We’ve already made clear why we’re returning to Luton to celebrate three years of the English Defence League on May 5th.
We’ve also heard from EDL Joint-Leader Kevin Carroll and Labour Council Leader Hazel Simmons.
But the recent news that five more Luton men have been arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences proves beyond any shadow of a doubt what we have been saying for years: Islamic extremism has found a home in Luton.
Some have argued that Islamic extremists are not the only extremists in Luton. But which other communities have produced ‘home-grown’ terrorists? Which other communities have had numerous proven links to terrorists and terrorist funding? And which other communities have seen their representatives shout abuse at home-coming soldiers?
Of course, the lunatic fringe of any community is never really truly representative. But given the massive problems with Islamic extremism worldwide, aren’t we entitled to ask what Luton’s Muslim community is doing to combat extremism in Luton? And if we think that this falls well-short of what is needed, then surely it’s only reasonable to demonstrate against this complacency?
We’ll be doing just that in Luton.
Coaches will drop off at Park Street / Cumberland Street and will then be directed to the Coach Park.
Those arriving by Train will be directed to the muster point approximately five minutes’ walk from the station.
The muster points will be:
- Edge Nightclub, Park Street
- The Chequers, Park Street
- Bat & Barrel, Park Street
- The Moulders, Park Street
- Finnegans Cafe, Park Street
- The Sandwich Bar, Park Street
A Beer Stall will also be set up in the road.
The owners of these establishments are doing us a favour by opening, so please show them the respect they are due.
Opening times will be 08.30-12.00. All other pubs in Luton town centre will be closed until 5pm.
From the muster points we will then set off for a short march at 1pm, which will be followed by speeches at the demonstration site.
As always, we’d ask everyone to take care on their way home and avoid lingering in the town centre.
Tommy Robinson (EDL Leader) would like to send out a personal invite to anyone who wants to watch the Cup Final to join him in The Parrot after the demonstration.
The demonstration location has been chosen specifically because it is where a number of Luton’s notorious extremists are known to congregate; amongst them members of the now-banned al-Muhajiroun organisation.
It should not fall to groups from outside of the Muslim community to organise demonstrates opposing the likes of al-Muhajiroun, but these extremists continue to preach hatred and Islamic separatism quite openly on the streets of Luton.
Time and time again we’ve seen that the Muslim community fails to mobilise to demonstrate against the extremism that gives their community a bad name.
The Stockholm bomber is thought to have been radicalised in the area where we will hold our demonstration and the 7/7 bombers had substantial links to Luton. But in both cases what was the response from Luton’s Muslim community? Nothing. How many came out onto the streets to shout ‘not in our name’? None.
Now that even more Luton Muslims have been arrested on suspicion of terrorism it should be abundantly clear that extremism has taken root within Luton’s Muslim community. Getting rid of it is going to take more than coffee mornings and a ‘Luton in Harmony’ badge.
But there’s one major problem to overcome, and that’s British Muslim’s refusal to admit that there are serious issues with their community. Of course not all British Muslims are extremists, and it’s not fair to say that the Muslim community as a whole can be regarded as ‘extreme’. But that doesn’t mean that we should refuse to recognise that the Muslim community’s problem with extremism is truly unique.
To understand and to defeat this extremism we need to be willing to criticise the Muslim community when we see that it is accommodating extremist views. And we need the Muslim community to be receptive to that criticism. If it is not, we need to convince it. But we also worry about the influence that extremists already have over the Muslim community.
For instance, why do Luton Muslims support the ‘counter-demonstrations’ organised by the UAF – an organisation that includes a known extremist in its leadership team? What are we to think? How can they be genuinely committed to combating extremism when they associate with extremist-led organisations who try to shout down those – like the EDL – who aren’t afraid to talk plainly about threat of Islamic extremism?
The Muslim community refuses to demonstrate against Islamic extremism, but will protest against those who are demonstrating against Islamic extremism. Why is this? Whatever the answer, it says far more about the inaction of the Muslim community than it does about the EDL.
We would love the Muslim community to do our job for us – to combat extremism and the extremists, to work with the government and the police and to promote the reform which is necessary to ensure that extremism cannot return.
But what evidence is there of any progress? Is Luton now ‘in harmony’? Is the rest of the country?
It’s not just about Luton, even though this was the birthplace of the EDL and one of the places where the threat from Islamic extremism is very real.
It’s also about standing up for our rights and for our freedoms – the very things that the extremists oppose.
We don’t doubt that there are many within the Muslim community who agree that these are things worth fighting for. But we’re yet to hear their voices.