A new documentary has appeared on YouTube over the past couple of days titled EDL: A Muslim's Journey. Filmed by Muslim activists Asif Abdul Karim and Muhammad Hussein
during The English Defence League's trip to Leicester in February this year, what is presented is a very intriguing and unbiased look into the motives of the self-proclaimed "peaceful, non-racist" organisation.
Karim and Hussein examine the problems behind EDL's own labelling as well as its mission statement, which originally was supposed to target only the Muslim extremists that were responsible for the poppy burnings of 2009. Failing, however, to take responsibility and distance itself from the various racist and fascist goings-on by its members at demos has lead to many people condemning the far-right group and protesting against them.
What's most commendable about this short film is how Karim and Hussein are not hateful towards The EDL and its leader Tommy Robinson; instead, they attempt to get to the bottom of why the group is targeting Islam as a whole, with videos of EDL's offensive chants and violent behaviour included to back up their study.
Both Karim and Hussein come across as very good speakers, without being pretentious. They appear intelligent, but talk common sense, speaking out against extremism on both sides of the argument, whilst expressing their love for the English country they were born in.
The two are actually quite sympathetic towards Robinson for the most part, claiming they'd even shake his hand if he were willing to agree to peace. Saying his hatred is simply down to a lack of education, they expand upon the film's main topic by interviewing a Sikh resident and white pub goer to raise an interesting debate regarding "What is 'English'?"
The overall theme here seems to be inclusivity, with Leicester coming across as an open-armed community, at peace, with very little racist trouble. From my own experience of the city, I must agree entirely, and can only give props to Karim and Hussein for creating such an accurate, and serious, documentary that injects some much-needed positivity into our country's struggles.
(Watch the documentary, for free, here.)
(C) Andy Carrington, 2012.