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Cities and towns across England have been reeling from shouts of ‘Muslim bombers off our streets’ in recent months, as a group of far-right protesters have travelled the country spreading their extreme anti-Islam views.

The English Defence League was only formed last year and has attracted both increasing support and condemnation, in an echo of the National Front marches of the 1970s and 80s.

Matthew Taylor from Guardian Films spent four months undercover with the EDL, attending gatherings at pubs that precede heavily policed protests, with the constant threat of things turning violent.

Members also went to the 9/11 commemorations in New York this month to support Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders, who Dateline profiled last month, at the protest over plans for a mosque near Ground Zero.

Matthew also sees the counter protests and campaigners facing violent threats for standing up against the group, as they ask for more action to tackle the EDL.

WATCH - Get inside the English Defence League by watching Matthew's report. 

PHOTO GALLERY - More background about the English Defence League with images of its protests across England.

VIDEO EXTRA - George Negus covered the neo-Nazi National Front marches in London in the 1980s, so he talks about the similarities, and differences, between then and now. 

INSIGHT - SBS's Insight on Tuesday 21st September discussed the ban on burqas being worn in public places in France, and the debate in Australia, where polls have shown many people also support a ban. Watch the program and find out more on the Insight website.

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Photos (protests): AAP/Getty

 

On air: 19th September 2010

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