Why Were English Skinheads At The 9/11 Anti-Mosque Protest ?
Today’s New York Times tries to figure out why there was a group of English soccer hooligans at the protests against the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” on September 11th:
Among the non-New Yorkers who traveled to Lower Manhattan on Saturday to protest the neighborhood’s decision to allow an Islamic community center to be built were seven men who came from England bearing flags with slogans and the cross of St. George — a symbol of their nation and of the Crusades.
Those flags are often seen at soccer stadiums, when ultranationalist fans of England’s soccer team gather to cheer (and to fight fans of other nations), but they have been cropping up regularly at anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim protests in English cities over the past year.
That is because the men are members of the English Defense League, formed last year to counter what the men see as the threat posed to their national identity by immigrants to England and British-born Muslims who are neither white nor Christian.
As the British anti-fascist group Hope Not Hate explained last month, the E.D.L. is led by a former member of the British National Party, whose leader has made common cause with the Ku Klux Klan, and has “mushroomed from a coalition of former football hooligans into an enormous street army with the propensity for large-scale disorder and city center confrontations with the police.”[
After spending months working undercover on an 11-minute documentary about the group, Matthew Taylor reported, “A Guardian investigation has identified a number of known right-wing extremists who are taking an interest in the movement — from convicted football hooligans to members of violent right-wing splinter groups.”
In a report on the group, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz asked, “What are Israeli flags and Jewish activists doing at demonstrations sponsored by the English Defence League?” The newspaper answered the question this way: “Call it a struggle against a common foe: Islam. Or a journey into the heart of darkness. Or perhaps further proof that Europe is starting to lose its mind again.”
These are the kinds of people that the Pamela Geller’s of the world are allying themselves with.