Controversial English Defence League (EDL) founder, Tommy Robinson, has been invited to speak at the US Congress by a group of Republican politicians, and could net £1 million for his visit.
Sanwar Ali workpermit.com comment:
Stephen Yaxley-Lennon founder of the English Defence League better known as “Tommy Robinson” is a former member of the Neo-Nazi or Neo-Fascist British National party, and a former soccer hooligan convicted for violent offences. Indeed the English Defence League had members who were members of both the EDL and the BNP at the same time. Some BNP members had prominent positions at the EDL. Despite having been a member of the BNP, which included numerous anti-semites and holocaust deniers amongst its ranks, Tommy Robinson has been funded by the extremist pro-Israeli Middle East Forum.
Nick Griffin who was leader of the BNP at the same time as Tommy Robinson was a member, believed like those in many Neo-Nazi groups, that the Holocaust did not happen. Nick Griffin also believed that multi-culturalism was the result of a plot by international capitalism and Zionism, which is a typical Neo-Nazi conspiracy theory. Tommy Robinson himself has attended a rally that called for a “Jew Free” Poland.
I suspect that Tommy Robinson will be refused a B1/B2 visit visa as he had been convicted of various offences. There have also been concerns that remarks he has made has increased the risk of extreme right-wing terrorism in the UK.
The frontman for the far-right, Islamophobic organisation – whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – is waiting on US visa clearance for the event, which is scheduled for November 14.
Previous criminal convictions for violence, drug possession and public order offences have prevented Robinson from entering the US on prior occasions. The EDL leader has been jailed for using a friend’s passport, illegally, in 2012 to travel to New York. Since serving that sentence, he has spent time in prison for mortgage fraud and contempt of court.
Tommy Robinson out on Police bail
However, his supporters are hoping that a Congressional invite will help Robinson overcome strict US immigration laws, despite currently being on police bail in the UK pending a potential rehearing over alleged contempt of court offences committed at Leeds Crown Court in May, 2018.
35-year-old Robinson was convicted and sentenced to 13 months for contempt of court offences. However, he was freed in August 2018 following an appeal, and a judge has since referred the case to the attorney general.
Pro-Robinson protests funded by Extremist American think tank Middle East Form
Robinson’s highly publicised protests in the UK have, in part, been funded by the Middle East Forum (MEF), a US-based think tank. The MEF has invited the EDL leader for a two-day trip to Washington D.C. alongside the right-wing, David Horowitz Freedom Center.
If granted US entry, Robinson will speak to delegates at the Conservative Opportunity Society at the invitation of Republican representative, Paul Gosar and six other members of Congress.
The initial invite will be for a closed-door event, followed by a ticketed public engagement organised by the MEF. Support for Robinson in the US has been mounting, including an endorsement from Donald Trump Jr.
Meanwhile the President’s ambassador for international religious freedom, Sam Brownback raised Robinson’s imprisonment with British officials earlier this year. In July, Brownback reportedly told the UK government that it should be more ‘sympathetic’ towards Robinson.
He also warned the British ambassador that the Trump administration might publicly condemn the UK government’s handling of Robinson’s case.
Financial support from pro-Israeli MEF despite Robinson links to Neo-Nazis
Meanwhile, the extremist Middle East Forum MEF says that they have been supporting Robinson on a personal level since his incarceration, providing legal funds and organising demonstrations, one of which was attended by Gosar himself. Supporters of Tommy Robinson have been seen publicly doing Nazi salutes.
Director of the MEF, Gregg Roman, told the UK’s Independent newspaper that he was ‘pretty sure’ Robinson’s US visa application would be approved. Roman explained that the EDL leader had been invited to the US to demonstrate the resolve an American organisation must show to keep the discussion about Islamism free, open and public.
Roman said: “We’re very aware of the controversy surrounding Mr Robinson, and the MEF does not support anyone who calls for violence against Muslims or their removal from the UK.”
Robinson an ‘inspiration’ to Muslim-haters
However, prosecutors involved in Robinson’s latest court case argued that Robinson’s social media posts were an inspiration for Darren Osborne, the man responsible for the Finsbury Park terror attack on 19 June, 2017, which targeted Muslims and was the fourth terror-related attack in Britain in 2017.
Osborne killed one man and injured at least 12 other worshippers leaving prayers outside a mosque, by mowing them down with the van he was driving. He was sentenced to life in prison in February 2018.
However, Robinson denied that his posts had anything to do with Osborne’s actions, and he has since tried to sue media outlets that reported evidence from the trial.
Recently, Robinson was at a rally in Dresden, Germany, organised by German anti-Islam group, Pegida. Robinson was invited to address protestors and said: “Now is the time for things to turn, a revolution is on the cards. Muslim invaders want to take over Germany and dominate and control Christian countries.”
Robinson added: “Peace with Islam is a false peace,” before yelling the slogan: “Wir sind das Volk” (we are the people).
MEF director, Gregg Roman, said that Robinson’s speech in Dresden was not a call to violence and stated that the EDL leader was talking about ‘a religion that has to be talked about.’
Despite Roman’s attempts to demonstrate that the MEF does not support anti-Muslim propaganda, the think tank’s very own mission statement reads: ‘The MEF promotes American interests and works to protect Western civilisation from the threat of Islamism.’
Tommy Robinson who has been described as a criminal extremist invited to the US
Campaigns director for Hope Not Hate, Matthew McGregor, said: “There is a terrible dark irony about Muslims being banned by Trump, yet a criminal extremist being allowed into the United States.”
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