Four teens arrested for Islamic school fire in apparent Woolwich murder fallout
The fire, which caused only minor damage and injuries, is just the latest in a spate of anti-Muslim incidents in Britain that have followed the May 22 killing of soldier Lee Rigby.
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According to Bloomberg, the frequency of anti-Muslim incidents in Britain has multiplied at an alarming rate since Rigby’s death, jumping from an average of four to six to as high as 26 per day. In that time, 12 mosques have been attacked.Skip to next paragraph
Jeremy Ravinsky is an intern at the Christian Science Monitor's international desk. Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, Jeremy has lived in Boston for a number of years, attending Tufts University where he is a political science major. Before coming to the Monitor, Jeremy interned at GlobalPost in Boston and Bturn.com in Belgrade, Serbia.
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And the Rigby murder appears to have given new life to Britain's right-wing groups, which had previously been in decline. The British National Party (BNP), long-standing far-right party, failed to find support outside the political fringes and has been mired by inner turmoil for several years now. The EDL, which has focused on street activism rather than fielding political candidates, was also on the decline.
But as The Christian Science Monitor wrote last week, the Woolwich incident has reinvigorated anti-Muslim sentiment and brought new attention to the EDL:
The [EDL] – a street protest movement which has drawn its support from the ranks of veteran far right activists, football hooligans, and others – has held protests around the country, including one that descended into clashes with riot police on the night of the May 22 killing of Drummer Lee Rigby, as well as a demonstration that mustered more than 1,000 close to the gates of Downing Street the following week.
Ghe EDL's recent surge in support, however, appears unlikely to last. Though the group claims to have 34,000 members on its website, it has not been able to mobilize the number of supporters as it could at the peak of its popularity. As Daniel Trilling, an expert on the British far-right, told The Christian Science Monitor:
“[The EDL’s] strength – a narrow focus on Islam, loose organizing via football hooligan networks and social media, which allows it to assemble numbers at short notice – is also its weakness. The various political tendencies – neo-Nazis, hardcore racists, conspiracy theorists, angry young men and women – frequently fall out and fight with one another.”
Still, the recent attacks have prompted pleas for people to push back against such violence.
“We are part of the British community and are deeply saddened by the events that have taken place and urge the community to stay firm and united in bringing the people responsible to justice,” Saiyed Mahmood, an adviser to the Darul Uloom School, told the Guardian. “The community at large have to come together for a safe a[nd] peaceful life in Britain."