Anti-Islam movement PEGIDA launches new UK branch

Anti-Islam movement PEGIDA officially launches new branch in city of Bedfordshire in UK on the initiative of former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Supporters of anti-immigration right-wing movement PEGIDA protest in Cologne

Updated Jan 25, 2016

Germany based anti-Islam group PEGIDA has officially launched a new branch in the city of Bedfordshire in England to campaign against the so-called "Islamisation of Europe."

The launch of PEGIDA UK was announced by Tommy Robinson who was a former leader of the English Defence League.

The right wing PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West) movement based in Dresden, Germany, also has branches in Norway, Sweden and Spain.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called the organisation a hate group.

Robinson said that Paul Weston will take a leading position in the movement and anti-EU United Kingdom Independence Party candidate and Sharia Watch chairwoman Anne Marie Waters will support him as senior manager.

The group claims that Britain’s political process does not represent the people of the country.

However, Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, said in a video released by the group on Facebook that he was against Islam but is not a racist, adding that some genuine far-right organisations in England hate him.

“I’m known as a Zionist and a race traitor because I’m actually not opposed to black people, I’m not opposed to immigrants - I’m opposed to Islam as a fascist ideology," he said.

The new branch of the group came under fire in December from campaigners and some UK parties including Labour, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats after it announced its first rally was set to be held in Birmingham.

The local authority in Birmingham said it would oppose the event. The council leaders said in a statement that the planned launch of a new group in Birmingham was rejected by the council.

"Brummies do not subscribe to ideas based on prejudice, intolerance and hate," said the statement.

TRTWorld and agencies