Far right, anti-Islamic groups to hold rally
Far right and anti-Islamic groups are due to hold a rally in Denmark on March 31, organised by the English Defence League (EDL) which it claims will be the start of a pan-European movement, it was revealed here Monday.
The rally will take place a few weeks before the start of the trial of Anders Behring Breivik, the far right extremist who has confessed to the murder of 77 people in Norway last July, and is expected to attract supporters of at least 10 anti-Islamic and far right groups from across the continent, the Guardian newspaper reported.
It is the second time the EDL has tried to hold a meeting in Europe.
In October 2010 about 60 supporters turned up to a planned rally in Amsterdam and were attacked by Ajax football fans and anti-fascists.
The EDL claims the 31 March event will be bigger. It is expected to attract several hundred people drawn from defence leagues and other far right groups that have emerged around Europe over the past two years.
Observers are divided over whether the event is a significant step towards “a coherent European far right movement but the possibility has raised concern”, the newspaper noted.
Nick Lowles from “Hope not Hate” group, which campaigns against racism and fascism, said he was not expecting a big turnout but added some key figures from emerging far right groups would be there.
“The march in Denmark will bring together many of the leaders of the so-called ‘counter-jihad movement’ and it is another sign of the growing international anti-Muslim networks,” he said.
The EDL says the Denmark rally will discuss the formation of a European Defence League with representatives from far right and anti-Islamic groups in Italy, Poland, Germany, Finland, Sweden and Norway expected to attend.
Lowles said, “Their focus on the threat of Islam, presenting it as a cultural war, has a far wider resonance amongst voters, especially in northern Europe, than old-style racists. They conflate Islamist extremists with immigration and in the current economic and political conditions it is extremely dangerous.”
Meanwhile, Claude Moraes, the Labour Member of the European Parliament for London who chairs the all-party group on racism in the European parliament, described the demonstration as a critical moment and said there was widespread complacency about the threat posed by groups such as the EDL among mainstream European politicians.
Last year, a report from the thinktank “Demos” found a new generation of young, web-based supporters who embrace hardline nationalist and anti-immigrant groups.
It concluded that far right and anti-Islamic groups were on the rise across Europe.
In a related development, the Guardian said that British anti-racists are also planning to travel to the rally.
From the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) . 26.03.2012