As news broke of a ‘racially-motivated’ attack on a Muslim community centre last Wednesday, sleep-deprived liberal journalists up and down the country will have been loading files they saved many months earlier.
The files being loaded will have had names like ‘Incaseofviolentbacklashagainstmuslims’, or ‘Norway part 2’ and will have brought onto their laptop screens lengthy diatribes against the right for ‘inciting’ social and political hatred.
Liberals, you see, are well prepared for this kind of thing. They’ve been predicting it since 9/11, possibly even before. It has been to their great discomfort that so few actual events have occured after which their pre-prepared sentiments could be employed.
Until now of course. Well, we still don’t know if this was the work of an actual EDL member, but it might well be.
If confirmed as such, then expect to hear things like the following:
“The latest attack on a Muslim community centre demonstrates that extremism and terrorism are not distinct to Muslims alone, and that, if we are to be serious about tackling terror in all its forms, we must rightly treat EDL members no differently than we do Al-Muhajiroun.”
This is nonsense of course. The position of the EDL vis-à-vis Islam does not belong in the same moral universe as the position of Islamists toward the rest of us. The Islamists want us dead or subordinate. The EDL would rather preserve the status quo, not just for the sake of Christians, but Sikhs, Hindus and other minorities. In fact, contrary to the fake orthodoxy manufactured by rumour, the EDL are actually rather liberal relative to the views held by folk in more ‘respectable’ sections of society. The EDL do not propose, as others do, that Muslims be deported en masse from Western societies. Nor do its leading voices call for violence against Muslims, even against those convicted of terrorist offences.
The EDL can be best understood as a kind of crude pressure group, designed to encourage political and cultural leaders to address the problems caused by Islamic immigration. Just as UKIP will never actually attain office and thereby be able to withdraw Britain from the EU, neither will the EDL make up the totality of any solution to Islam in the UK. I don’t think Tommy Robinson, for all his gusto, believes himself to be destined for 10 Downing Street. More likely, he wants his voice, and those of his peers to be heard in 10 Downing Street. David Cameron, in keeping with a generally lacklustre approach to government, has so far had little of substance to say regarding the EDL. Famously, when once pushed for an answer, he described those who join the organization as being ‘sick’. This is offensive, stupid and clearly off the top of a very breezy mind.
Even if the arson of last Wednesday proves to be the work of someone acting in the name of the EDL, don’t be too quick to tar the peaceful majority. The EDL leadership (unlike the leaders of many Muslim organisations) have been consistent from the start in their opposition to terrorism and political violence. I hope they make crystal clear how little this kind of behavior represents them, or indeed any of us who share their ideology.