Tommy Robinson, the leader of the EDL has quit to work with Muslims in order to combat Islamic extremism. He says he’s seen the extremism within his group and how it was veering towards violence and extremism itself, so has consulted with the Quiliam Group in order to work with them. He appears to have found a different way to combat what is a very real threat of Islamic extremism not through violence, intimidation and protests which have often cost cash-strapped councils hundreds of thousands of pounds to police which is a way the EDL have essentially used as a form of blackmail, but through other ways of protest which are more democratic than Tweeting about ‘Muzzys’ and suggesting members take to the street at any opportunity, or even this.
Robinson has told Channel 4 News tonight he postponed leaving the EDL due to the murder of Lee Rigby. Now if one is to assume Robinson, and the EDL’s other leader, Kevin Carroll, have decided that the typical EDL tactics are no more, but Robinson has spent the months since Rigby’s murder whipping up hate against Muslims, starting fights and all manner of things which make my Spidey Sense tingle that perhaps Robinson is trying to stay out of prison for a while, though there’s also a part of me which is hopeful that he’s actually recanted on his past actions that’s only a very, very, very small part and this is about rebranding the EDL, ditching the more hardcore racists and possibly even looking to use this as a platform to launch a political career. After all, it’s hard to be an MP if you’re in prison for racially abusing someone.
There are however six questions posed by Hope not Hate Robinson can answer to see how legitimate he is.
1) Will you accept your role in inciting and fostering anti-Muslim hatred in communities up and down the country?
2) If so, what do you intend to do about it?
3) Do you admit to deliberately conflating Islamist extremism with the faith of Islam to spread an anti-Muslim agenda?
4) If the EDL has been taken over by far right extremists will you name names?
5) Will you reveal the names of the EDL funders?
6) Will you renounce your past links and speak out against Pam Geller and Robert Spencer?
He answers all of those then, and only then, I’ll be convinced he’s a changed man and this isn’t a stunt. Til then we can all watch EDL supporters tear themselves apart online as they all flail around hopelessly working out what to do next.