To Protest Hate

9 Oct

On Saturday, October 10th the English Defense League is coming to Manchester to rally and they must be opposed. On their website they emphatically declare that they are “peacefully protesting militant Islam”, however, given the current trends of the far right and the violent nature of their protests it’s imperative that the group is scrutinized and their message confronted.

In a Friday, Sept. 11th article in The Guardian a minister of parliament was cited as saying, “If you look at the types of demonstrations they’ve organized … it looks pretty clear that it’s a tactic designed to provoke and get a response, and hopefully create violence” (MP John Denham, “Minister Warns of 1930’s Style Fascists in the Streets”).The mission of the EDL, according to their rhetoric is to “oppose Radical Islam and Sharia Law’ ‘Not Muslims, but Radical Muslims”, however, in an August 2009 piece in The Times reported that a peaceful march in Birmingham ended up with violence and 35 arrests. The violence is alleged to be due to tensions between the anti-fascist and EDL individual supporters, but according to the Muslim Public Affairs committee, last Sunday the police reported a “race hate crime” of desecrated Muslim graves in a southern Manchester cemetery. Their violence is not incidental; it is the modus operandi of a hate group that uses violence to spread fear and bewilderment.

The rise of the right seems paradoxical in the “age of Hope” (alluding to Obama’s globally popular image), however as commentator William Pfaff of truthdig.org stated: “the left in Europe has run out of gas”. New Labour and the soft-left have failed, and the pendulum has violently swung back towards violent disillusionment. Many uninformed white, working class, and or apolitical citizens are being manipulated across the board. Fear, is the catalyst that has transformed violent disillusionment into “placards – with slogans such as ‘Ban mosques’ – as well as the vile racist abuse the crowd hurled” (Salma Yaqoob, the New Statesman).

We must protest, confront, and stanchly denounce the message of the EDL. Fear is toxic, and with a message of hate it is deadly. In the U.S. fear of “death panels” and the loss of “my America” has manifested virulent (and gun-toting) right-wing resistance; however, here in Britain the EDL and the rising British National Party use the same right-wing phobia model and reproduce fascistic manifestations. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “An injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere”, and silence poses a threat to justice.

After all, if they are only protesting “radical Islam”, then those same Muslim “radicals” (neighbors, doctors, teachers, secretaries, students, etc…) have the inalienable right to peacefully counter-protest in solidarity with other citizens that want a diverse Britain; whom love a diverse Manchester, and live in the present and not the Dark Ages of ignorance.

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