The English Defence League, a far-right grouping aimed at combating the “Islamification” of British cities, has developed strong links with the American Tea Party movement.
An Observer investigation has established that the EDL has made contact with anti-jihad groups within the Tea Party organisation and has invited a senior US rabbi and Tea Party activist to London this month. Rabbi Nachum Shifren, a regular speaker at Tea Party conventions, will speak about Sharia law and also discuss funding issues.
The league has also developed links with Pamela Geller, who was influential in the protests against plans to build an Islamic cultural centre near Ground Zero. Geller, darling of the Tea Party’s growing anti-Islamic wing, is advocating an alliance with the EDL. The executive director of the Stop Islamisation of America organisation, she recently met EDL leaders in New York and has defended the group’s actions, despite a recent violent march in Bradford.
Geller, who denies being anti-Muslim, said in one of her blogs: “I share the EDL’s goals… We need to encourage rational, reasonable groups that oppose the Islamisation of the west.”