On Saturday, the English Defence League attempted a new strategy in their attempt to spread fear and Islamophobia. Four regional demos were arranged, in Halifax, Cambridge, Plymouth and Middlesborough. Proposed EDL demos in Liverpool, Dagenham and Derby were called off after local opposition.
Although the EDL numbers were low (450 in Halifax, 200 in Middlesborough; 150 in Plymouth and 350 in Cambridge) it still shows that they are mobile and well organised. They do not look like they are likely to 'fizzle away' as had been hoped. Their next intended target is Tower Hamlets on Sept 3rd, and it will be important to do whatever we can to support 'Hope not Hate', 'Unite Against Fascism' and local opposition to this event.
One of our church members witnessed the violent thuggery of the EDL supporters in Halifax city centre. These people clearly are just going out for a ruck, they are mindless and dangerous, and because of this, they will fail to get wider support for their activities. This does not mean however they are not a danger. For perhaps thousands of young people, they are being socialised into the idea that smashing up a Muslim is a totally acceptable act. They are successfully breeding hate in our country and we must never ignore or belittle the threat they pose to our society.