I've just found out that a far-right anti-Islam march, by a group calling themselves the North East Infidels, is taking place in Stockton-on-Tees on the 4th of July. According to a post on their Facebook page, the march is to show the "problems that Islam brings". Despite the majority of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world living a peaceful life, these groups wish to accuse every single Muslim of a wide range of crimes.
The expectation from these groups is that every single Muslim should be forced to accept the blame for actions of these extreme groups. Of course not one of these groups has ever accepted the blame for the crimes carried out by other white people who share the same beliefs as them. Even if there's a possibility that their rhetoric had an impact on the crime they chose to carry out.
Of course, I'm not denying that there are radical groups around the world. Some of these radical groups use a religious text to justify their cause. That does not make the #Religion a radical, dangerous religion. The Bible can easily be twisted to justify radical actions. In the past it has been used to justify slavery, genocide and discrimination towards homosexuals (the verse in the Bible doesn't even need to be twisted to justify that, it's fairly clear).
Some of the groups use the Quran as a justification for carrying out terrorist attacks. That does not mean that even a significant portion of Muslim people are terrorists. Northern Irish groups carried out terrorist actions, and not all Northern Irish people were ever thought of as being terrorists. Bear in mind that "#Terrorism" is a word used to describe violent actions carried out by a group of people who's views we oppose. It's interesting to note that a white man shooting to death a group of black people in the hope of starting a "race war" is not considered terrorism.
It's interesting to note that attacks on Mosques are not considered terrorism. Despite being places of worship we seem to accept that attacks on them, while I'm not sure we'd ever accept such an attack on a church. It's interesting to note that the actions of our country repeatedly bombing air defences in Iraq in the hope of a "provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war" in 2002 was also never called terrorism.
Some of these groups use the internet as a propaganda tool to recruit people into their cause. They post videos which are intended to back up their assertions that the opposition are evil, follow evil beliefs and there's a need to wipe them out. They post to the internet telling their followers that the opposition hates them and that they want to wipe them out along with everything they believe in. These people tap into a feeling of not belonging, a feeling of isolation and use it as a way to gain their support for radical, extreme beliefs.
The main narrative in our media is that the people doing this are groups like ISIS. But it is equally true of groups like Britain First and other far right groups. The technique of drawing in people who feel like there is no place for them and placing the blame for that feeling on minority groups is not new. But the internet makes it easier to carry out. The simple fact is that you can't fight fire with fire, equally you can't fight hate with more hate. Peace has never been achieved through two sides increasingly fighting each other with higher and higher levels of hate. Unfortunately, from most corners, hate is the only weapon that people seem willing to use.