Mohammed cartoon exhibition designed to spark race war, say anti-fascists
In a 32-page dossier published on Monday, anti-fascist campaigners Hope Not Hate condemned the planned exhibition featuring cartoons of the Muslim prophet scheduled to take place on September 18 at unknown central London venue. High-profile right-wing figures are likely to attend.
Hope Not Hate argue organizers hope the event will draw out Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) sleeper cells, then spark a violent backlash against British Muslims, including from former soldiers.
“Some simply want to provoke a violent reaction from Muslims in order to present them in a negative and intolerant light,” Hope Not Hate Chief Executive Nick Knowles, who fronted the report, told the Morning Star newspaper.
“Others hope the cartoons will spark a series of tit-for-tat violence that will ultimately lead to civil war.”
The exhibition was first announced by Sharia Watch, which is fronted by UKIP 2015 general election candidate Anne Marie Waters.
Waters met with other figures of the far-right including EDL founder Tommy Robinson, also known as Stephen Lennon, and Britain First founder Jim Dowson, according to Hope Not Hate.
Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who has been banned from the UK in the past because of his outspoken anti-Muslim views, is also said to have been invited.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Home Office confirmed it has the “power to exclude non-British nationals from the UK.
“The government makes no apologies for refusing people access to the UK if we believe they present a threat to our society,” they said.
Among the organizations putting their name to the exhibition is Vive Charlie, a broad alliance of right-wing ‘counter-jihadists’, whose name references the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
Among Vive Charlie’s supporters is controversial Sun newspaper columnist and television commentator Katie Hopkins.
The Hope Not Hate report also suggests Tommy Robinson, who is currently in prison, had hoped the exhibition would draw out violent Islamist sleeper cells, resulting in an ethnic war in which former soldiers would avenge to the deaths of innocent British civilians.
“This report is more than just an exposé of attempts to use the cartoons to incite a violent reaction,” Knowles told the Morning Star.
“It is about a group of political extremists, as dangerous as the Islamists they claim to dislike, who are seeking to bring society to its knees and drive Muslims out of Europe through fear, violence and murder.”
Responding to Hope not Hate’s claims that Britain First founder Jim Dowson met with the exhibition organizers – under a section of the report headed ‘the exhibition organizers’ – the mosque-invading group’s chairman Paul Golding tried to distance his organization from the event.
“Britain First is not involved in any way, shape or form and has indeed condemned the whole scheme recently,” he told RT in an email.
In an accompanying press release originally published on July 10, the group said: “Britain First condemns and distances itself from this plot completely and unequivocally and we are publishing this statement in order to ensure that we are not implicated in this malevolent scheme.”