'It seems now that America and Europe are acting as one, and united we can never fail'
The tea party movement is forging links with the English Defence League, a nascent anti-Islamic movement in Great Britain that has made a habit of rioting in Muslim neighborhoods, says a report at the Observer.
The news comes a day after the EDL clashed with anti-fascist protesters in the city of Leicester, which has a large Muslim population. Eight people were arrested in those clashes. It is part of a pattern of behavior for the EDL, which has in the past burned Korans and carried signs declaring "We hate Muslims."
The Observer reports that the EDL has forged an alliance with Pamela Geller, one of the leaders of the movement to stop the so-called "Ground Zero mosque."
The Observer quotes Geller's blog as declaring, "I share the EDL's goals … We need to encourage rational, reasonable groups that oppose the Islamization of the west."
"Geller is acting as the bridge between the EDL and the tea party," Devin Burghart of the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights in Kansas told the Observer. "She plays an important role in bringing Islamophobia into the tea party. Her stature has increased substantially inside the tea party ranks after the Ground Zero mosque controversy. She has gained a lot of credibility with that stuff."
Additionally, the EDL has invited an anti-Islamic rabbi, Machum Schifren, to speak to the EDL in London about sharia law this month. Schifren, who is mounting a campaign for California state Senate, has been described as "a West Bank Settler, a teacher in the Los Angeles educational system and a surfer."
The "surfing rabbi," as he calls himself on his Web site, is urging the Jewish community to join forces with the EDL.
"The Jewish community is paralyzed with fear, exactly what most radical Muslim agitators want," he said, as quoted at the Observer. "The people of England are in the forefront of this war – and it is a war. One of the purposes of this visit is to put the kibosh on the notion in the Jewish community that they cannot co-operate with the EDL, which is rubbish."
In an opinion column earlier this year, Rabbi Schifren argued that Muslim students protesting Islamophobia "are the front line of an army of Muslims that is waiting patiently to take over and subvert our country."
He seemingly also argued in favor of censorship of academic debate, declaring, "This will be a hard bullet for America to bite, but we are at war with Islam! Those who deny this are quislings or fifth-columnists — and very often, university professors and chancellors. With strong leadership, there would be no notions of 'academic freedom' for those who come here to subvert and destroy."
The Observer also reports on growing cooperation between the EDL and the tea party movement in the online world:
[T]wo members of the EDL leadership, a British businessman called Alan Lake who is believed to fund the group and a man known by the alias Kinana, are regular contributors to web forum 4Freedoms. The forum claims to be "organising US activities" and has links to the anti-jihad group, American Congress for Truth, which in turn has supporters within the Tea Party.
Lake is also believed to have been in touch with a number of anti-Islamic Christian evangelical groups in the US. One posting by Lake on 4Freedoms warns that the UK of the future will start to fragment into Islamic enclaves. Lake, believed to be a principal bankroller of the EDL, which claims to be a peaceful, non-racist organisation, is understood to be keen on the possibility of setting up the UK equivalent of the Tea Party....
Another Tea Party-associated grouping, the International Civil Liberties Alliance, which campaigns against Sharia law, confirmed that EDL leaders have made "contacts with members of important organisations within the American counter-jihad movement". A statement said: "It seems now that America and Europe are acting as one, and united we can never fail."