Anti-Islamic rally in Denmark_370.
(photo credit: Fabian Bimmer/Reuters)
A long-planned gathering of far rightwing movements from across Europe met in
Denmark on Saturday to try to form a pan-European anti-Islamist alliance, a
project that will test the cohesion of a fringe trying to build support built on
fears about immigration and militant Islamists.
Members of European
far-right groups, including the English Defense League (EDL) and the German
Defense League, arrived in the Danish city of Aaruhus for the rally, which was
expected to draw anti- Islamic crowds from Russia, Finland, France, Germany,
Norway, Poland, Romania and Sweden, according to the Guardian.
meeting, eight months after anti- Islam fanatic Anders Behring Breivik killed 77
people in Norway, tested whether these groups are recovering from the political
blow Breivik dealt them, and whether they can coordinate
Their detractors say these fringe groups, with members
often associated with violent incidents, are racists seeking to latch on to
tensions over immigration in Europe.
“We’re not expecting big numbers in
Aarhus,” Stephen Lennon, the head of the EDL, one of the biggest groups behind
the gathering, told Reuters, adding that a few hundred people would attend. “We
hope it will be the start of a European movement that will continue to
The EDL, which claims to have thousands of members, says its
mission is “to protect the inalienable rights of all people to protest against
radical Islam’s encroachment into the lives of non-Muslims.”
Knoope, director of the Netherlands- based International Center for
Counter-Terrorism, said the murders in France by al-Qaida-inspired gunman
Muhammed Merah “will be exploited in terms of propaganda... What they [the
rightists] are trying to do is to influence the political arena.”
Mayor Jacob Bundsgaard said last week that extremists were not welcome in
“Let them come, and let them go away again without much ado,” the
quoted him as saying.