Recently there has been much debate concerning the trajectory and longevity of the ‘counter jihad’/far right movement in the United Kingdom. With political parties like the British National Party (BNP) and British Freedom Party (BFP) scraping by with only minimal support, and alleged rifts and schisms within the street movements, many commentators theorise that the threat of the Right is subsiding. However, others believe that the splintering of groups such as the English Defence League (into Infidels, Casuals, and Combined Ex-Forces amongst others), does not signify the end of the far right, but instead indicates a dangerous move towards more extreme beliefs as the breakaway groups are not confined by social constraints or the need for mainstream ‘acceptance’.
The emergence of new far right groups supports the latter theory, (although most have folded as quickly as they have been created). One of the newest organisations is the English Volunteer Force (EVF) – a group that stands ‘against militant Islam, against Republican terror, against extreme-Left’. The group’s Mission Statement provides a summary of their ideology:
“Whilst we stand against Militant Islam, We do however feel militancy is deeply embedded in Islam as a whole, Within their ideology and in the way practicing Muslims conduct their lives and by the way the vast majority choose to not integrate with our core values. One reason we are fully against the construction of any more mosques in this country is due to the hatred being preached in the vast majority of them. We would like to see an instant block to all Islamic immigration to England and Great Britain as we see their way of life a direct threat to ours, This being at least until there is some sort of legal motion requiring full integration into our way of life embracing our values. We are against the inclusion of Turkey into the E.U as this will further open the floodgates for mass Muslim immigration into the UK and would like to see the UK leave the corrupt E.U as soon as possible.” [sic]
The EVF is still in its infancy and has yet to hold its first demonstration, but its website has received over 14,500 views in four months so I contacted the group’s founder – a man known as John Sheridan – for their first ever interview to try and find out a bit more about the fledgling group.
Q. How big is your organisation?
A. EVF was founded in late July 2012. We have a small hard-core but to this date haven’t actually done anything so this is a very hard question to answer. We have 700 Facebook likes, 14000+ web hits, and we have divisions in many parts of the country – we refer to these as ‘units’ as division means divide. I would put our active numbers at 75 – very small at time of writing but we expect rapid growth after our initial demonstration in 2013.
Q. What are your key aims?
A. Our aims are to highlight what we believe is the “Islamification of Great Britain”. We will evolve our methods as and when needed. To begin we will be staging some static demonstrations and some flash demonstrations. We plan on using a more “direct” method than other groups have used in the past. We also aim to stand staunchly with our brothers in Ulster against any renewal of republican militism.
Q. What sets you apart from other street movement organisations such as the English Defence League (EDL)/Casuals etc?
A. As one of the founder members of the English Defence League I think I can identify the areas where they went wrong in terms of rapid membership loss. We are aligned to the Loyalists of Northern Ireland whereas EDL were officially neutral. We don’t preach pro-Jewish, pro-Israeli propaganda as we are concerned about England and Great Britain and although it’s natural to have an opinion regarding other countries affairs, we like to concentrate on ourselves and the major issues facing us. Also we will not impose codes of conduct on our members as I strongly believe it’s morally wrong to tell someone how to act when facing an enemy that is prepared to cut your head off!
Q. What is your racial and religious demographic?
A. As of yet we only have white British members. This is not because we have any rules regarding who can and cannot join – all are welcome as long as you are against militant Islam and the Islamification of Great Britain.
Q. Do you have any religious elements (e.g. Do you refer to yourselves as a Christian organisation/use religious symbolism or language)?
A. As a group we are non-religious affiliated, although we are staunchly loyalist to the protestant community of Northern Ireland. We identify our struggle against militant Islam/Islam as being similar to the fight against Republican extremists/terrorists.
Q. What is your preferred method of protest?
A. Highly disruptive flash demonstrations (nonviolent) are our preferred method.
Q. How do you decide who controls the regional divisions’ decisions and actions – what is you command structure like?
A. We don’t have regional organisers. One of the main downfalls of previous counter-jihad organisations has been the passing down of instructions to power-crazed idiots that stir up trouble and cause division to enlarge their own power base. We have an Inner Council that communicates regularly and passes down instruction to each individual unit.
Q. Do you have any European/International links?
A. We are friends with Freedom Fighter Radio USA, Michigan Militia USA, Stop the Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) Bulgaria. We welcome new alliances and are happy to work with anyone that stands against Militant Islam.
Q. What do you think England will look like in 10 years if nothing changes?
A. Karachi, Pakistan.
Q. How would you like Britain to look in an ideal world/what needs changing?
A. A safe patriotic nation full of citizens that actually want to be here, fully integrated (as should all countries be). Live under British law and not try to impose Sharia, not allow hate preachers that want us dead and burn our poppies to flourish, demand our school nativity plays are cancelled, demand they have their own halal meat in schools etc. This behaviour is unacceptable.
Q. Do you have any political aspirations (e.g. Similarly to how the EDL is linked to the British Freedom Party?)
A. NO, it’s up to the individual.
Q. How do you see/hope to see your organisation developing over the next few years?
A. We see our group emulating the early success of the English Defence League, We expect to have 3000 supporters by 2014 and by listening to supporters’ views/concerns we aim to appease their concerns and tackle the issue of Militant Islam in the UK and the general Islamification of our country head on.