The Containing Extremism Research Briefing has an interesting summary of an article by two academics from the University of Leicester published in the British Journal of Criminology. The study is based on interviews with three young men involved in the English Defence League. CERB reports:
Consistent with the main public image of the EDL, the involvement of these men as described here consists entirely of contributing to violent disorder. In one case, the interview material presented gives no indication of the sources of the gross and chilling racism which apparently drove his violence. In the other two, however, there is some narrative pointing to why they hate the ‘Paki’ and the ‘Muslim’, terms apparently used interchangeably. For one it is linked to feared violence, as represented by 7/7 and by an attack which this man had apparently been subject to. For the other, the hatred is of what is experienced as the invading and swamping ‘Other’, of those who have created a ‘Jalalabad’ where he lives. For both, taking part in EDL demonstrations and striking young Asian men brings some sense of pride and self-determination.
There is a striking gap between these states of mind and the reasonable tone of much EDL rhetoric on its website.