December 20 2013 Latest news:
Lorraine King, News editor
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
An organisation co-founded by a candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn has announced it is working with two leaders of English Defence League who are to
leave the group.
Quilliam, a counter-extremism think-tank, established by Maajid Nawaz, is to help Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll move away from the far-right group.
They have decided to leave because they can no longer keep extremist elements at bay is is claimed.
Mr Nawaz is a former Muslim radical and author who was selected as the Liberal Democrat’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the current Labour seat in July.
Quilliam is calling for other EDL members to follow in Mr Robinson and Mr Carroll’s footsteps, and for Islamist extremist leaders to also leave their respective groups.
The EDL, started in response to a demonstration by Muslim extremists as soldiers marched through Luton in 2009, has become infamous for street protests across the country, often resulting in violence as its members clashed with opposing groups such as Unite Against Fascism.
But today Mr Robinson was said to have declared that the street demonstrations are no longer productive.
In a statement issued by Quilliam announcing his and Mr Carroll’s departure from the group, he was quoted as saying: “I have been considering this move for a long time because I recognise that, though street demonstrations have brought us to this point, they are no longer productive.
“I acknowledge the dangers of far-right extremism and the ongoing need to counter Islamist ideology not with violence but with better, democratic ideas.”
Quilliam said the move could reduce both far-right extremism and Islamism, and called it a “positive change for the United Kingdom”.
Mr Nawaz said: “As well as being a very positive change for the United Kingdom, this is a very proud moment for Quilliam.
“This represents not a change but a continuation for us, as challenging extremism of all kinds forms the basis of our work.
“We have been able to show that Britain stands together against extremism regardless of political views and hope to continue supporting Tommy and Kevin in their journey to counter Islamism and neo-Nazi extremism.”
Quilliam will be hosting a press conference for Mr Robinson and Mr Caroll at an “undisclosed location” this evening.