Following Tommy Robinson’s re-endorsement by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, the former ex-EDL leader has been busy re-affirming his commitment to the “counter-jihad” scene through interviews with Dale Hurd at Pat Robertson’s CBN and with Lars Hedeegard’s Dispatch International.
Lennon [Robinson's real surname is "Yaxley-Lennon] warns that British authorities are creating the conditions for civil war by allowing the spread of radical Islam while restricting freedom of speech to criticize and protest against it.
…”Now, when [politicians] see this swing from Left to Right, it’s under way. There’s no left-wing organization that can stop it,” he said. “There’s no police force that can stop it. They’re trying to do all these tasks forces to stop what is happening. You can’t stop this.”
Citing an “epidemic of Muslim grooming gangs”, Robinson goes on to concur with negative assessments of Islam and the Koran attributed to Gladstone and Churchill, before mentioning his “new strategy of working with moderate Muslims in the hope more people will listen to him.”
Dispatch International shows Robinson in conversation with Ingrid Carlqvist and Lars Hedeegard, in which he revels over his “new platform” and discusses the Quilliam Foundation; the following passage has garnered attention:
When I met the people from Quilliam, I realized that they could help me with a lot of things. I’m just a working class bloke from Luton. I don’t know how to set up and run a think tank and get donations. I asked if they would teach me and they said yes. They said: “You may have whatever opinions you like but you will get more out of expressing them in a more political way.”
Could one say that you are using them, and they are using you?
Tommy doesn’t answer but nods and grins.
This fits with a report in the Guardian from last month:
[Quilliam head Maajid] Nawaz said he would work to introduce Robinson to his own contacts in government and the Home Office in an attempt to procure government funding.
However, I find it difficult to envision Robinson ever being given public money; he’s adamant that he’s always held the same views; he’s slippery about whether his problem is with “radical Islam” or with “Muslims” (despite telling the Huffington Post that ” I think I am in a position to help separate the two”); and he has a recent criminal record relating to an act of dishonesty.
Meanwhile, Nawaz has come under a certain amount of sceptical scrutiny over Robinson’s continuing links with the likes of Geller and Spencer. Responding on Twitter, he told Sunny Hundal to “give us time & stop being a downer”, and suggested that Sunny should instead focus on Mo Ansar’s prevarications on the subject of traditional Islamic punishments. Nawaz also continues to argue that it’s better to have Robinson out of the EDL rather than leading it, even though his views aren’t all what he would wish; but it seems to me that there’s an obvious disconnect between Nawaz’s presentation of a man being slowly weened off anti-Islam views and away from extremism by Muslim moderates, and Robinson’s own assertions.
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