Former neo-nazi tells mosque: We can combat far right
Ex-extremist tells mosque: I achieved nothing but to destroy my own family and other people’s
09 February, 2018 — By Emily Finch
Nigel Bromage speaking at the Muslim Welfare House: ‘I was filled full of hate’
SPEAKING at the mosque where worshippers prayed moments before the Finsbury Park terror attack, a former neo-nazi leader has warned of the rising tide of the far right.
Nigel Bromage was at the Muslim Welfare House two days before Darren Osborne, 48, was sentenced to a minimum of 43 years in prison for murdering grandfather Makram Ali, 51, and injuring a dozen other Muslims in the van attack.
Mr Bromage, a neo-nazi leader for 20 years, told the audience that he started his life in Birmingham as a successful student before he was “groomed” by members of far-right group National Front.
He said: “They found out my mum was dying of cancer. They took advantage. Over a six-month period these guys converted me into a racist.
“I used to be an extremist. I was filled full of hate, distrust and anger. My 20 years in the far right were completely wasted. I achieved absolutely nothing other than to destroy my own family but other people’s families as well.”
Mr Bromage even put himself forward to be an MP for the National Front but won only 232 votes, prompting him to find more violent means of getting his message across.
He joined Combat 18, an openly neo-nazi group which derives the “18” in its name from the initials of Adolf Hitler.
He described how seeing a black man targeted by a rival far-right group was the event which “churned my stomach and turned me into who I am today”.
“They were going to throw this gentleman through the bus window because he identified them as nazis. I had to make a decision that day on what I was going to do.
“It was one of the most stupidest decisions I’ve made but I’m glad I did it. I decided to step in front of this guy and say: ‘Actually, to get to him you have to go through me.’
“The reason why I did that was because when I turned around I saw his wife and children crying at the bus stop. They were going to see their dad physically attacked.”
Fearing reprisal attacks, Mr Bromage started a new life in Newham, east London.
“I lived with a great gentleman called Mr Kahn and he fed me for the next two years. Brilliant food. We talked about the Quran, the Bible and politics and that reinforced that it was the best decision of my life – getting the half-past-ten train to Euston and starting again.”
He warned that there were 30 active far-right organisations currently operating in the country.
“The far right continues to rise,” he said. “You don’t have to be a member of a far-right organisation to have an effect on ethnic communities. Hate crime is rising. It’s done by people who are angry and who are being used by the far right.
“It’s not about a street presence any more. The real focus is on the internet – social media and other forums.”
During the trial into the Finsbury Park attack the jury heard how Osborne, originally from Cardiff, was “brainwashed” by anti-Muslim material online.
He was an avid follower of Britain First and English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson.
Mr Bromage said the far right could be combatted by having “safe spaces” where people can “talk about things that make people angry” and ensuring members from different ethnic communities mix with each other.