Anne Marie Waters

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Anne Marie Waters

Anne Marie Waters is the founder and spokesperson of Sharia Watch UK and heavily involved in the counterjihad movement.

She ran as a UK Independence Party (UKIP) parliamentary candidate for Lewisham East in the 2015 general election, coming third to Labour and the Tories with a total of 3,886 votes, (9.1 per cent).[1]

In early July 2015 she announced she was planning to host an exhibition of cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in London,[2] but by late August it had been called off.[3]

In January 2015, former leader of the English Defence League Tommy Robinson announced that Waters would be joining him in the senior management of his new group Pegida UK, a far-right nationalist group that originated in Dresden, Germany which campaigns against the supposed 'Islamification of Europe'. [4] Waters however later left the group in summer 2016.

Since losing her high-profile bid for the UKIP leadership in September 2017, Waters has set up her own anti-Islam political party, ‘For Britain’. This, she claims, aims to ‘reach the people who have been forgotten and left behind’. Waters has also been linked to members of the new UK branch of the pan-European Generation Identity movement (see Chapter 5).


Waters previously worked for One Law For All which has since issued a statement condemning her.[5]

She was formerly a Labour Party member and in summer 2013 was nearly selected as a parliamentary candidate. After failing to be selected as a Labour candidate she joined UKIP.

In April 2014 she launched the organisation Sharia Watch UK and in May 2014 announced that she would stand as UKIP's candidate for Basildon and Billericay[6].


UKIP candidacy

Following the announcement that Waters would stand for election with UKIP, she held a public meeting in the constituency on 22 October as 'UKIP Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Basildon and Billericay'.[7] But on 7 January 2015, it was reported that UKIP had announced George Konstantinidis as the party's candidate in that constituency.[8]

Waters ceased to be UKIP's Basildon and Billericay candidate at least a month before this, however, because on 9 December 2014 it was reported that she had put herself forward for selection as UKIP candidate in South Basildon and East Thurrock following the deselection of Kerry Smith.[9]. She appears to have lost out as on 14 January 2015 it was reported that UKIP had announced Ian Luder as its chosen candidate to replace Smith.[10]

However, after Spinwatch reported that Waters appeared to have been 'de-selected',[5] she published a statement on the Sharia Watch UK website in which she denied that this was the case.[11] However, she did not give any alternative explanation for the fact that she had ceased to be a candidate in Basildon and Billericay nor name another constituency for which she was a candidate. As of 28 January 2015, her name did not appear on any official UKIP website as a candidate. The party's press office said no comprehensive list of its candidates was available and declined to confirm the status of specific individuals.

On 1 February 2015 it was reported in the Essex Chronicle that Waters had lost out to Richard Bingley in a 19 January vote to select a replacement UKIP candidate for the Braintree seat, following the death of Gordon Helm.[12]

By 17 April 2015, according to her Twitter profile, Waters had been selected as UKIP candidate for Lewisham East.

Sharia Watch UK

Waters registered the domain name for Sharia Watch UK in April 2014[13], the same month its launch event took place in the House of Lords, hosted by Baroness Cox, a peer who has previously invited far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders to show his anti-Islam film Fitna in the Lords. Charlie Klendjian of the Lawyers Secular Society also spoke.

Mohammed Cartoon Exhibition

In early July 2015 Waters announced her organisation Sharia Watch was planning to host an exhibition of cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in London and Geert Wilders would be guest speaker at the event.[14] However, by late August the event had been called off. Waters told the media the cancellation had been because there was a 'real possibility people could be killed'.[15]

However, Hope Not Hate claimed in a report released in July 2015, that Waters was well aware of how provocative the proposed event was and implied that she may have hoped to spark violence, with the intention of instigating a 'civil war', commonly held to be inevitable in counterjihad circles where Islam and 'the West' are seen as incompatible.[16] This interpretation was first put forward by Jim Dowson, former fundraiser for Britain First who had attended a meeting in the first half of June with Waters, Alan Ayling and Stephen Yaxley-Lennon and - alarmed by what he believed to be their dangerous aim - blew the lid on the plan on the Knights Templar blog.[17] Hope Not Hate also pointed out that she had struggled to find a venue willing to host the exhibition, that Lord Pearson had got 'cold feet' and that Lennon had been returned to prison.

Counterjihad connections

Ex-EDL donor and strategist Alan Ayling watching Anne Marie Waters talk at Speaker's Corner in London's Hyde Park, October 2014

Lars Hedegaard

In June 2014, Waters shared a platform in Copenhagen with Lars Hedegaard, the man behind the anti-Islam organisation the International Free Press Society. A video of the event- the launch of a Swedish edition of Hedegaard’s book Muhammad’s Girls: Violence, Murder and Rape in the House of Islam - shows her sitting next to the Dane, who was convicted of hate speech in 2011 after stating that ‘Muslims rape their children’, though he successfully appealed this conviction, on ‘free speech’ grounds, the following year. Chairing the event was Ingrid Carlqvist, a key member of the Swedish counterjihad network. Also on the panel was psychologist Nicolai Sennels of the far-right Danish People’s Party and the video was produced by Dispatch International (DI), a mouthpiece for the counterjihad movement – for which Waters has written extensively – founded by Hedegaard and Carlqvist.[5]

Waters has described Hedegaard as 'a friend of mine'. She has stated that he does not donate any money to Sharia Watch UK.[11].

Dispatch International and Gates of Vienna

Waters' writing has been published on Dispatch International, a publication founded by Lars Hedegaard and Ingrid Carlqvist.[18]

She has also written articles for Gates of Vienna, a key counterjihad blog run by Ned May aka 'Baron Boddissey'.[19]

Alan Ayling

In a series of videos taken in October 2014 at Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park, which show Waters and others delivering diatribes against Islam, former English Defence League (EDL) financier and strategist Alan Ayling (aka Alan Lake) could be seen in the group that appeared to be supporting her. During a Spinwatch investigation, Waters did not respond to repeated requests to clarify her relationship with Ayling.[5] After the publication of a critical article, she wrote on the Sharia Watch UK site in January 2015: 'I do not know Alan Ayling; he has certainly never given me any money.'[11]

However, if it is true she did not know Ayling at this point, she soon developed links with him. Waters has admitted attending a meeting with Ayling and former EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon in June 2015, at which the group - along with Jim Dowson - discussed plans for an exhibition of cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in London, which was later aborted. She even confirmed that there may have been 'talk of civil war' at this meeting but has written that this was 'by way of conversation' and not a 'plot'.[20]

Tommy Robinson

Waters met Stephen Yaxley-Lennon AKA 'Tommy Robinson', former leader of the far-right street movement the English Defence League (EDL) in December 2013 at a Passion for Freedom event, though it is not known if this was their first encounter. Lennon has just left the EDL and the pair were part of a panel discussing the film 'Silent Conquest', on the favourite counterjihad theme of 'Islamisation'.[16].

Soon they were working more closely together and Waters interviewed Lennon live for the launch of Victims Of Islamic Cultural Extremism (VOICE) on 11 May 2015.[21] According to Hope Not Hate, Lennon had also agreed to become joint leader of Sharia Watch at a re-launch event on 23 July 2015 which was going to be supported by Lord Pearson. They reportedly hoped to earn a living from the organisation by building a paying membership base – but before this could happen Lennon was returned to prison.[16].

Hope Not Hate has claimed that Waters has spoken "regularly" at EDL demonstrations,[16] an accusation she denies.[22]

University talks

Founder and spokesperson Anne Marie Waters and Charlie Klendjian of the Lawyers Secular Society were due to speak at the University of West London in November 2014 but the scheduled event was cancelled, after complaints from Spinwatch and others. The pair later spoke at Manchester University but faced opposition and challenges from students.[23]

Alleged links to PEGIDA UK

In January 2015, an administrator of the Facebook page of Pegida UK, an attempt to mimic the German PEGIDA movement, shared a video of Waters with the following message:

'After constant contact with this lovely lady she is more than happy to be part of Pegida UK. Welcome Anne Marie Waters'.[24]

When Anne Marie Waters announced she would be campaigning with Pegida UK in January 2016, she was banned from standing as a candidate for elections for the party. It appears, however, that UKIP's party chairman has 'come to an agreement with Ms Waters to remain a loyal UKIP member'. [25]

Mothers Against Radical Islam and Sharia

On at least two occasions, Waters has spoken at rallies organised under the banner of a group calling itself Mothers Against Radical Islam and Sharia (MARIAS). In April 2015, the Daily Mirror newspaper reported that MARIAS had 'close links to groups like the English Defence League' and that 'activists from fascist groups were welcome' at the MARIAS gathering.[26] Waters was filmed telling an undercover reporter that 'a lot of people need to be deported', 'many mosques need to be closed down' and 'immigration from Islamic countries has to stop entirely'.[26]


<youtube size="medium" align="right" caption="Anne Marie Waters delivers an anti-Islam diatribe at Speakers Corner in London's Hyde Park, October 2014">G27Ln9fWSiE</youtube>

In an Oxford Union debate in February 2013 she spoke against the motion 'This house believes Islam is a religion of peace'.[5]

Islamophobia as 'feminism'

In her speech at Lars Hedegaard's book launch in June 2014, Waters linked Islam to child abuse, saying (16:08) ‘it’s all linked to Islam’, which she characterised as a dangerous ‘ideology’ being ‘appeased’, adding (17:45): ‘it is exactly the same appeasement that is allowing young girls to be raped in Britain, it’s got nothing to do with race, it’s got to do with the fact that we will not confront the misogyny at the very, very heart of this religion’.[5]

'A deal has been struck'

In a speech delivered in October 2014 at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park, Waters claimed:

A deal has been struck. It’s not a written deal, it’s not a spoken deal, it’s an unspoken deal between your leaders, your political leaders and the Imams of this country. And that deal is: deliver us your block vote and we’ll let you treat women however the hell you please. That was the deal that was struck, it was struck years ago.
That is why we have FGM. We have hundreds of thousands of girls in this country having their genitals mutilated. We have sharia courts in this country treating women like shit. We have honour killings, forced marriage, underage marriage, it is because our leaders have struck a deal with the imams...Sharia law allows men to beat their wives. It allows little girls to be raped and tortured and mutilated and that is why we have, across England, little English girls being raped, while the Labour party and their Islamist friends look away.

The idea of a secret deal being struck between 'Western' and Muslim political leaders bears some comparison to a conspiracy theory popular in the counterjihad movement developed by Bat Ye'or called Eurabia, a word she coined. According to the Institute of Race Relations, she argued that a 'secret project exists between European politicians and the Arab world for the "Islamisation of Europe"'.[27]

Shut mosques and end Islamic immigration

At a Mothers Against Radical Islam and Sharia event in April 2015, where Gavin Boby of the Law and Freedom Foundation and Magnus Nielsen of UKIP also spoke, Waters was filmed telling an undercover reporter from the Mirror newspaper: 'A lot of people need to be deported. Many mosques need to be closed down. It really has to get tough' and 'immigration from Islamic countries has to stop entirely, that is just the way it is'.[26]





  1. Lewisham East parliamentary constituency, BBC News, accessed 21 May 2015
  2. Ewan Palmer, Prophet Mohammed cartoon exhibition with Geert Wilders planned for central London, IBTimes, 2 July 2015
  3. Jess Denham, London 'Draw Mohamed' exhibition cancelled due to 'real possibility people could be killed', The Independent, 20 August
  4. Pegida leader EDL-UKIP,, accessed 7 January 2015
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Sharia Watch UK and the Metamorphosis of Anne Marie Waters, Institute of Race Relations, 21 January 2015
  6. Why I am proud to stand for UKIP, personal website, July 2014, acc Nov 2014
  7. PUBLIC MEETING – BILLERICAY – 22ND OCTOBER 2014, Anne Marie Waters website, October 2014, accessed 28 January 2015
  8. Guy Bell, UKIP name candidate to fight Basildon and Billericay general election seat, Brentwood Gazette, 7 January 2015, accessed 28 January 2015
  9. Jon Austin, Neil Hamilton wants to be Ukip MP for South Basildon, Echo News, 9 December 2014, accessed 28 January 2015
  10. Ian Silvera, Ukip select Ian Luder to fight South Basildon and East Thurrock seat after racism row, IBTimes, 14 January 2015
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Hilary Aked, Sharia Watch UK, accessed 26 January 2015
  12. UKIP select Richard Bingley to contest Braintree MP seat, Essex Chronicle, 1 February 2015, accessed 10 February 2015
  13. Sharia Watch UK registration, WhoIs Record, accessed 21 January 2015
  14. Ewan Palmer, Prophet Mohammed cartoon exhibition with Geert Wilders planned for central London, IBTimes, 2 July 2015
  15. Jess Denham, London 'Draw Mohamed' exhibition cancelled due to 'real possibility people could be killed', The Independent, 20 August
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Hope Not HateThe Muhammed Cartoons: the counter-jihadist plot to ignite a civil war in Britain, Hope Not Hate, July 2015
  17. Peter Mellows,Warning - Muhammad cartoon provocations would not serve our cause, Knights Templar, 13 June 2015
  18. Open letter to Labour leader Miliband: Your policies fill me with fear, Dispatch International, 7 October 2013, accessed 13 February 2015
  19. It's Time to Take a Stand, Gates of Vienna, 10 July 2015, accessed 24 August 2015
  20. Anne Marie Waters. Hard Left Campaigners Lied About Islam Vs West ‘Civil War’ Claim Breitbart, 28 July 2015, accessed 23 August 2015
  21. Tommy Robinson's Attendance at the Launch of VOICE,, accessed 23 August 2015
  22. Anne Maria Waters, Response to ridiculous claims of Hope Not Hate, Sharia Watch, 29 July 2015, accessed 23 August 2015
  23. Sharia Law in the UK: A Panel Discussion, Youtube User:The University of Manchester Free Speech and Secular Society, 7 January 2015, accessed 23 August 2015
  24. Pegida UK screenshot, Islamophobia Watch, 24 January 2014, accessed 13 February 2015
  25. ALIX CULBERTSON, UKIP bans candidate for heading up British wing of anti-mass migration PEGIDA group, Express, January 14 2016. Accessed 05 October 2016.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Russell Myers and Colin Cortbus, Watch Ukip candidates spouting vile anti-Islamic hate messages at a far-right rally, The Mirror, 15 April 2015, accessed 17 April 2015
  27. Breivik and Eurabia, IRR, 28 July 2011, accessed 27 January 2015
  28. Tom Mills, Hilary Aked, Narzanin Massoumi and David Miller, Taking racism Seriously: Islamophobia, civil liberties and the state OpenDemocracy, 22 June 2015