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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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