Sweden "counter-jihad" rally outnumbered by anti-racists

STOCKHOLM Sat Aug 4, 2012 2:13pm EDT

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - A Stockholm rally by European and U.S. far-right groups seeking to create a global "counter-jihad" movement attracted fewer than 200 people on Saturday who were outnumbered by anti-racist protesters.

Police said the rival demonstration was kept apart from the far-right rally and drew a few hundred people, a small number of whom were detained.

The far-right rally was organized by groups including the English Defence League (EDL) which has been a driving force behind a handful of similar events, most recently a Danish rally in March.

The EDL gained international attention through anti-Islamic fanatic Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway a year ago and who referred to it admiringly in a manifesto on the Internet. The group has denied links to Breivik.

Support has grown in European countries for populist, nationalist and anti-immigration movements and in Sweden the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats won seats in parliament for the first time in 2010.

However, previous attempts by European far-right groups to join forces have foundered amid splits and feuding over ideology and leadership.

Nottingham University's Matthew Goodwin, an expert on British far-right militant groups, said the Stockholm meeting was of strategic importance despite the modest turnout.

"The attending are quite significant figures within the anti-jihad movement. It signifies the strengthening links between counter-jihad groups and anti-Muslim groups within Europe and the United States," he said.

EDL leader Stephen Lennon, who also calls himself Tommy Robinson and who founded the group three years ago, said the meeting was about sharing resources and coordinating strategies. {ID:nL6E8FK5XL]

"It's about sharing ideology, sharing resources, work together in any way we can over the next 12 months in order to highlight the truth, the truth about Islam," he told Reuters on the sidelines of the Stockholm rally.

Pamela Geller, a leader of groups Stop Islamization of Nations and Stop Islamization of America, said the movement was planning to hold a conference in New York on September 11.

"It's very important that it goes global because what we are fighting is a global ideology," she said.

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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Comments (6)
JapanViewer wrote:
The few numbers that showed up at these rallies don’t truly reflect the number of supporters and sympathizers they have, as many stay away from public demonstrations for fear being labeled as a racist, or retribution by Muslims. But many people across Europe and the US share these very views on Islam, hence this rally was actually a success.
To counter these views on Islam, Muslims and their religious leaders should be out demonstrating and repudiating terror being perpetrated in the name of Islam, without making exceptions in who the terror is being done to. Terror and murder in the name of Islam is abhorrent and people have had enough of that.

Aug 04, 2012 3:21pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
JapanViewer wrote:
The few numbers that showed up at these rallies don’t truly reflect the number of supporters and sympathizers they have, as many stay away from public demonstrations for fear being labeled as a racist, or retribution by Muslims. But many people across Europe and the US share these very views on Islam, hence this rally was actually a success.
To counter these views on Islam, Muslims and their religious leaders should be out demonstrating and repudiating terror being perpetrated in the name of Islam, without making exceptions on whom the terror is being done to. Terror and murder in the name of Islam is abhorrent and people have had enough of that.

Aug 04, 2012 3:26pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
onemind wrote:
which side ate chicken sandwiches?

Aug 04, 2012 5:16pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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