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HOPE not hate releases report on bigotry behind upcoming cartoon exhibit

Imagine2050 Staff • Jul 28, 2015
Photo credit: HOPE not hate

A new report details plans by anti-Muslim activists in the United Kingdom to “incite a violent backlash from British Muslims, leading to serious disorder between Muslim and non-Muslim communities.”

On July 27, the UK-based organization HOPE not hate released a report detailing plans for an incendiary cartoon exhibit featuring Muhammad that is scheduled to take place on September 18 in central London.

“This is not a case of ‘free speech’ but incitement,” the report states.

In the report, titled The Muhammad Cartoons: The Counter-Jihadist Plot To Ignite A Civil War In Britain, HOPE not hate presents evidence demonstrating that while the event is being advertised as a legitimate affair to celebrate free speech, the event’s planners have far more sinister motives.

The true intentions of the rally came to light as a result of investigative research conducted by HOPE not hate. According to the report, the information put forth was derived from the events organizers’ own words, writings, and meetings.

“Some want to simply provoke a violent reaction from Muslims in order to present them in a negative and intolerant light,” the report says.

“Others hope the cartoons will spark a series of tit-for-tat violence that will ultimately lead to civil war.”

To that end, the report reveals and profiles the UK-based anti-Muslim activists behind the event. Some activists have ties to the notorious anti-Muslim street movement the English Defence League (EDL), including the EDL’s former leader Stephen Lennon, who goes by the pseudonym “Tommy Robinson.”

Event Features Far-Right Politician Geert Wilders

The scheduled keynote speaker for the exhibit is far-right Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders. Wilders, who heads the Dutch Party For Freedom (PVV), is known for his staunch anti-immigrant platform and inflammatory comments he has made regarding Muslims and Islam.

Read: The Muhammad cartoon exhibition, free speech and the counter-jihadists

Wilders maintains partnerships with anti-Muslim activists based not only in Europe, but in the United States as well. In May 2015, Wilders traveled to Garland, Texas, to speak at a previous Muhammad cartoon exhibit sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), an organization led by notorious anti-Muslim figures Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. The event garnered international attention after two gunman were killed by police while attempting to ambush the exhibit location. Geller and Spencer have since used the incident to fuel their own extreme, hate-driven agenda.

Following the events in Texas, Wilders has taken it upon himself to display the Muhammad caricatures featured at AFDI’s rally. After being denied space to host an exhibit featuring the cartoons at the Dutch parliament building in The Hague, Wilders aired them on national television using political airtime allotted to his party.

And now it appears Wilders plans to travel to London to support another round of hatemongering.

HOPE not hate Report Offers Recommendations

The HOPE not hate report offers a number of recommendations to counter the event organizers’ plans. The report’s authors suggest that authorities must increase monitoring of the so-called counter-jihad movement and devote resources to proactively celebrating the existence of a multicultural and multifaith Britain.

Of course, exposing the event organizers’ ulterior motives is the first step. “This is not a case of ‘free speech’ but incitement,” the report explains.

The report authors argue, “We should not be afraid to have a discussion about free speech and freedom of expression. We need to protect freedoms – and that includes freedom to criticize and mock – but with freedoms come responsibilities and limits. Freedom is never absolute.”

Visit here to read a foreword to the report by HOPE not hate founder Nick Lowles.

Visit here to read the entire report.

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