From the Reuters news report:
“The first worldwide counter-jihad initiative will begin August 4 with the First Annual Global Counter Jihad rally in Stockholm, Sweden. Representatives from Stop Islamization of Nations (SION), Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE), the English Defence League (EDL), and allied groups will speak.
“The Global Counter Jihad rally will feature the president of SION and executive director of SIOA, Pamela Geller, as well as SION Vice President and SIOA associate director Robert Spencer. Also speaking will be the EDL's Tommy Robinson, SIOE's Anders Gravers, and other worldwide leaders from official Stop Islamization and Defence League groups.
“"The conference," said Geller in a statement, "heralds the launch of a worldwide counter jihad alliance. Freedom fighters from Europe and America, as well as India, Israel, and other areas threatened by jihad, will at last be working together and forming a common defense of freedom and human rights."
“Stockholm was chosen for the Global Counter Jihad rally because of the actions of an Iraqi-born Swedish citizen, Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, who travelled to central Stockholm on December 11, 2010 in order to commit mass murder in revenge for Sweden's "silence" over cartoons of Islam's founder and the presence of Swedish troops in Afghanistan. Al-Abdaly succeeded only in killing himself, but his jihad plot is particularly noteworthy because he turned to jihad violence and hatred in England, at the Luton Islamic Centre.
“EDL leader Tommy Robinson explained in a statement: "We are ashamed that the people of Stockholm had to suffer the horror of a terrorist attack in their city because we as a country have been unable to even truly acknowledge the extent of the threat posed by Islamic extremism, let alone combat it. We have a responsibility to ensure that our country can never again be the birthplace for terrorism. We owe that much to the people of Stockholm, to our friends in Europe and across the world, and to our children. This is why the English Defence League will be attending the First Annual Global Counter Jihad rally in Stockholm on August 4, along with Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and Anders Gravers."
“Robinson added: "We must also look at the other forms of extremism commonly associated with Islam, including but not limited to the oppression of Muslim women, the predominance of Muslim men in child grooming cases, and the seditious ideology of Sharia Law. Of course, we must always be careful to distinguish fair-minded criticism from simple prejudice. But that does not mean that we should equate disdain for Islam as an ideology (both political and theological) with hatred of individual Muslims. It is certainly true that there many decent Muslims – no one is questioning that. But that does not mean that the problems that give root to Islamic extremists can be understood in isolation from mainstream Islamic thought or practice."”
Robinson’s statement is interesting for the references made to the Rochdale sex grooming trial, the “oppression of Muslim women,” and the “seditious ideology of Sharia Law.” Issues which have all attracted prodigious media attention. And given the kind of media coverage these issues have received, perhaps it’s not all that surprising that Robinson should hold such opinions on these matters.
More worrying is his contention that “the problems that give root to Islamic extremists can [not] be understood in isolation from mainstream Islamic thought or practice.” Reports, like the Home Affairs select committee report on the Roots of Violent Radicalisation and the Communities and Local Government inquiry report on Prevent , have been clear that politics and not religion were largely the motivating factors in acts of terrorism committed in recent years. Still, why let little things like the facts stand in the way of Robinson sharing a platform with his fellow Islamophobes.