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May 11, 2012 Off

Radical English Defence League Emerges in U.S.

The Eng­lish Defence League (EDL), a UK-based right-wing, anti-Islamic and self-described “Counter Jihad move­ment,” has launched a chap­ter in the United States.

The newly cre­ated United States of Amer­ica Defence League (USADL) claims to be “a human rights orga­ni­za­tion that was founded in the defense of our nation and to stand in uni­son with the EDL and other such orga­ni­za­tions, to halt the spread of Sharia law.”

The orga­ni­za­tion, which offi­cially launched its web­site on May 7, 2012, states that a cen­tral tenet of its mis­sion is pub­lic edu­ca­tion and the need to ensure that the pub­lic is pro­vided with a “more real­is­tic and less san­i­tized view of Islam…” While its mis­sion state­ment warns against assum­ing that all Mus­lims are guilty of com­mit­ting acts of ter­ror­ism, it goes on to say that “the Islamic book of wor­ship calls for all Mus­lims to par­tic­i­pate in Jihad, in one form or another.”

USADL’s National Direc­tor is Bill Turner, who is known for his anti-government and con­spir­a­to­r­ial writ­ings, which have been pub­lished on a num­ber of right-wing web­sites and dis­sem­i­nated through his Twit­ter han­dle, “JihadiHunter.”

Bill Turner

While anti-Muslim bias has been a pri­mary theme in his writ­ings as well, Turner’s role in launch­ing the USADL sug­gests that he is gear­ing up to advance a more con­spir­a­to­r­ial anti-Muslim agenda.

USADL’s web­site indi­cates that mem­ber­ship is open to all who “rec­og­nize the threat that Sharia Law poses to free peo­ple every­where.” Although it is still too early to con­firm the size and via­bil­ity of the new orga­ni­za­tion, it already claims to have approx­i­mately 60 members.

Ear­lier this year, EDL announced plans to form a new polit­i­cal party in the UK.

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March 28, 2012 Off

Radical English Defence League To Form Political Party

The Eng­lish Defence League (EDL), a UK-based right-wing, anti-Islamic and self-described “Counter Jihad move­ment,” announced plans to form a new polit­i­cal party in the com­ing months. EDL’s foray into pol­i­tics is influ­enced by the suc­cess of other sim­i­lar polit­i­cal par­ties in Europe, most notably the Dutch Free­dom Party, the polit­i­cal party led by rad­i­cal Dutch par­lia­men­tar­ian Geert Wilders.

An EDL spokesman stated that the organization’s party will be named the Free­dom Party, and its offi­cial launch will take place in May at the EDL Luton demon­stra­tion, an annual protest that began with the organization’s found­ing in 2009. In the past, EDL demon­stra­tions have been marked by vio­lence, with some bor­der­ing on full riots result­ing in numer­ous arrests, prop­erty dam­age and injuries to law enforcement.

Mem­bers of the Welsh Defense League rais­ing their hands in a Nazi salute
The group has also been accused of being a haven for right-wing racists, a charge the group denies. How­ever, EDL has been linked to var­i­ous racist Eng­lish groups, such as the Welsh Defence League, an EDL divi­sion that has many local white suprema­cists in its ranks.

Accord­ing to the organization’s mis­sion state­ment, EDL’s mis­sion is “to oppose what it con­sid­ers to be the spread of Islamism, Sharia law and Islamic extrem­ism in Eng­land.” Stephen Lennon, head of the EDL, said that the Free­dom Party will be an anti-Islamist polit­i­cal party “that gives every­one an option in a non-racist way.”

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