EDL Raise Funds Inside the European Parliament

English Defence League joins the neo-Nazis of the National Front in Newcastle on 4 June

The far right is the real creeping threat to civil liberties and freedom. Now they are stealthily meeting in European parliament to fundraise (via. Islamophobia-Watch):

EDL raise funds inside the European Parliament

Far right members from organisations in Germany, Sweden and the UK attended a meeting in the European Parliament on 9 July at which literature was sold to attendees.

While one keynote speaker described how “The pansy left are auditioning to be the Muslim’s prison b*tch” and said the mainstream media represented “a threat to life and liberty.”

The same speaker stated: “A society which becomes more Muslim becomes less everything else.”

There was a surprise for Members of the European Parliament this morning when a secret meeting of Europe’s far right was held in the parliament. The meeting, listed as Non Inscrit Meeting, and not appearing on the usual schedules, was a gathering of Islamaphobes and included as guest speaker, Tommy Robinson, leader of the English Defence League (EDL), and used the name of International Civil Liberties Alliance as a cover.

Robinson, looking sweaty and nervous, claimed that Luton was the centre of a plot by the Islamic world to bring Britain under their authority.

The EDL has been in decline recently, with smaller crowds at their more infrequent demonstrations and a series of splits. Robinson was speaking as Deputy Leader of the British Freedom Party, whose leader couldn’t make the gathering. The party is believed to have less than 200 paying members.

Richard Howitt MEP who has criticised attempts to form different European ‘defence leagues’ by the EDL using their Facebook page said about today’s meeting:

“This is yet one more failed attempt by the EDL to find European partners as they just cannot spread their roots in the UK.

“In the same way Nick Griffin and the BNP tried to use the European Parliament as a spring board and failed abysmally, the EDL will find they are badly out-of-their-depth.

“I have written to the President of the European Parliament to complain about the use of our facilities to raise funds for such hate organisations and to investigate whether other meetings are planned.”

New Europe, 9 July 2012

The unnamed speaker who attacked the “pansy left” and stated that “a society which becomes more Muslim becomes less everything else” was presumably Mark Steyn.

Update:  See Richard Howitt’s comment piece at LabourList, 10 July 2012

Update 2:  See “EDL at ‘free speech and human rights’ conference at European Parliament”, Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion, 11 July 2012

Update 3:  One of the participants, Ned May, has posted a full list of speakers on the Gates of Vienna website.

See, We Told You: Geert Wilders Xenophobia is Not Limited to Muslims

Still my favorite picture of Geert Wilders

Far-right populist Geert Wilders has made a name for himself through his anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric, and for this reason he is, to quote Robert Spencer, one of the “heroes” of the anti-Muslim movement.

We have consistently pointed out however that Geert Wilders and his allies are not one stop bigots. Behind the “acceptable” attacks on Muslims is hidden a wider xenophobia against ‘the other.’ A bigotry which if not born out of any consistent ideological character is definitely a reflection of the realization that playing on the fears of the majority may lead to positive results at the ballot box.

Wilders and his party, the PVV are riding a wave of popularity through the launch of an anti-Polish/anti-Eastern European website which has been the cause of much controversy and embarrassment in the Netherlands. After launching the site it was reported that the PVV,

would gain 24 seats in parliament if elections were held today, the number of seats the party currently holds, says pollster Maurice de Hond. Geert Wilders’ populist far-right party is the third largest party in the Netherlands.

Wilders’ PVV site displays,

news clippings with bold headlines blaming foreigners for petty crime, noise nuisance – and taking jobs from the Dutch. “Are immigrants from Central and Eastern countries bothering you? We’d like to hear from you,” it says.

The Dutch government has distanced itself from the website but this hasn’t ebbed the disastrous PR that Wilders move has generated.

Besides criticism from ten European ambassadors and the European Commission, the Dutch public has also expressed concerns about possible repercussions. Poles are calling for a boycott of Dutch products.(emphasis mine)

The issue was taken to the European parliament which just yesterday announced its ‘dismay’ and formal response to Wilders most recent populist move:

EP condemns PVV website, exec puts ball in Netherlands’ court

By Gaspard Sebag in Strasbourg | Wednesday 14 March 2012 (Europolitics.info)

Representatives of the political groups in the European Parliament, on 13 March, unanimously called upon the Netherlands’ Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, to condemn a website launched by his far-right political ally, the PVV party headed by Geert Wilders. Said website, up since early February, urges Dutch citizens to report problems they experience with nationals of Central and Eastern European countries. “Unacceptable,” “a disgrace,” “scandalous” – said MEPs. The European Commission, for its part, announced it would not get involved from a legal point of view and leaves the responsibility of assessing the lawfulness of the website to the Dutch authorities. A joint parliamentary resolution will be put to the vote, on 15 March (see box).

The EPP, which counts among its ranks the junior partner in the Netherlands’ government, the centre-right CDA, was particularly vocal. “We cannot tolerate, from a party that takes part in a coalition government, a call to hatred against nationals from another member state. That is unacceptable,” said EPP leader Joseph Daul (France).

Despite the fact that Rutte is part of the Liberal political family, ALDE Chair Guy Verhofstadt (Belgium) was unequivocal about condemning the “silence” of the Dutch government and the message sent by the website. “My group has nothing but contempt for Mr Wilders’ initiative.” Recalling the need to be even-handed in criticising populist tactics, Verhofstadt lumped together French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Wilders. “I wonder who is the extreme-right wing candidate [in France], is it [Marine] Le Pen or Sarkozy?” he asked.

Reactions from other political group leaders all condemned Rutte’s passivity, whose hands are tied by his need for Wilders’ support, and who thus claims it is not a governmental issue. S&D leader Hannes Swoboda (Austria) called for the website to be closed down. Polish deputy Jacek Kurski (EFD) said Rutte’s lack of reaction is “scandalous”. “The prime minister [of the Netherlands] is not taking up his responsibility,” said Marije Cornelissen (Greens-EFA, Netherlands). “The prime minister ought to have directly condemned this website,” said Peter van Dalen (ECR, Netherlands), adding, however, that the EP holding a debate on this issue is “too much honour” for Wilders.

Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, who had already condemned the PVV website in February, welcomed the comments made in the plenary chamber. “It is unacceptable that EU citizens become target of xenophobic attitudes because they have exercised their right to move from one state to another,” she said. Reding also called upon on the Dutch authorities to “fully investigate the lawfulness of the website under Dutch law and Union law”.

According to Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE-NGL, France), this is not enough. “You continue to refer to member states and their tribunals but I thought that the Commission was the guardian of the treaties, that freedom of circulation and non-discrimination were part of the European values,” she said. “I notice that certain values are more important than others and that in economic matters when the free circulation of goods and capital is concerned, competition barriers the Commission is prompter to condemn,” added Vergiat.