Tuesday, March 15, 2011

EDL "founder member" among East End Gay Pride organisers

The LGBT Muslim group Imaan has done some background checks on the East End Gay Pride organisers. Turns out one of the organisers, Raymond Berry, is EDL:

We have now acquired evidence that Raymond Berry, the principal organiser of the event, faced a call for disciplinary measures (revocation of his membership) by officials of the RMT (Rail and Maritime Trades Union) because he was a public and vocal, leading member of the EDL (English Defence League) and promoted the EDL objectives and extremist politics.

In correspondence, in September 2010, with union officials, Mr. Berry claimed – in his own words – the following:

  • That he was a founder member of the English Defence League, but had decided to cease his involvement following disagreements over changes in the EDL leadership.
  • That in spite of this, he continued to hold firm beliefs with regard to Sharia law and the Islamification of Britain.
  • That he remained an active member “of such organisations as” S.I.O.E. (Stop the Islamification of Europe) and N.S.B. (No Sharia in Britain)
  • That he was working, with other disaffected members of the EDL to start new groups with similar objectives.

In October 2010, Mr Berry continued his correspondence with union officials making new assertions, some contradictory to his position in September:

  • That he would not voluntarily cancel his RMT membership on the grounds of his EDL membership
  • That he saw no reason why he should not hold membership of the RMT and of the EDL, in spite of his disagreement with some aspects of RMT politics – i.e. that he found the RMT to be more controversial than the EDL.

So we now understand that as of October 2010, Mr. Berry – a founder of the EDL – remained connected with the EDL and unrepentant. Indeed, he desires to start other groups with similar right-wing, anti-Muslim objectives as well as retaining active associations with existing right-wing, anti-Muslim groups (such as S.I.O.E.)

Update: Apparently the event has been cancelled. This is the statement from Rainbow Hamlets...

The organisers of the so-called East End Gay Pride event have today announced on their website that the event has been cancelled. They say that they have decided to do so because they have been subjected to personal attack by Rainbow Hamlets and OutEast.

While we reject any suggestions of a smear campaign on the part of Rainbow Hamlets and other organisations associated with us, we welcome the decision of the East End Gay Pride Team to cancel the event. We believe it was the correct decision in the face of the disclosure that Raymond Berry, who yesterday resigned from the EEGP team, was a founder member of the EDL and who, despite resigning from the EDL, still shared its ideals and values and was looking to organise other projects based on them.

That disclosure has completely undermined the credibility and integrity of the entire event. We maintain that if the event had taken place, no right thinking member of the LGBT community could have participated in it with pride because of the divisive and hate-filled agenda on which it was based. By its very nature it would have excluded approximately 40% of the community.

We look forward to announcing our own events programme in the near future and hope to be in a position to promote a Pride Event in which all members of the community can be proud to participate later in the year.

Thank you for your continued support.

Rebecca Shaw
Jack Gilbert
Rainbow Hamlets