Why anti-extremist intervention so important in Britain

Nick Lowles, the editor of anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, and tireless organiser of the Hope Not Hate campaign to oppose the BNP, has made an important stand this week that could mark a watershed in the fight against extremism in Britain.

By publishing a blog condemning the Islamist thugs of Muslims Against Crusades, who called last Thursday for the formation of a Muslim Waffen SS division, he has identified the common politics of the Islamic extreme right and the Islamophobic English Defence League.

Though they may oppose each other on the streets, don't be fooled. These two organisations are cut from the same cloth. As Mr Lowles says: "A plague on both their houses."

For too long, liberal Britain has been shy of aligning the totalitarian politics of the Islamists with the more traditional sectarianism of the nationalist right in the UK. This is why this intervention is so important.

These two groups are cut from the same cloth

Searchlight is an exemplary organisation with a long pedigree of fighting racism. It worked hard to draw in moderate Muslims to kick the BNP out of Barking. Its integrity is beyond question and only a fool would accuse it of
Islamophobia.

By moving Searchlight onto this new territory in the battle against extremism, Mr Lowles will inevitably attract criticism. But he should be saluted for his courage. Such leadership is not common in these times.

As we report, Searchlight is launching a thinktank to investigate the rise of the English Defence League. They should be given all the help and solidarity we can muster.

Then perhaps it will be possible to move on to the next phase of the campaign against extremism and set up a campaigning group with the organising power of Searchlight to monitor the totalitarian Islamists, who represent the ideological flipside of the same debased coin.

Last updated: 3:46pm, November 18 2010