Tommy Robinson Quits EDL, Says It’s ‘Too Extreme’

Islam Verses Europe
October 8, 2013

I’d say the problem with the EDL is that it is too politically correct. But Tommy Robinson thinks otherwise. What do you think?

The leader of the English Defence League, Tommy Robinson, has announced that he is leaving the organisation because it has become too extreme.

Robinson, who leads anti-Islam protests that have often turned violent and have been marked by racist chanting, said Islamist ideology should be challenged “not with violence but with better, democratic ideas”.

Robinson, who set up the EDL in 2009 ostensibly to combat extreme Islamism in the UK, is facing criminal charges in relation to his activities with the group.

The 30-year-old from Luton, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, said: “I have been considering this move for a long time because I recognise that, though street demonstrations have brought us to this point, they are no longer productive. I acknowledge the dangers of far-right extremism and the ongoing need to counter Islamist ideology not with violence but with better, democratic ideas.”

His decision was announced in a press release from the counter-extremism thinktank the Quilliam Foundation, which said it had “facilitated” Robinson’s departure and that of the EDL co-founder. Kevin Carroll, also from Luton.

The intentions of the pair are likely to come under intense scrutiny given their past activities. Robinson and Carroll are due to stand trial on 16 October for allegedly attempting to defy a ban on marching to the scene of soldier Lee Rigby’s killing, in June.

There was disbelief and scorn from both supporters and opponents of Robinson at the announcement. Some EDL supporters accused him of selling out but others praised him. Robinson tweeted on Tuesday: “The most difficult day of my life! I thank Edl supporters for their messages of support . For me this is a step forwards not backwards.”

His personal assistant, Helen Gower, told IBTimes UK that Robinson and Carroll would be forming a new group that was not street-based.

Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, said he had met Robinson last week. “During that meeting he indicated that he was leaving the EDL because he couldn’t control the extremist group, impact on his family and wider legal cases he faces,” Shafiq said. “At no stage did he reject his previous disgusting attacks on Islam and Muslims or apologise to the British people for the millions wasted policing their protests.”

Hope Not Hate, which campaigns against extremism, gave a cautious welcome to the news. Its director, Nick Lowles, said: “We celebrate Quilliam’s efforts here, but only a complete renunciation of the violence and hatred the EDL leaders have promoted, and a turning away from the anti-Muslim rhetoric they have championed, will be enough for the many thousands who have suffered from the EDL’s ugly actions over the past three years.

“EDL supporters have called for mosques to be burned, holy books to be destroyed, Muslims to be deported, they have cost us £10m in policing bills, brought disorder to our streets, and many, many more have been sentenced for acts of violence, gun possession, paedophilia and other crimes.”

Matthew Feldman, of Teesside University’s centre for fascist, anti-fascist and post-fascist studies, said Robinson and Carroll should be commended. He said it was difficult to predict what would happen to the group without them at the helm.

“The first test is Bradford [where a demonstration is planned on Saturday]. Is there going to be a small turnout? Does it formalise? Does it fold? Does it merge into something else? This might lead to different elements battling each other for the leadership,” said Feldman.

Quilliam is better known for its work combating Islamic extremism. On its website it says it believes “a more self-critical approach must be adopted by Muslims”, but it has faced criticism in the past for accusing peaceful Muslim groups of sharing the ideology of terrorists.

It described the move by Robinson and Carroll as “a huge success for community relations in the United Kingdom” and urged others, both in the EDL and Islamist groups, to follow in their footsteps and abandon extremist ideologies.

Quilliam’s chair and co-founder, Maajid Nawaz, said: “We have been able to show that Britain stands together against extremism regardless of political views and hope to continue supporting Tommy and Kevin in their journey to counter Islamism and neo-Nazi extremism.”.

Quilliam said the pair would reveal the full reasons for their departure at a press conference on Tuesday evening.

Source: Guardian

The Guardian article makes it sound like Robinson is going to start up some new non-street-based anti-Islam organisation. But the article in the Daily Mail suggests that his new organisation will not have an anti-Islam focus, but rather an anti-“far-right” focus.

English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson quits anti-Islamist group ‘to counter far-right extremism’

Source: Daily Mail

So is he turning traitor and taking the state’s shilling to become some whinging Hope Not Hate-type? If he does that, it’s reasonable to ask whether he was a government operative all along. I’m not saying he was. In fact, I very much doubt it. Nonetheless, it at least deserves to be considered. How exactly did he earn his living anyway?

Tommy Robinson Shill

‘I believe that the revolution needs to come from within the Islamic community and they need to stand up. And I believe this is a step forward not a step back.’

Oh so we Europeans just need to take a step back, let Muslims go on colonising our countries, cross our fingers and hope they’ll become civilised. Great plan, Tommy. In fact, this isn’t very different from what he was saying even when he was in the EDL.

While the rest of the Counterjihad blogs fawned over Tommy Robinson and the EDL, I repeatedly pointed out that nothing they had proposed would make any real difference to the problem. Proposing changes that would make a real difference would require the moral courage to confront establishment ideology; that moral courage is much rarer than physical courage; and there was never any sign that Tommy Robinson had it.

Note that he’s already been getting (no doubt sympathetic) interviews on the BBC now that’s he switched sides.

Speaking to Nicky Campbell on BBC Radio 5 live, he said his decision to leave the group was to be true to what he stands for.

How long can it be before he’s writing comment pieces for the Guardian?

All of the EDL fanboys around the Counterjihad blog scene should be asking themselves critical questions tonight. But they’ve shown no sign of any such capacity for self-critique.

Of course it could be he was a genuine guy who was simply broken by the system. He may have been facing jail time after his upcoming trial. Perhaps this is just the corrosive effect of fear.