My name is Mark Robertson (mrobbo1971) and I support the English Defence League. This is my rambling story of how I came to this stance and how my opinion slowly formed over a decade or so. First I would like to fill in a little bit of my background.
I grew up in Milton Keynes, an overflow “new town” built in the late 70’s, to relieve congested London. Born into a working class family with two brothers, one older one younger. We went to comprehensive schools, did everyday things and had no political or religious influence from our parents. To this day I have no idea how my parents vote. If I had to make a guess I would say they are middle of the road “average joe’s” possibly labour.
School was ok, I wasn’t a great student but certainly not the worst! I did however enjoy sports and represented my school at cricket and football. I was fairly popular, I had my ups and downs and run in with bullies, as expected at a state comp’ but nothing to write home about.
I left school at 16 with an average education and went to work in a variety of jobs until, at 26, I started driving for a living. This opened my eyes to the rest of Britain and the many different cultures within. Geordies, Scousers, Mancs, Jocks, Welsh etc.. I loved it! Every new area led to a new experience, some were more open and friendly than others and some were just…well odd.
It was at this stage I came into contact with my first Asian community. Up until this time I had had very little contact with Asians other than the few guys I went to school with and the pointless RE school trips to a mosque and a sikh temple. This community was in Bradford and it was like stepping into a different country. It smelled different they dressed differently to any Asian I knew and spoke an entirely different language. I felt like an outsider. However, I reasoned, they weren’t doing me any harm and I never had to live there so good luck to them. I saw a few places like the one in Bradford over the next few years, some were better and some were outright hostile because I had a white face and was in their community. Again I reasoned I don’t have to live here so it doesn’t matter. They lived in Britain so were British right? This opinion remained unchanged for a few more years until september 11 2001
When the World Trade Centre collapsed, after terrorists flew 2 planes into it, killing almost 3000 innocent men and women going about their daily business of work, my first thought was “oh shit, this is gonna cause chaos”. I watched on tv, like millions of others around the globe, with horror and morbid fascination, the pictures of people throwing themselves from windows to escape the intense heat and wondered how someone felt making that choice to hurl themselves out of a window rather than burn to death. My 2nd thought was why? Why would people want to fly planes full of innocents into buildings? Why commit murder on such scale? What had the USA done to deserve this? What reason could justify this atrocious act of mass murder? A lot of people I spoke to said it was because of their foreign policy the way they “policed the world”. I knew little about Americans, other than Hollywood movies and of cause how they (single handedly apparently) had helped win WW2, let alone their governments foreign policy. So I started looking into it a bit. It led me from Korea to Vietnam to opposing global communism to arming despotic middle eastern dictators and mujahideen freedom fighters in Afghanistan. By now I had heard a lot about Osama Bin Laden, through news channels and internet. The man held responsible for the Twin Towers attack. Him and a terrorist organisation called Al’qaeda. I read more about him, where he came from what his motivations were and his reasoning for murder. A lot of his propaganda videos had references to Allah and Islam. This was a deeply religious man I thought. I’m no stranger to religious conflict having grown up in Britain during the IRA bombing campaigns of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, but this guy seemed to on a whole new level.
In 2001 the west, led by USA and Britain, invaded Afghanistan to rid the country of terrorist training camps and depose the Taliban, a fundamentalist islamic political movement. Who can forget the iconic image of a woman being shot in a football stadium and not think this war was just? These people were barbaric. My older brother fought in this war and returned with some true horror stories of what he had seen and been told by locals. The treatment of the population by the Taliban and now insurgents (Jihadists), hoping to retain their barbaric grip on a once beautiful and forward thinking nation. Make no mistake, the taliban were acting under the guise of Islam, the purest and most basic form. Their form of it is the literal meaning of it. Totalitarian in its administration and barbaric and repressive in its practices.
During this period a coalition of countries, spear headed by USA and Britain, invaded Iraq with the mandate to remove Saddam Hussain from power,( in my opinion something that should have been done in the first Gulf war). Once again my brother went to war for his country and once again returned physically safe but again with horror stories of what he had witnessed. IED’s, suicide bombers, women and children used as shields for islamic insurgents (Jihadists), same story as in Afghanistan, same brutality and barbarism.
It was at this time that I started to attempt to read the quran and to watch many videos from Youtube attempting to get an understanding on this religion of Islam. I found many contradictions within, as I’m sure many who have read it would agree, but also an overwhelming sense of hate. Hate towards Jews, hate towards non believers or infidels. The videos I watched of clerics and imams were not much better and ranged from wife beating to advocating murder for homosexuals and world dominance through political Islam.
Shortly after this terrorists came to the streets of London. On the 7th of July 2005 a group of Muslims exploded ruck sack bombs on trains and a bus killing 52 and injuring nearly 800 people on their way to work. The thing with these muslims was that they were not insurgents. They were not foreigners who had slipped through the security net. These were what people were calling “home grown” terrorists. Taught in our own schools, living in our streets, working alongside us in our places of work. Long and extensive investigations were launched, inquiries were set up to find out how and why this happened. The press reported every detail of their lives, names, their education where they practiced their religion how they had they become “radicalised”. How had western raised muslims become Jihadists prepared to maim and kill their own countrymen and women? The answer, in my opinion, is that they did not view England as their country but as a new battle ground for the spread of political Islam. Using violent Jihad as their argument.
Since this attack security forces around the world have worked tirelessly to prevent any more mass murders on the scale of 9/11, 7/7 and the Beslan school massacre. Every nation has had its own troubles with Islamic extremism. Be it riots, murder, or, as most recently being brought to light, sexual grooming gangs specifically targeting non muslims.
Which brings me to the EDL. It was through the EDL that I first learned about these gangs of muslim men, wilfully targeting vulnerable young girls, plying them with drink and drugs and then raping and torturing them for years at a time. Again these men, like the Jihadists, were acting in accordance to their teachings in the quran and hadiths. I watched more videos and read more articles on Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll and realised that underneath the hype and stereotyping from the main stream media (I admit here I was fooled into believing it too) that they actually had valid points. Yes the EDL are a street based protest movement. Yes there are blatant racists amongst the members and yes some are nothing more than football fans looking for a jolly and a punch up. But, there IS an important message too. The more I listened and the more I researched their claims the more I found out were true. There is a very real danger facing the west today in political Islam. Extremists in this country and all over Europe are calling for shariah law to be implemented into western society. Politicians and especially left wing thinkers will say this is not true and its all scare mongering by right wing activists. However these groups such as the EDL would not exist and continue to grow in support if the threat was not real. The EDL was born on the back of Islamic extremists not the other way round.
Earlier this year I joined twitter. Shamefully I admit at first to follow Made in Chelsea! However, before long I started to follow @edltrobinson and others from the EDL. I read their tweets, followed their links and witnessed the abuse they received. Especially to Tommy and his family and the female supporters of EDL, mostly by young muslim males. It wasn’t long before I was retweeting some of the EDL tweets and posting my own observations and links from internet and books I had found through my own research. Many conversations followed with other like minded people, some a lot more knowledgeable than me, some not so much. Muslims too I might add.
On the 20th of July in Birmingham I attended my first rally in open support of the English Defence League. I didn’t know what to expect but judging from what I had seen on youtube from the last time they had held a rally there and talking to others, I was fully prepared to have violence levelled at me for doing so. Violence from the supposed UAF. Unite Against Fascism. A government funded protest group who claim to be anti-fascist and yet who use all fascist tactics in trying to silence any opposition to their alleged moral stance. Lies, intimidation and outright violence are their weapons. Facts and truth are nothing more than an inconvenience. Supporting them are the MDL- Muslim Defence League also a street protest group set up to counter the EDL rallies. These two groups turn out at every EDL rally instigating violence and acting like the fascists they claim to be against.
So, here we are, August 2013 and I am an English Defence League member. Not just someone who agrees with their views but a member. Ready to attend more upcoming rallies regardless of the danger this may put me in. I speak openly on twitter about my opinions and will continue to do so. Someday I hope the government will admit there is something wrong in Islam and some of its teachings and stop ramming their idea of multiculturalism down our throats. Hopefully muslims can reform its teachings much as Christianity did with the New Testament. I live in hope, because without it we have nothing.