Twafa was founded during Thatcher’s Britain, a period characterised by the rise of the National Front, skinhead violence and the birth of the British National Party (BNP). The organisation came about in direct response to a threat by the BNP to march through the streets of Newcastle in 1983.
Throughout this decade Twafa responded to expressions of extremist violence with peaceful counter-demonstrations and by collecting intelligence about far-right leaders which we passed to police.
The 1990s saw the development of expressions of racism in response to an increase in asylum seekers and immigration to the UK. This period also saw the development of the BNP as a credible political party.
Twafa embarked on a campaign of education and awareness to unite local communities. We also held demonstrations in Newcastle, Durham and Sunderland to counter neo-Nazis distributing racist propaganda. We also passed out anti-racist leaflets at Newcastle United’s ground, in direct response to a bid by the National Front to recruit football fans.
The end of the 2000s saw a decline in the BNP and the rise of UKIP, which provided another more legitimate excuse for disenfranchised communities to express their dissatisfaction. There was also an increase in far-right radicalisation and the development of extremist splinter groups, such as the North East Infidels, which paralleled the increasing Islamic terrorist activities.
Twafa responded by continuing our evidence and information gathering and passing that information on to increasingly concerned safety partnerships and the police.
In 2015 and 2016 there was another refugee crisis, this time in Syria, the Middle East and North Africa. Britain also voted to leave the European Union, an event followed by increased instances of hate crime across the UK.
Twafa continues to respond peacefully to demonstrations of hate and to educate against and counter-act racism and prejudice in all its forms. The last five years have seen the emergence of "flash" demos organised at short notice via social media.