Kassimeris, George and Jackson, Leonie (2015) The ideology and discourse of the English Defence League: ‘Not racist, not violent, just no longer silent’. British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 17 (1). pp. 171-188. ISSN 1369-1481

The English Defence League (EDL) emerged in 2009 and quickly became a major ‘anti-Islamist’ street protest movement, able to attract thousands to its national demonstrations. Despite the violence and anti-Muslim rhetoric associated with its protests, the group claims to be an anti-racist human rights organisation dedicated to protecting liberal freedoms. This article employs a critical methodology to address these claims, analysing EDL literature alongside strategies identified as typical of racist discourse construction. The representations, narratives and rhetorical strategies used by the group support the analysis of EDL Islamophobia as a form of cultural racism that constructs opposing ‘British’ and ‘Muslim’ subjects and functions to maintain traditional ethno-cultural dominance of the former over the latter.

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