam”, witnessing extensive violence after partition in 1947, and wanted to “save” Britain by working to prevent similar scenes here. “Islam is global, it has zero loyalty to Britain,” he said. The BNP are sons of soil and they are standing up for their soil. I wish we had a counterpart of the BNP in India in 1946.”
This is an exceptional case of the transfer of a conflict (Indian-Pakistani) to the situation of contemporary Islam in Britain, and of a representative of an ethnic minority joining a far-right party.
The University of Exeter has launched a new European Muslim Research Centre (EMRC). The center aims to shed light on Islamic issues that are in danger of being ignored because of negative media reports on Islam and “vociferous sections of the media and populist politicians”. Instead, the EMRC focuses on topics like anti-Muslim hate crime. Dr. Jonathan Githens-Mazer and Dr. Robert Lambert of the University of Exeter co-authored the center’s first report: “Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime: a London Case Study”.
The report finds that Muslim Londoners face a threat of violence and intimidation from three groups. First from a small violent extremist nationalist milieu that has broadly the same political analysis as the British National Party (BNP). Second from London gangs who have no allegiance with or affinity to the BNP. Third from a small number of Londoners and visitors to London who appear to be acting on prejudices gained via negative media portrayals of Muslims as terrorists and security threats.
The leader of the Green Party Dr Caroline Lucas MEP has spoken out against the growth of Islamophobia in the UK. “The Green Party’s view is clear: everyone in Britain must be free to follow their chosen faith, or none, fully confident that their right to do so will be vigorously upheld by government.”
Dr Lucas, who was recently re-elected as an MEP for South East England, signed up to a statement issued by a number of politicians and other prominent figures. The full statement reads as below:
Muslims in Britain are facing attacks on many fronts. These include:
* The high-profile arrests under terror legislation of Muslims who are subsequently released without charge, creating a climate of fear and harassment.
* An increase in violent attacks on Muslims in the streets and on Muslim places of worship.
* The targeting of Muslims by the far-right British National Party.
* Aggressive policing of Muslims on demonstrations, apparently designed to deter them from participating in peaceful protests.
* The racist misrepresentation of Muslim views and practices in the mass media.
* The political harassment of Muslim leaders by government ministers.