After the Harrow Mosque demonstration, the Secretary of State for communities and local government, John Denham had this to say:
He pointed to historical “parallels” with Mosley’s events. “You could go back to the 1930s if you wanted to – Cable Street and all of those types of things. The tactic of trying to provoke a response in the hope of causing wider violence and mayhem is long established on the far-right and among extremist groups.”
First of all, the English Defence League is a nasty piece of work. I can think of no circumstances in which it would be acceptable to demonstrate outside somebody’s place of worship, particularly on their prayer day. The Harrow Mosque has clear links to Jamaat-e-Islami and the Muslim Brotherhood. But that tells you nothing about the many and heterogenous people who are bound to worship at this institution, and who deserve protection from hooligans and thugs.
As thing stand, the “English Defence League” is – in the Guardian’s words – a “chaotic alliance” between football hooligans, nutters and low level BNP activists. Its prospects of turning into a Mosley-ite national political force are presently close to zero. Organised fascist parties are likely to regard it as a possible source of recruits. However, given that the BNP is in the middle of an attempt to brand itself as a mainstream ‘patriotic’ party, it is likely to steer clear of any open alliance with the street battling yobbos of the EDL.
But what do you make of this?
“My brothers, remain in your ranks, and do not be scared of these filthy kuffar. They are pigs. Allahi, they are pigs. Allah says that they are worse than cattle, worse than cattle. Do not be scared of them, yeah?… Do not be scared of them. Do not be scared of the police or the cameras. You are here only to please Allah. You are not here for any other reason. If you are here just for a fight, leave our ranks. We only want those who are sincere to Allah. Purify your intention.
It isn’t a return of fascism that worries me. It is the descent into sectarianism I find most depressing.