Category: EDL News Published on Monday, 27 August 2012 14:24 Written by John Jones Hits: 1961
Back in July, EDL Leader Tommy Robinson spoke at the European Parliament as part of The International Conference For Free Speech And Human Rights.
The response from Labour MEP Richard Howitt was nothing short of hysterical. The facilities had been 'hijacked', he claimed, by 'the far right' and 'racists'.
So what was on the agenda? Race-hatred, social exclusion and authoritarian attacks on freedom of speech? Hardly. Instead, the meeting was largely concerned with the launch of 'The Brussels Process', an initiative designed to protect Free Speech and Civil Liberties and to uphold the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. You can read more about The Brussels Process here.
Clearly, none of the attendees, who included the founder of the Danish Free Press Society and the International Free Press Society, Lars Hedegaard, and the popular political commentator Mark Steyn, were in any way 'far right' or 'racist'.
But this didn't stop Mr Howitt. "These people should not have been allowed to use parliament to spout their hatred to hard-line supporters and to openly fundraise", he says in this hideously biased piece of reporting.
What follows is a full refutation from the chairman of the International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA), the organisation that sponsored the meeting. It is reproduced with permission, and the original can be read here.
But it's also worth remembering who it is that is making such offensive and baseless accusations.
We've had run-ins with Mr Howitt before. His response to Luton becoming known as a hotbed for Islamic extremism was to accuse his critics of racism and call a 'crisis meeting' to deal not with the extremists who continue to give Luton a bad name, but with the EDL.
No wonder he's spoken at events for the extremist-linked UAF - the same organisation that puts so much effort into misrepresenting our cause and disrupting our peaceful demonstrations.
But last month the 'Hurry Up Harry' blog did a little more digging on Mr Howitt. Turns out he has a record of speaking at events organised by known racists and terrorist supporters (including fundraisers for the genocidal terrorist organisation Hamas).
Oh dear Mr Howitt - no wonder you're so keen to portray other people as racists.
Race hate Mr Howitt?
Open Letter to Mr Richard Howitt MEP Regarding Allegations About The International Conference for Free Speech and Human Rights Organised In European Parliament By The International Civil Liberties Alliance
Dear Mr Howitt,
On 9th July 2012 you made a formal complaint to the President of the European Parliament that the First international Conference for Free Speech and Human Rights organised by the International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA), “openly promoted race hate.” I am writing to you as the Chairman of ICLA, and I invite you to review ICLA’s website at www.libertiesalliance.org, a widely-cited resource for information on the legal conflicts between Sharia doctrine and human rights and civil liberties. I recommend to you the text of speeches from the 2012 conference as well as speeches from earlier conferences back to 2007; I think your views would be more informed by reading as well the testimony ICLA has presented in previous years at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Numerous NGOs working for human rights find our resources useful, and if you ever decide in the future to support human rights yourself, we hope that the website will be helpful to you too.
As to your statement (reported in the article here: http://labourlist.org/2012/07/edls-knock-on-the-door-for-all-of-us/ ) that the conference “openly promoted race hate,” I would caution you against abusing the privileges and potentially violating the ethical code of your official position by making a statement that is untrue and in itself inflammatory. You state in your article that you asked your parliamentary researcher to listen to the discussion. Did he stay through the whole day-long conference? We regret that you did not attend yourself even for five minutes; we would have welcomed the opportunity to answer any questions. However, at http://www.libertiesalliance.org/ you may read the speeches, and in many cases view the videos, of the 19 speakers to review what was said at the conference – including the actual speech of the vice-chairman of British Freedom, Mr Robinson.
Any reasonable person will find them both unobjectionable and in fact very worthwhile, because the main topic of the conference was the defence of free speech against the censorship efforts of the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation).
The British government has similarly defended free speech for years in the UN, against the OIC’s efforts to impose Sharia blasphemy laws. Do you find these policies of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and now David Cameron also to “openly promote race hate” by their principled defence of free speech?
Your “researcher” also regrettably missed the foremost achievement of this meeting: the reading of the Brussels Declaration which launched the Brussels Process, an international initiative to protect Free Speech and Civil Liberties from being curtailed under enforcement of Sharia doctrines. The Brussels Process, as guidance to government policy, will help protect the rights of religious minorities of ALL races and national origins, as it promotes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Had you or your researcher attended and properly noted the actual content of the conference, you would have heard from the speaker Sabatina James, originally from Pakistan, telling her story of forced marriage and death threats under Sharia. You would have heard Prof. Dr. Hans Jansen, an internationally known academic expert on Islam, speaking of legal aspects of Sharia rules and their conflict with Western legal codes. You would have heard the testimony of Magdi Allam, the Italian member of the European Parliament, an international human rights leader originally from Egypt. You would also have heard Jean Maher, a leader of the Coptic community in France. We urge you to review these and other presentations from the conference, in order to become knowledgeable at some basic level on the conflicts between Sharia doctrine and human rights. It is in everyone’s interest, particularly your own and that of your researcher, that you acquaint yourself with factual knowledge on an issue of daily importance to your constituents, so that your office refrains from making any more unethical and unfounded accusations in the future.
Furthermore, one of your accusations not only lacked evidence but misrepresented facts to the European Parliament: your statement that the EDL sold their books for EDL fundraising. There were books available for purchase, offered at a special reduced rate: a number of Pilcrow Press volumes authored by Sam Solomon, a former Muslim jurist who is now a British barrister, that provide meticulously cited information on Sharia doctrine. Any proceeds went to reimburse a portion of the actual costs for the books and shipping, and not for fundraising. Your office could have verified the facts about the books immediately, through your representative at the conference; instead, and behaving in a manner abhorrent to what is proper given your station and responsibilities, you either were negligent in confirming the facts or chose to misrepresent them. We recommend these excellent short books as a remedial education initiative for both yourself and your researcher, they can be purchased here: http://pilcrowpress.com/ .
At ICLA, we want to engage your office in a constructive dialogue. Everyone can from time to time have an embarrassing moment; we can understand that. The International Civil Liberties Alliance presents you here with an opportunity to review and to sign our Brussels Declaration (which follows), by this symbolic act to reaffirm your support for Free Speech and Human Rights, cornerstones of all democracies.
We look forward to your prompt response. In the meantime, we shall deliver to your office a beginner’s set of books by Mr. Solomon to help you and your researcher get started in learning about the conflict between Sharia doctrine and western and UN definitions of human rights. We’re here to help!
Alain Wagner, ICLA Chairman