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UK Far-Right Leader Quits

Published: 11/10/2013 04:20:33 PM GMT
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LONDON - Stoking anti-Muslim hatred over the past years, two leaders of Brtisih far-right group have announced their plan to quit the extremist groups, announcing that it have been taken over by neo-Nazis.“I have been cons (more)

LONDON - Stoking anti-Muslim hatred over the past years, two leaders of Brtisih far-right group have announced their plan to quit the extremist groups, announcing that it have been taken over by neo-Nazis.

“I have been considering this move for a long time because I recognize that though street demonstrations have brought us to this point, they are no longer productive,” Tommy Robinson, the English Defence League (EDL) leader, said during a Tuesday conference at anti-extremism Quilliam Foundation think-tank, the Express reported on Wednesday, October 9.

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He stated that countering radicalism is essential, and demonstrations failed to achieve this, adding that he wanted to counter “Islamist ideology” not “Muslims”.

“Whilst I want to lead a revolution against Islamist ideology, I don't want to lead a revolution against Muslims,” Robinson added.

“I acknowledge the dangers of far right extremism and the ongoing need to counter Islamist ideology not with violence but with better, democratic ideas.”

“Only a complete renunciation of the violence and hatred the EDL leaders have promoted, and a turning away from the anti-Muslim rhetoric they have championed, will be enough for the many thousands who have suffered from the EDL's ugly actions over the past three years.”

Along with the EDL founder, his co-leader, Kevin Carroll, has also announced that he was leaving the party.

Britain is home of a Muslim community of nearly 2.7 million.

Far-right groups like the EDL and the British National Party (BNP) are playing the card of immigration to stoke sentiment against Muslims and immigrants.

In November 2010, British police warned that the anti-Muslim demonstration by the EDL fuel extremism and harm social cohesion in Britain.

Last September, the EDL was humiliated in Walthamstow district in northeast London when anti-fascists comprehensively routed it as it tried to stage a "national" demonstration.

Mixed Reactions

Maajid Nawaz, head of Quilliam, described the EDL leaders quit as a “more mature way” to counter all forms of extremism.

“As well as being a very positive change for the United Kingdom, this is a very proud moment for Quilliam,” Nawaz told The Express.

“This represents not a change but a continuation for us, as challenging extremism of all kinds forms the basis of our work.

“We have been able to show that Britain stands together against extremism regardless of political views and hope to continue supporting Tommy and Kevin in their journey to counter Islamism and neo-Nazi extremism.”

Despite being welcomed by Quilliam officials, Robinson's decision was not taken seriously be UK Muslims.

“I cannot take Tommy Robinson or Kevin Carroll's announcement seriously until they reject their fascist views on Islam and Muslims,” Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Muslim youth organization the Ramadhan Foundation, was quoted by The Mirror.

“I met Tommy Robinson last week and during that meeting he indicated that he was leaving the EDL because he couldn't control the extremist group, impact on his family and wider legal cases he faces,” he said.

“At no stage did he reject his previous disgusting attacks on Islam and Muslims or apologize to the British people for the millions wasted policing their protests,” he added.

Usama Hasan, who fought in Afghanistan in the late 1980s, agreed.

“Tommy is guilty of stirring up anti-Muslim hatred...But I get the impression he does listen and he's been doing his reading,” he told The Independent.

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