The Guardian are today writing about links which they have established between The English Defence League, a far-right grouping aimed at combating the "Islamification" of British cities, and the Tea Party movement in the United States.
Jon Cruddas on The English Defence League:
An Observer investigation has established that the EDL has made contact with anti-jihad groups within the Tea Party organisation and has invited a senior US rabbi and Tea Party activist to London this month. Rabbi Nachum Shifren, a regular speaker at Tea Party conventions, will speak about Sharia law and also discuss funding issues.
The league has also developed links with Pamela Geller, who was influential in the protests against plans to build an Islamic cultural centre near Ground Zero. Geller, darling of the Tea Party's growing anti-Islamic wing, is advocating an alliance with the EDL. The executive director of the Stop Islamisation of America organisation, she recently met EDL leaders in New York and has defended the group's actions, despite a recent violent march in Bradford.
Geller, who denies being anti-Muslim, said in one of her blogs: "I share the EDL's goals… We need to encourage rational, reasonable groups that oppose the Islamisation of the west."
They bring together a dangerous cocktail of football hooligans, far-right activists and pub racists.And yet these are the very people who some in the Tea party movement are seeking to align themselves with. These people are far right thugs, more dangerous than the BNP, united in their hatred of all things Muslim.
And yet Pamela Geller is seeking a coalition with these people.
Devin Burghart, vice-president of the Kansas-based Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, said: "Geller is acting as the bridge between the EDL and the Tea Party. She plays an important role in bringing Islamophobia into the Tea Party. Her stature has increased substantially inside the Tea Party ranks after the Ground Zero mosque controversy. She has gained a lot of credibility with that stuff."If you can judge people by the company they keep, then Geller is giving an awful lot away by seeking an alliance with the English Defence League. The EDL have been described by David Cameron as "dreadful people".
Obviously, the entire Tea Party movement can't be defined by who Geller seeks to align them with, but those people who are with the Tea Party movement for reasons other than Islamophobic ones, should fear the path Geller is taking them on.
Journalist Matthew Taylor, who followed activists earlier this year for an exposé in the Guardian, said the group acts as a "lightning rod for people with a range of grievances who appear to be coalescing around a rampant Islamophobia."
"At each demonstration I attended, I was confronted by casual – often brutal – racism, a widespread hatred of Muslims and often the threat of violence," he wrote.
She is seeking to align them with England's extreme far right wing nutcases.
Burghart says anti-Islamic tendencies have become far more marked in the grassroots organisation: "As we move farther and farther away from the Tea Party origins, that were ostensibly around debt and bail-outs, social issues like Islamophobia are replacing that anger, that vigour. The idea that there is a war between Islam and the west is becoming commonplace."The movement was never about one thing, which is why it was always so hard to pin down what these people actually wanted. Geller is making it much more specific. It's now about opposing the Islamification of the US and Europe.
Another Tea Party-associated grouping, the International Civil Liberties Alliance, which campaigns against Sharia law, confirmed that EDL leaders have made "contacts with members of important organisations within the American counter-jihad movement". A statement said: "It seems now that America and Europe are acting as one, and united we can never fail."
Only 2% of America's population are Muslim, which gives one some idea of how ridiculous Geller's fears actually are. She fears that such a minuscule portion of the population might actually impose Sharia law on the whole of the United States. And, in order to prevent this thing - which has no chance of ever happening - she is prepared to get into bed with the English defence League.
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