Leading anti-Muslim activist selected as UKIP General Election candidate

Joe Mulhall - 27 04 17

In a week when UKIP leader Paul Nuttal resorted to a platform which includes banning face veils worn by some Muslim women, declaring a moratorium on new Islamic schools, and the annual mandatory genital examination of girls deemed “from groups at high risk” of suffering female genital mutilation (FGM), it comes as no great surprise that the party is to be represented by one of the UK’s leading anti-Muslim activists.

Anne Marie Waters has been announced as a candidate for Lewisham East. She is founder of Sharia Watch UK, was the organiser of a controversial ‘Muhammad Cartoons’ exhibition, and with Stephen Yaxley-Lennon was part of the anti-Muslim organisation, Pegida UK. She is also closely connected to an international network of ‘counter-jihadists’ (anti-Muslim advocates).

Prior form

This is not the first time that Waters has stood for UKIP in this constituency, having run previously in 2015. During the campaign she was was filmed saying:

“For a start the immigration will have to stop, the immigration from Islamic countries has to stop entirely, that is just the way it is. A lot of people need to be deported. Many mosques need to be closed down. It really has to get tough.”

Last week HOPE not hate revealed how Waters, long associated with the UK far right, has recently begun to associate with extreme far-right activists in Europe, namely Red Ice Creations, a media platform founded on the west coast of Sweden that is a leading alt-right platform and purveyor of extreme-right content.

That UKIP is willing to be represented by such an extreme person speaks volumes about its attitudes to prejudice and discrimination.

PROFILE: Anne Marie Waters

Waters spent many years as a Labour Party member, running twice as a candidate. She was a spokesperson and co-director for the One Law for All campaign, and was a council member of the National Secular Society. In 2013 however, Waters shifted dramatically to the right, writing regular blogs for the International Free Press Society’s Dispatch International on subjects such as Sharia law, immigration and ‘Muslim crime’. In May 2014, Waters joined the populist right-wing party, UKIP.

In April 2014, Waters launched Sharia Watch UK in the House of Lords. The group campaigns “for recognition of the dangers posed by sharia law in the UK, particularly in relation to women’s rights”. At the launch a new report, Sharia Law – Britain’s Blind Spot, was published. The report attempts to portray the extremism of all Muslims, analysing the beliefs of apparently ‘mainstream’ Muslim organisations.

Sharia Watch UK primarily functions as an internet resource. Contributors to articles include Sam Solomon, a key player in the UK’s anti-Muslim scene and Alan Craig of the right-wing Christian People’s Alliance, who campaigned against the building of a new mosque in east London. Despite Waters’ links to extreme anti-Islamists such as Lars Hedegaard and Alan Ayling (one of the original financial backers of the EDL), Sharia Watch UK has been used as a credible source for stories about “Islamic extremists” allegedly “infiltrating” schools, universities and “even Scout groups” by both the Daily Mail and the Sunday Telegraph newspapers.

The organisation has worked closely with the Lawyer’s Secular Society and has links to the highly controversial International Civil Liberties Alliance. Waters has refused to release information surrounding Sharia Watch’s funders, stating “it isn’t the EDL, or Lars Hedegaard, or Nick Griffin, or Mossad, or Peppa Pig”.

Sharia Watch UK was one of the key players in organising the cancelled Muhammad cartoon exhibition in London in September 2015.

After being announced as a member of the leadership team for Pegida UK, Waters accompanied Lennon to Copenhagen in January 2016 to help build support for a Danish Branch of Pegida.

Since then Waters has continued with her Sharia Watch project and become one of the go-to speakers on the anti-Muslim scene. Recently she has become a contributor to the small anti-Muslim website The New Brit and has even appeared on the Swedish racist media platform Red Ice.




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