While the EDL brand is known for its public opposition to Islamic extremism it lacks a coherent message or vision. Even within the organisation it means different things to different people. The EDL serves as an umbrella for a range of other groups and activists. The leadership is at pains to reject any charge of racism and fascism, regularly claiming that fascists are violently removed from demonstrations, but the reality on the ground is quite different.

The EDL is quick to highlight the involvement of black and Asian supporters. For example, Guramit Singh, from Leicester, is a leading EDL member and is often put up as the groupís spokesman to deny the organisation is racist, but he and the other non-white activists are few and far between. At the EDL protest in Bradford there were fewer than ten non-white people in an EDL crowd of over 800.

The EDL is quick to highlight the involvement of black and Asian supporters

EDL demonstrations are always accompanied by anti-Muslim chanting and signs. More general racist chants are heard and there have been examples of Hindus and Sikhs being abused and even attacked by EDL supporters.

EDL protests have been frequented by members and former members of the BNP, the National Front, the Racial Volunteer Force, the British Peopleís Party, Blood and Honour and Combat 18. As the fortuned of the BNP have waned, a growing number of that partyís activists, including organisers, have been turning up at EDL events. While the EDL leadership tries publicly to distance itself from these people there is no attempt to stop the racist chanting or the general anti-Muslim abuse.