YSK this little-known origin story of the English Defence League (EDL), a notorious right-wing anti-islamist protest group from the UK

YSK this little-known origin story of the English Defence League (EDL), a notorious right-wing anti-islamist protest group from the UK
<!– SC_OFF –><div class="md"><p>According to its wikipedia page, the English Defence League was formed on the 27th June 2009, in response to a demonstration organised by the (now outlawed) extremist Islamist organisation, Al-Muhajiroun … The full story of how the EDL was formed actually starts several years earlier.</p> <p>During the late 80s and 90s there was a surge of immigrants entering the UK from asian countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan. Many of these immigrants settled in London, but others chose areas with pre-existing minority populations such as Bradford and Birmingham. Prior to the late 80s, the town of Luton, England had a small population of ethnic minorities, but during the early 90s this population grew rapidly.</p> <p>This was generally not seen as a good thing by the local predominantly-white community, and as a result there was an increase in the number of crimes inflicted upon and by the local asian population.</p> <p>By the late 90s and early 2000s there was a large divide between the two communities, and young men who had grown up during these times had learned not to trust members from outside their own community. One man who took advantage of this divide was Anjem Choudary.</p> <p>Anjem is now known for being a former leader of the Salafi jihadi terrorist organisation Al-Muhajiroun, as well as the spokesperson for the radical islamist group Islam4UK. But during the late 90s he was known locally as a pseudo-gang leader, leading a group of about 30 young muslim men in Luton.</p> <p>This group lacked any real goal other than to fight back against racially aggravated crimes, that had caused some members of their community to fear for their saftey when walking the streets.</p> <p>The group led by Choudary would walk the streets, using the threat of violence (and in some cases actual violence), in an attempt to intimidate local white males into leaving their community alone. However, as is often the case, this only served to increase the racial tension within Luton.</p> <p>As Choudrays&#39; group became more well known, a group of young white men including the future founder of the EDL, Kevin Carroll (a.k.a Tommy Robinson), decided that they needed to do something to counter what they percieved as a growing problem, and so Casuals United was born.</p> <p>These men belonged to a local football firm, a type of organisation that would have organised fights with the firms of rival football teams. They decided that the threat of islamism wasn&#39;t limited to their home town, and was actually a threat to the UK as a whole. They met up with members of other football firms and formed an alliance that they called Casuals United.</p> <p>Initially Casuals United had no agenda other than to physically fight with Choudary and his followers, in what they saw as taking back the streets. Choudarys group and Casuals United would fight many times throughout the mid 2000s, with neither side making ground.</p> <p>This all changed as it became apparent that Choudary had been recruited by Omar Bakri Muhammads, then leader of Al-Muhajiroun. This was seen as a serious threat by Casuals United, and they began to take their role more seriously</p> <p>During March 2009, the Royal Anglian Regiment marched through Luton after returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Choudary openly led a protest by Al-Muhajiroun against the Afghanistan war, something that Casuals United saw as deeply insulting. When they attempted a counter protest, many of the Casuals United were arrested, and Al-Muhajiroun were allowed to continue their protest.</p> <p>In the month following Carroll visited various football firms throughout the country, trying to convince them of the threat that Choudary and his fellow islamists posed to the traditional way of life in the UK. This culminated in a meeting on the 27th June 2009, organised by Carroll and attended by many prominent members of UK football firms. Angered by the actions of Choudary and the response by police during the March protest, they all agreed to set aside their differences and work together.</p> <p>Carroll and several other members had already split from Casuals United to form a more serious and politically minded organisation, the United Peoples of Luton (UPL), though close ties with the Casuals United were maintained and many remained members of both. After the meeting on 27th June, the UPL expanded and became the English Defence League as we know it today.</p> <p>After that day a regional organisation structure was formed, with members chosen from the ranks to lead local chapters of the EDL. Many of these branches were closed by the police in the following years, in response to violent acts and criminal assosciations.</p> <p>In the following years the EDL organised hundreds of demonstrations in towns and cities throughout England. In the early days these often led to violence and destruction of property. But as their reputation grew the police became more forceful and cautious in their approach to policing the EDL protests.</p> <p>Eventually the EDL gave birth to a counter organisation, United Against Fascism (UAF). It wasn&#39;t long before the number of UAF protestors attending EDL marches outnumbered the EDL demonstrators themselves. This led to a decrease in morale within the EDL, and the number of active demonstrators dwindled.</p> <p>In 2013, Carroll was the focus of a British television program, aimed at revealing the people and motives behind the EDL. During this program Carroll met with Maajid Nawaz, a muslim and director of think-tank Quilliam.</p> <p>Carroll was shocked to find that Nawaz shared many of his views on islamism and the rise of extremism. This prompted him to step down as head of the EDL on October 8th 2013, in order to work with Quilliam to pursue more effective means of combating extremist islamism.</p> <p>The EDL is still active to this day, and renounces Kevin &#39;Tommy Robinson&#39; Carroll as a traitor. However without Carroll as their figurehead and media spokesperson, they are falling into relative obscurity. The number of organised marches has rapidly declined as well as the number of people attending them, and many believe that the EDL are no longer relevant.</p> <p><em>This took me a long time to write, and is a story that very few people outside of the EDL know, so an upvote would be much appreciated!</em></p> </div><!– SC_ON –> submitted by
Source: You Should Know

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