There was a strange gathering in the European Parliament on 9 July, in a meeting that was unadvertised, listed simply as “Non Inscrit meeting”. It claimed to be about human rights and free speech, but was populated by hard line Islamaphobes, some of whom were singled out for praise by Anders Breivik.
The meeting echoed with the unreality of Breivik’s beliefs. While Europe suffers under the financial crisis, the speakers had an entirely different view; that Islam and sharia law was the biggest danger the continent faces.
Inside the room was a collection of anti-Islam extremists, including some referred to as ‘mentors’ of Anders Breivik, the mass killer currently on trial for 77 murders, including Ned May, founder of the ‘Gates Of Vienna’ website, cited by Breivik 86 times in his manifesto and Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff who also received the approval of the Norwegian killer and was fined by an Austrian court in February for “denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion.”
Sabaditsch-Wolff gave a speech saying, "When there are enough Muslims living in Europe — and it doesn’t have to be a majority of the population, just somewhere around fifteen or twenty percent — we will be living under Islamic law, and not the laws that presently govern us." She claimed, "Christians and Jews will be driven out or forced to convert to Islam. Atheists and homosexuals will be killed."
She also noted, "The European Union would consider these words to be “hate speech”. Under the Framework Decision, they are classified as “racism and xenophobia”, and we can be prosecuted for saying them."
Another attendee keeps an updated webpage of the writings of Peder Jensen, better known as Fjordman, whose belief that Muslims were secretly planning to take over Europe inspired Breivik, who quoted him 111 times in his manifesto.
Also present was Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who uses the name of a football hooligan Tommy Robinson as a pseudonym. Yaxley-Lennon, best known as leader of the English Defence League, 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.
The EDL head looked sweaty and nervous as he gave a speech to the audience, where he played down his criminal record and made a series of lurid claims, including alleging that Muslims had “beaten and drove out of town” Luton’s Jewish population, adding, “There’s not one Jew left in Luton.” This news will come as a surprise to the thriving Luton Hebrew Congregation, who opened a new synagogue in 2010.
He finished his address by saying to loud applause, “The truth is that Islam is a fascist, backward ideology.”
Another speaker described how "The pansy left are auditioning to be the Muslim's prison bitch" 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."
The speakers claim that they do not support violence, but the EDL Leader has a long record of convictions for violence. Indeed, it was only the previous week that Bernard Holmes, a ‘Commander’ of the English Defence League and two others were imprisoned for “racially aggravated public order offences” after besieging the house of Sajjad Karim MEP, in a protest over the labeling of halal meat, with 40 others. During their rampage, an Asian man was beaten and another run down by an EDL supporter’s car.
Questions are being asked of parliamentary authorities on how, a week after the sentences were handed down, the leader of the EDL could be invited to speak in the European Parliament.
Sajjad Karim told New Europe how he felt after learning the EDL head was speaking in the parliament. "A sense of outrage that someone who represents the view of a minority, albeit a loud and violent extremist ideology can access a house which is built on fundamental values of tolerance to preach his message of hatred and division, is something that I and all right thinking European citizens find absolutely repulsive and I am calling on the President of the European Parliament to carry out an investigation to how these people can walk around our corridors with a message of hate.”
Karim continues, “There are elected MEPs who hold the same views, who encourage violence and it’s a great shame. In my constituency we have Nick Griffin and, as David Cameron has made absolutely clear, we are going to do everything we can in the next European elections to make sure he is no longer an MEP.”
The British deputy also noted the secretive nature of the meeting, “You have these people coming in, in effect, in the cover of the night, to a parliament that is open and transparent public arenas and for any meeting to take place in a clandestine manner should raise concerns about what it is that had to be kept hidden from the public, MEPs and the parliament authorities.”
Richard Howitt MEP, was scathing about the meeting, telling New Europe, "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.”
He adds, “This was a rag bag of known fringe people who hold extremely dangerous views and we should do all we can to prevent them having a platform in the European Parliament.”
"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."
Tommy Robinson responded by leaving an anti-Islam leaflet on Howitt’s office door, which some may see as a further propensity to harass deputies. He also left a note for the deputy in his mailbox saying, “You spineless coward, Love Tommy!”
Howitt responded by saying, “He’s a self publicist,” and described Yaxley-Lennon’s messages as “purile”.
Nick Lowles of Hope Not Hate, an organisation that campaigns against extremism said, "It is scandalous that a convicted thug and racist like Stephen Lennon can address a anti-Muslim meeting in the European Parliament. He went to prison for attacking a police officer. He leads an organisation whose supporters openly applaud the actions of Anders Breivik and have been involved in many violent racist assaults.
"We should know who invited Lennon into the building, whether he was admitted using a false name and who he met. Those MEPs who welcomed him have now aligned themselves to the politics and violence of the English Defence League. Shame on them."