Mosquebusters: When there’s something Muslim in your neighborhood, who ya gonna call? Meet the British lawyer fighting Islam, one parking ticket at a time.

February 23, 2012

Foreign Policy:

 It is winter, the middle of December, and I find myself making an odd phone call. Pacing around my living room, I kick at the carpet as I dial the number.

“Hello?” I say.

“There’s no time,” the man on the other end of the line answers immediately. His name is Gavin Boby. We have e-mailed before, but I introduce myself again, explaining my background: education, photography and video experience, that sort of thing.

Boby’s tone is measured and businesslike. “It sounds like you have skills that could be of use. Muslims are very bad losers,” he says matter-of-factly. He’d like me to act as a witness, he tells me, videotaping his court appearances and searching the Internet for “targets.” The conversation is taking me into uncomfortable territory; my voice wavers, and I begin to flounder. Boby doesn’t notice. “I’ll send you instructions on how we work,” he says and hangs up. I have just become a Mosquebuster.

The Mosquebusters, or the Law and Freedom Foundation as they’re officially known, are part of a new wave of anti-Islamic campaigners in England with links to more established anti-immigrant groups such as England Is Ours and Stop Islamisation of Europe. Like many of these groups, the Mosquebusters fear that traditional British culture, laws, and values will disappear with the changing face of Britain and worry that extremist interpretations of sections of the Koran urge Muslims to kill non-believers and take slaves.

Until mid-February, the Mosquebusters advertised for volunteers, under a campaign called “No More Mosques,” on the website of the ultra-nationalist English Defence League (EDL), a group that organizes anti-Islamic street marches that often decend into brawls, riots, and arrests. The EDL and other anti-Islamic groups have no problem convincing their members to parade in public yelling insults like “Muslim bombers off our streets!” and “Allah is a pedophile!,” but the Mosquebusters have a quieter, perhaps more insidious approach: In offices and city halls, they are crafting legal cases against mosque construction applications across the country. It’s a war against Islam, but one that often resembles a bureaucratic turf battle more than a clash of civilizations.

Mosquebusters leader Boby, known as The Lawman, is careful to draw the distinction between religion and race. “It is primarily about the division between Islamic and non-Islamic society, and the lawless violence at the heart of Islamic doctrine and practice,” he says in his manifesto. Boby dresses conservatively, with a black suit, white button-down shirt, and pastel neck tie, done up tight. He is clean shaven, his brown hair cropped close, and his small eyes squint behind wire-framed glasses. He has the look of a typical middle-aged businessman. And most of the time, he is.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., he runs a planning application company in Bristol, in western of England. He is a qualified barrister with undergraduate and graduate law degrees. But what Boby really wants is “an army of people, about 500 across the country,” as he says in one of his online motivational videos. As I watched the recording from my flat in East London, while digesting one of his instructional e-mails on bureaucratic mosque-busting, Boby leaned closer to the camera, maintaining eye contact: “It is very important that mosques are stopped.”

Boby launched the Mosquebusters website in 2011, but the group has been working behind the scenes for longer. It offers legal expertise, pro bono, to anyone disputing the construction of a mosque in England, and it has a growing web presenceBoby relies on a handful of volunteers to help with his work; they don’t have a physical office but work from home communicating via e-mail, with Boby alone. “I’ve tried using members of the EDL as volunteers before. They’re too reactionary,” he says. When Boby needs to meet his Mosquebusters or clients, he takes them for lunch, one-on-one, in London or Bristol — an offer he made to me as well when we talked by phone. Boby doesn’t speak with the press, so a chance to meet him would have been rare. But later in the week, he had a change of heart; he e-mailed me questioning my motives and asked me to disregard all prior correspondence…

Read it all.

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One Response to “Mosquebusters: When there’s something Muslim in your neighborhood, who ya gonna call? Meet the British lawyer fighting Islam, one parking ticket at a time.”

  1. Booger Says:

    Let’s separate a few concepts here:

    First, can a group preach hatred, pedophilia, or supremacy? Yes, as long as they do not incite a riot, or develop a hit list for people to use, I couldn’t care less what they preach in their houses of worship.

    Second, should we make cultural exceptions for people who flout the law in this country? NO! Rape is still rape. Assault is still assault. Saying that this is your culture is no defense. They are not living in their country and culture of origin. They’re living in a western country with tolerant but firm laws. Killing and rape are still killing and rape no matter what cultural norms someone may have come from.

    Third, zoning regulations are still zoning regulations. If I made a religion about gathering a congregation to howl at the moon from the roof of our prayer house at midnight every night, I’m sure someone would have a noise regulation to throw at me –and rightfully so.

    Likewise if a Mosque doesn’t have sufficient parking for their building, that’s a problem. It’s nothing personal. We expect peaceful, quiet neighbors who don’t blare their prayers to the community from the top of a minaret at 3 AM.

    I don’t care if it is a Mosque, a Church, a Synagogue, or a congregation of warlocks. The rules above are still supposed to be a rule of law. If this isn’t suitable for some immigrants, Muslims included, I suggest they go somewhere else.

    And as for Mosque-busting, it is this attorney’s right to do as he sees fit within the law. However, I think that strict application of existing law in a blind manner should be just as effective.

    I don’t care what a man’s religion says and I’m not going to get in to interpreting the beliefs of someone else. However, I will pay attention to what he does and I won’t make cultural exceptions.

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