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The English Defence League

September 29th, 2014

The Rise and Fall of the English Defence League

The EDL spread like wildfire after its establishment in 2009 and it became arguably the biggest and most infamous domestic extremist group in England in a really short span of time. However, the group was unable to capitalise on its initial success. Although they managed to recruit around a 1000-1500 members, their membership numbers soon started dwindling and less and less people were interested in their demonstrations. By 2012, several of the outfit’s leading personalities left the group, and when Tommy Robinson quit the EDL in 2013 many thought the group would slowly fall apart and die. The future of the EDL seems bleak at the moment, but until it completely ceases to exist, its renaissance cannot be ruled out completely.

In 2009, after a group of Muslim radicals picketed the homecoming parade of the Royal Anglian Regiment, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon aka Tommy Robinson and others, mainly football hooligans, decided to establish the English Defence League (EDL) to counter Islamist extremism in England. The group spread like wildfire and it became arguably the biggest and most infamous domestic extremist group in England in a really short span of time.

The EDL’s ideology uses a liberal facade to promote inherently illiberal ideas. They claim to fight against Jihadist and Muslim extremists to conserve the liberal ideas that Europe is based upon. However, their actions, the Islamophobic propaganda they spread and the fact that they support forced assimilation proves the contrary. The EDL is fundamentally an anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and to a certain extent racist organisation that – between 2009 and 2011 – was the most active and dangerous extremist group in the country.

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Athena Institute

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