Nearly 2000 supporters of the English Defence League (EDL) descended upon Dudley town centre today opposing plans for the building of a Mosque in the area.
The English Defence League held a protest today in Dudley town centre against plans to build a Mosque in the local area. Nearly 2000 EDL protesters held up placards with slogans such as “Labour forcing mosques on Britain”, “Muslim bombers off our streets” and “Say no to the mosque”.
According to ITN news nine people were arrested.
With nearly 2000 supporters the EDL has certainly grown in support and yet their ideology which is to oppose the ‘Islamification’ of Britain is somewhat suspicious from the perspective that it is a typical right-wing response to other religions and misleading in regards to portraying Britain and British people as a Christian society.
The EDL’s History and growth
The EDL was formed in 2009 in response to a March 2009 protest against the Royal Anglian Regiment troops returning from Afghanistan by Muslim group Al-Muhajiroun and Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah.
The anti-fascist website Searchlight said that the EDL website was created by Chris Renton, a BNP activist, although the EDL says that Renton and others like him have hijacked the group.
The BNP officially distanced itself from the EDL, banning any member from associating or being a member of this group; and the EDL has distanced itself from racism and Islamophobia, saying that they have Hindus and Sikhs as members or supporters.
Whether the EDL is a right-wing group is debatable. After all Hindu and Sikh members does not make it an inclusive group, especially now that the BNP recruited their first non-white member, Rajinder Singh, a Sikh in his late 70s with a vehement hatred towards Muslims. This tactic seems more like the old colonial trick of divide and conquer.
The Christian fundamentalists in Britain
This is not to say that there are not genuine concerns regarding religious groups who plan to impose a way of life on the majority as long as people are aware that Muslims are not the only religious group with this totalitarian view of society.
Carmel School in Bristol is a Christian faith school which was featured in a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary. Six year old children recite this rhyme in the mornings, “The Lord has not dealt with us according to our sins nor punished us according to our iniquities.” (Modell: Telegraph.co.uk: 17 May 2008)
The teacher then goes on to say that God turns all unbelievers into a pillar of salt.
The school teaches that the bible is the literal word of God and is not open to any interpretation and those who have not been converted to their version of Christianity are damned for hell.
The goal of schools like Carmel is a society based on their Christian rules.
Schools like Carmel are an import from America where religion is taken seriously and fundamentalism is perceived as zeal for God. Already, Christian fundamentalists in America have bombed abortion clinics and vehemently denounced same sex marriages.
These types of beliefs have now arrived in Britain with schools like Carmel. Believers are also opposed to same sex marriages and gay rights and opposed the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (HFE).
Andrea Williams, public policy director of Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship described her opposition to the HFE Bill and gay rights as a “spiritual battle…” and even said “These laws reject God, and any rejection of God is the work of the enemy, Satan.”
Christian fundamentalists are also infiltrating government bodies to influence public policies and already 12 of them are MPs, mostly of the Conservative Party.
What it means to be Christian in Britain
This leads on to the next point, how the EDL has inaccurately portrayed Britain as a Christian country. What exactly does it mean to be Christian in Britain? Historically Christianity and the expansion of the British empire went hand in hand (read Black pastor to take on BNP leader in live debate), to be a Christian meant to be white; and the gospel had little to do with can be called ‘colonial Christianity’. In fact the Right Reverend John Sentamu and retiring Reverend Rajinder Daniel, one of the first priests from an ethnic minority to be ordained in the Church of England, both spoke out against the racism in the church.
Racism within churches in Britain is arguably so entrenched that the BNP felt bold enough to target white Christians back in April last year in the run up to the European and local elections.
The BNP said that the Church of England was being persecuted and equated that persecution with the party’s own religious values. They targeted London’s Oxford Street with digital posters and Billboard sites across the country on major motorways ahead of the Easter holidays, including the M1, M25, M11 and A127.
The message read, “Britain is a Christian Country. Vote to keep it that way!” Clearly the BNP sees the link between race and Christianity in Britain which partly answers the question about what is it is to be a Christian in Britain.
Another point that supports this view is made by Vexen Crabtree in an article titled, ‘Religion in the United Kingdom: Diversity, Trends and decline’, where the figures show that less than half of British people believe in God , yet 72 percent in the 2001 census identified themselves as Christians. What exactly does this mean? The answer for this comes from an unlikely source, the BNP leader Nick Griffin, who in a debate on Revelation TV said that Christianity in his view was more about national pride and history rather than the teachings of Jesus. (Read BNP plan black church ban in white areas) This could explain why 72 percent of British people identified themselves as Christians and yet over half claim to not believe in a God.
The statistics also explain why more Mosques are being built over churches, it is simply because Christianity is on a decline in this country. If Hindu and Sikh temples were to dominate the religious buildings in this country would the EDL turn against the very people they say support them? It is very likely.
The question that the EDL should be asked is, are they really defending Christianity or white British history? The evidence is abundant but I leave the readers to make their own mind up.
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