Ex-EDL Leader Tommy Robinson Apologizes for Causing Fear to Muslims

In Guardian interview, Robinson says he will talk to police to help them investigate dangerous racists in far-right group

Shiv Malik
October 13, 2013

Tommy Robinson

The former leader of the English Defence League, Tommy Robinson, has apologised for causing fear among British Muslims and for issuing bigoted, anti-Islamic statements during his time with the group.

In an interview with the Guardian, Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, said he was sorry for helping to create a culture of “us and them” and for frightening the UK Islamic community.

Pressed as to whether he now believed it was wrong to blame “every single Muslim” for “getting away” with the 7 July bombings, and for calling Islam a fascist and violent religion, he held up his hands and said: “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

Robinson, 30, who this week dramatically quit as leader of the extreme rightwing group known for thuggish street protests and openly racist followers, also said he would now talk to police to help them investigate dangerous racists in the organisation.

“I apologise for [creating] that fear,” he said, “but there’s fear in my house too.” The people he had represented in the EDL and his home town of Luton were afraid of what they perceived to be growing Islamic radicalisation, he said.

Explaining past inflammatory statements, Robinson said they had often been fuelled by alcohol and the adrenaline rush of “leading the biggest street protest movement in Europe”, as well as by anger over the murder of drummer Lee Rigby.

Sitting beside Maajid Nawaz, a former prominent member of the radical Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, Robinson said he had been sobered by his stint in prison and would now work to stem such angry and “ill-judged” outbursts.

Nawaz, who heads the deradicalisation thinktank the Quilliam Foundation, and is also a prospective Lib Dem MP, said he had refused to sit with Robinson after being approached during the filming of a BBC documentary last week.

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