Collected Journalism

Ex-Britain First member’s apology tour of mosques

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This piece appeared on vice.com in December 2014.

A proper apology is difficult. A proper apology means understanding and explaining – in gruelling specifics – exactly how and why you’ve been such a complete dickhead. Why, for example, you figured the best way to protest Islamic extremism was to hang out with people who believe “patriotism” means ​​barging into a mosque and doling out anti-grooming leaflets to bewildered Muslims.

Matthew Lester knows a lot about apologies. He’s been making them for almost a month now, ever since he left the far-right street team Britain First and began visiting mosques and Islamic centres to make amends for all that bizarre, belligerent behaviour by his former pals. On November 9, he announced on Twitter: “I have been an unwitting twat…The making up starts now.”

Reading Matthew’s tweet, I thought it would be interesting to see what the making up might look like, and how long it might last. So I accompanied him to Crayford Mosque in Bexley, one of the places Britain First – led by former BNP councillor Paul Golding – had staged an “invasion” into back in July, demanding that the Imams remove signs indicating separate entrances for men and women…

Read more at VICE

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