Arab spring refugee tide has made the immigration issue yet more stretching for the European governments. In some towns the indigenous population is already in the minority. Can migrants overflow breed new fascism? Will Islam win politically? What has to happen to ensure peacefulness of the seemingly inevitable Europe ethnic makeover? Our guest today is Tommy Robinson, founder and former leader of the English Defence League (EDL) notoriously known for its anti-Islam stance.
RT: Our guest today is Tommy Robinson, who used to be the face and the leader of the English Defense League, street protest movement, known for its strong anti-Islam stance. Tony, it’s great to have you with us on this program today.
Now, your recent departure from the English Defense League surprised, if not shocked both your supporters and opponents. Looking back – are you proud of the EDL leadership or disillusioned with it?
Tommy Robinson: I am proud of forming the English Defense League, completely. For too many years in this country working-class people have been ignored and no one has been listening to their voice, and within four years we grew up so much that people around the world heard what we were saying, they’ve heard how we feel, how we are living down at the bottom. There’s a massive gap between how the people are living and what the politicians there speak about.None of the politicians, our political elected leaders, will dare to criticize and say the things that need to be said, so we formed this organization, it was created for the right reasons, it was born out of passion in defense of our armed forces, and with progress we’ve brought in many. If you look back at older things being highlighted, be that Muslim pedophile grooming gangs, which are now being tackled and smashed one end of the country to the other. They were ignored, accommodated and facilitated in a conspiracy of silence from religious leaders to police leaders, political leaders for 20 years. Only now they are being tackled. Many issues, whether it be FGN ... in each topic we’ve brought to the forefront, which has been affecting us and our communities, we have been proven right and correct. We’ve created a platform and a voice and by leaving, I've made the decision of really, how we get to our end goal which is that we don’t want conflict in this country, but we’re heading there. It’s terrifying to think of what’s next 20-30 years may hold for the next generation of youth in our country, with completely polarized communities, and complete non integration, and complete segregation. Now when by leaving, I want to work out a way that if we can solve that, we’ve made a noise about that and what’s we’ve being doing for years.
RT: So, are you going to attend future EDL marches?
TR: I will not be attending future EDL marches, no. If I thought that was a right way to continue going on, I would still be a leader of EDL.
RT: Here’s what we have right now. Many in EDL think you’re a coward and a traitor, and you appear no closer to those who you have long opposed – so you’re threatened from both sides, which way will you go next? Are you going to maybe, get to know the Muslim community better?
TR: What I want to do is to take an opportunity to take this mainstream. Basically, what we’ve been saying was criticized, or ignored and pushed to the margin because of far-right extremist tag they managed to give us, and due to minority of elements that come to our demonstrations. These matters are too serious to be dismissed, so what I want to do is put them in the mainstream, and make the people to listen to what we’re saying rather than ignore it and dismiss it, and I think we’re already getting there. Since leaving the EDL I believe people are listening now to what we’re saying rather that dismissing us after two minutes of hearing of what we’re saying, just saying “Oh, they are racist” or “They are far-right” or “They are hooligans”, which is what they’ve managed to staple many members of our organization with, which is not a true reflection of the people within the movement. We have our problems, we didn’t plan this we – we started our movement that went so big so quick, we’ve learned along the way, we’ve made mistakes along the way. But what we want to do now is to find a best way to use it. And yes, we have to work with reformist and true moderate Muslims in this country, but what we’re seeing in this country, is that our government seems to be swayed by Saudi petrol money, we see the representatives that we see on TV representing the Muslim community are usually extreme or have links to Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamist organizations – which we don’t want, I believe there’s many Muslims in this country that don’t want that either. And we want to bridge the gap now and have a united front against extremism.
RT: I see a little bruise on your nose – has it to do anything with you leaving the EDL?
TR: I’ve always got a bruise on my nose. Over the last 4 1/2 years, every time I’ve come out of my house, I got into a confrontation. I live in Luton, it’s been named as a heartland of the Islamic boom, in Europe, actually. It’s where the 7/7 suicide bombers left from, it's the fertilizer bomb plot, the Stockholm bomber – they’ve all been radicalized in my hometown. So yes, I have been attacked since leaving the EDL.
RT: But who attacked you mostly?
TR: It was hostile Muslim youth. The problem that I want to highlight is the Islamism ideology. But at the same time as having an Islamism ideology; we have a very hostile attitude by general Muslim youth against non-Muslims. It’s breeding the hostilities, we have to get to bottom of that, of why do we have that in our country, and it’s causing many problems up and down in our country and in many communities, which is why this resentment is going on. Of course, I have been threatened by the people from genuine far-right. What we’re doing in this country is that we’re calling “far-right” anyone who is critical of Islam, which is dangerous, we shouldn’t be doing that, because there are genuine fears and concerns… There is a legitimate far-right that represents 5% of the threat to this country, but the 95% of the threat to this country is from Islamist terrorist ideology. Now, the genuine far-right are outraged with me, they were outraged with me for last 4 and a half years, they’ve been on the fringes of the EDL, trying to hijack it, trying to get there, sway it and direct it in the way that they want to go, which is not that I wanted to do from day one. I believe in the all-inclusive society, they haven’t been happy with that, they hate me, I had been attacked by the far-right for 4 1/2 years, they believe I am a race traitor, and as you just said now people say I am a coward or a traitor. So, I’m going to move forward in attacking and defeating the Islamist ideology in this country. I’m not a coward – the decision that we made was the hardest decision, what would have been more coward is just to leave – at which my family would have been happier. By doing the move we made, we send a strong message of what we see is the way forward in uniting communities to tackle the extremist elements within all communities.
RT: Your stance on Muslim ideologies has softened somewhat, from what I understand. What do you think of it, what do you make of Islam?
TR: Actually, my stance hasn’t dampened or softened at all - if people listen to what I say. What I’ve been saying for 4 1/2 years, which may have been distorted or lost in the translation, due to actions at demonstrations – is what I am saying now. It is a fact that I don’t hate Muslims, I believe Muslims are the first victims of the Islamist ideology; they’re also victims of terrorism. There’s a big struggle going on, not just in this country, it’s going on across Europe, it’s going on across world – between decent modern Muslims and Salafist, Wahhabi extremist sects of Islam. And it’s a struggle that I believe the moderates may lose, as they lost in many countries. Then we’ve seen uprising in the Egypt and in certain places about now. To succeed in this country we have to support and stand with the Muslims that wish to take on this extremist ideology and political Islam – which is what we’ve done by making this move. So my stance is the same, my stance is that there are great Muslims but there is serious problem embedded within their ideology, which is being used and is being manipulated with Saudi money and we shouldn’t shy away from tackling this issues and we’ve got no politicians brave enough to criticize or even point out the problem. No one can even identify the problem, if you can’t identify it – you’re not going to solve it. But keep hiding and telling everyone that we are a multi-cultural love nest and everything is great just adds to the problem.
RT: I always wanted to ask you – have you read the Quran yourself?
TR: I’ve read the Quran, yes. I was quite surprised with many of the things I found there. For example, many times it says, “You can take non-Muslims as sexual slaves.” With the Muslim grooming pedophile rings in this country, we have Muslim men taking non-Muslim women as sexual slaves… Maybe it’s got nothing to do with that scripture, but maybe it’s being manipulated in a way to justify these men carrying on. So, there are many things that alarmed me. Obviously it’s all down to interpretation, because there are many other Muslims in this country who follow the same Quran, and who don’t want to chop people’s heads off, to murder and kill.
RT: It has to be interpretation, because, you know, what took place during the Crusades in the Middle Ages wasn’t propagated in the Bible either, so it has to be the question of interpreting things the right way. But, anyways, both anti- and pro-Muslim movements are adding to the problem no one is solving, right? So what is the problem, do you have the solution?
TR: Do I have a solution? If someone wants to be an Islamist in this country we need to make it really difficult for them, we don’t need to be setting and legitimizing a hundred Shariah law courts in this country, we need to take tough stance against all of it. Right now, we have immigrants coming to this country and we don’t know if Samantha Lewthwaite walked into this country. Mosques are not regulated or moderated in any way in this country, so every time we see an undercover documentary in this country, every single time, I think last week we heard18 out of 56 mosques agreed to marry children – Muslim, young, 14-year old girls , to men. So every time we see it, we see hatred, we see homophobia, we see all these problems, and no one’s got the solution to even tackling the problems, and no one even wants to hold them or try to stop them. They just want to keep building, allowing Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran to fund millions and millions of pounds worth of building of mosques in this country, where then they have madrasahs, with hundreds of thousands of 4 to 16-year-old children being schooled in these madrasahs, which is encouraging complete non-integration with the society – it’s not going to work. So, at least to tackle to problem, we have to establish how we can attempt to stop it, and that's by halting the influx of foreign money coming into this country to build religious institutions…
RT: I am going to ask you to be more precise, and I’ll tell you why – because in other European countries, for instance, in France, it’s not just the case of mosques being monitored, but women aren’t being allowed to wear headscarves in the universities. So, are you just against the extreme forms of Islam or – and – would you be happy to see British Muslims assimilated, be more British?
TR: Yes, that’s what we want, that’s our goal. We want integration, and we haven’t got it, so we have to find how to get and to bring it about. When you say about women not being allowed to wear headscarves in France – I think that's completely wrong. I have no problem with the hijab. I do have a problem with the burka, I believe that in certain institutions – in schools, in banks, in places like this – where there is a security threat – they should be banned. When you say “in France,” I believe that it’s in schools that they have no religious wear… I don’t believe that 6 and 7 year old children should be wearing hijabs, but if that’s an old lady that wishes to wear it – then so be it. No one in this country actually cares if the Muslims want to practice their own religion in their own faith, in their own way – it’s when it starts dominating us and threatens our culture and our belief, and we have the Shariah laws when people are violently forced it, and this indoctrination of young people to hate Britain – which is what we see.
RT: The EDL is labeled as a neo-Nazi movement. Could the way the organization operates right now be fueling new Anders Breviks?
TR: The EDL is not actually labeled as a neo-Nazi organization. The media and far-left organizations may wish to do that. The police have an extremism unit which classifies organizations: far-right, far-left…We have National Front as extreme far right, the British National Party as far right, and the EDL is in the middle. So it’s not a Nazi organization. Yes, it had its problems where we’ve fought from within to keep Nazis out of the organization. Britain doesn't really have the same problems across Europe with neo-Nazis being as powerful and strong as they are in other countries, and we're blessed for that really, but we do have a growing problem which will grow with the Islamist threat, because when we take away any platform for a healthy debate by labeling anyone who says anything as far-right, we actually drive and push people to the far right; What we're hoping to do is to open up a healthy platform, and when you talk about Anders Breivik, if you take his manifesto, I think it's page 1,683, he described the EDL as naive fools, he said the two ideologies can never be reconciled, and we believe democracy can solve the problem, and we also welcome people from Africa and different continents, to be leaders of the organization which he was completely opposed to – so really trying to link it with Anders Breivik is really kind of petty, it's miles apart.
RT: I’m not trying to equate it to Anders Breivik, I’m just saying – do you think a movement such as EDL could breed someone like him? I am not saying it’s a fascist movement, but it has been labeled by many as far right.
TR: What bred Anders Breivik was a silence from anyone to tackle the issue. He said that. He actually blamed the media for the reasoning why he did it. Now if I continue down the path, yeah then we will create monsters in this country as well as in Europe, monsters like Breivik, whom when they see no way out, no one talking about these issues, no light at the end of the tunnel in solving these problems and everyone being criticized and called a racist and being beaten down with this big racist stick, for even talking about them then you'll drive that way of thinking underground and it will become more resentment, more anger, and it will be a worrying trend in the near future with genuine threats from the far right.
RT: So what you’re saying is that Breivik is actually bred by government’s ignorance to attend to immigration issues – are you and your calls being heard by the ruling elite?
TR: What l’m saying is what he said, not what I’m saying, his reasoning for doing that. What was thing final question there, sorry I missed that…
RT: Are your calls being heard by the ruling elite?
TR: We hope they will, by the government, not the present one… We've been hoping for the past 4 1/2 years that by getting out on the street we sort of label it as a cry for help so that people listen to how we’re living. The government is not living in towns and cities like Luton where we come from, they're miles apart, and they're so out of touch with what it’s like. I don’t think anyone's got their finger on the pulse of the amount of resentment and anger. When I look around my country, and see what’s happening to it, it hurts, it can get me emotional, when I see what's becoming of our great country, and we don't want that, I don’t want that and as a father, as every father in this country should have a duty to hand down a safe and prosperous Britain to the next generation and we're failing miserably in that duty, unlike what our forefathers died and sacrificed themselves for, we are failing due to this era that's been created of political correctness and sensitivity, where people are too scared to even speak about these issues, and what we're hoping to do is create a platform to give an opportunity for people from those working-class communities to bring these problems to the forefront with the government, from members of all different parties and have dialogue with all of them, we've been hoping for 4 and a half years when I’ve been leading the English Defense League that we would open dialogue with the main political parties and that hasn’t come about, and this is now a change of tactics. What we see as the right way forward for all communities in the country because we don't want conflict, and inevitably with the way things are going they are heading towards conflict and everything we want to do is to avoid that, but to avoid it we need to really get to deep root cause of the problems and at least be able to discuss them and work out solutions to them and not just burry them under the carpet, and keep hoping they’ll go away as they won't. As demographics in this country are increasing, the Islamic community's increasing, within that community the problems are increasing, the resentment from the non-Muslim community is increasing, it’s not heading down a good path.
RT: In your hometown, Luton, white Britons are actually an ethnic minority. Could that be soon the same for Europe as a whole?
TR: It will be the same, it's not it could be, it will be. Demographics, statistics, this is not scaremongering, this is facts. On average in Britain, the Muslim community has 5.6 children, the non-Muslims are having 1.3. Now that wouldn’t really be a problem if we didn’t have a problem with all these problems associated with it. Now in Luton white Britons are an ethnic minority, now that doesn’t actually bother me, in the home town I’ve grown up - in that it's a multi-cultural town, and i believe I’ve benefited from that. But there’s a culture… with the Islamic community when we see the growth of Islam within that culture we see the negative things that come with it, and it’s changing the whole area, the rules, the law, the food, and a lot of things are changing – they are so different and these are the issue that need to be expressed. A lot of people are fearful, you see, the matter that you are talking about, a lot of people are worried, and we would be worried if when we looked to Islamic leaders, such as when we saw a different Islamic leader, the Iranian president, saying Islam will conquer Europe through the woman's womb. These are not things that we are saying. You can go online and listen to even Shahid Malik in this country who was the second in charge of Gordon Brown. In a speech he said: “In 2001 we had one Muslim MP, in 2002 we had two, in 2005, we had six Muslim MPs, in 2010, we had 10,” and he says that within 20 years, every MP in this country will be Muslim. And in between saying each of these things, he says “Inshallah” which is “Allah is willing,” so what he's saying is that Allah is will to take over our parliament, our government, and then he says within 30 years, “the prime minister of our country will share our faith.” Now that's not what we’re saying, it's what they are saying.
Now should we be fearful of that? We don’t vote based on religion. Religion and politics need to be kept completely separated. But with the Islamic community that's not what's happening. So what we will see is people voting purely because he’s a Muslim, and that’s what Shahid Malik is telling us. We can look to any country in Europe and we can find Muslim leaders and community leaders saying these sort of things and if Muslim leaders spend 95 percent of time attacking people and criticizing Islam, while if they spent 95 percent of their time attacking the problems within their ideology and within their communities, they'd be no need for people like ourselves or organizations like I’ve formed, so I think there needs to be a revolution with Muslims within Europe, to see the road we're going down is not a pretty one, and if they want freedom, democracy, liberty, all these great things that they come to the western world for, then they need to stand up.
RT: Do you think a European country at any time in the future could actually elect a Muslim president?
TR: Yes, of course it will. It's not “if.” What we’ve seen in Belgium recently is we’ve seen the creation of a Shariah party, an extreme Islamist section similar to what we have in this country with Anjem Choudary, we've seen them form a political party and they’ve been voted in by Muslims, so in a way certain sections of the Islamic community will wish to use our democracy to end our democracy, because we’ve seen undercover documentaries in Tower Hamlets, which had been called the Islamic Borough of Tower Hamlets, where the Mayor, Luftur Rahman, was kicked out of the Labour Party for his extremist ties and links, his spiritual leader describes all non-Muslims as filthy cattle, so he’s an extremist with all these links to IFE, all these organizations that wish to get a caliphate state, and the introduction of Shariah law in Britain – he's the mayor in charge of a billion pound budget, because he's been elected to that position. Then as soon as he got into that position he started drawing the funding away from any moderate Muslim organizations, any real moderates which are in uproar and they are upset by what's going on there. But the money, taxpayers money has been directed towards Islamist groups, to madrasas, and that needs to be seen as a blueprint for towns and cities across this country and Europe, so when we look to what's going on… if you look to Hizb ut-Tahrir which is a political organization, they had a conference in 2007, they had 10,000 people at their conference, out of a population that’s just 3 percent of the country, now the Labour Party, they couldn't even get 10,000 people.
So when it comes to politics and the political sway within the Islamic community – yes, it's worrying. Hizb ut-Tahrir by the way is an extremist organization and is banned in many European countries, but are given the free rein in our country,
RT: Many critics, just like you, say that Europe is changing greatly because of immigration, and they believe that culture, lifestyle, general behavior is changing around the major cities in Europe. So, you don’t believe there could be peaceful makeover of Europe?
TR: There could be a peaceful makeover if we tackle it now. If we leave it - I know at present in this country 5 percent of the population are Muslim - if we wait until there's 20-25 percent, and then start to tackle these hardcore issues of outlawing Shariah laws, banning the burka, all these sort of issues that need addressing - we won't be able to. So, we need to get to grips with it now, we need to remove Islamist voices from communities, we need to stop empowering them by supporting them and working with them at government levels and local council levels, and we need to empower - there's many Muslim voices in this country that are opposed to all the things | am opposed to - we need to empower them, we need to call on Muslims to stand up, because if they wish to live in Britain and we wish to have a harmonious society and a cohesive society, we need to change the direction we're going down and obviously to bring about change is to get people’s feeling hurt and while where we are at the minute, it's not a time for tip-toeing around people's feet, it’s a time for standing on their feet and saying these are the hardcore issues that we have to solve if we wish to avoid massive civil disorder or big problems in the future, and that’s where I’m trying to get to now to solve these problems. Do I believe they can be solved? I hope so, you know what I mean.
RT: The other side of this story and the major concern of this other side is, of course, the return of fascism, but this time with Muslims as a target, and I’m not talking about Britain in particular, but in Europe.
TR: If you look across Europe, what you see is that the fastest-growing political parties are the anti-Islamist political parties. Now, why, why is that? It’s because everyone in all these countries feels the same, we feel like we haven’t been asked anything, we feel like we are being treated like second-class citizens. There’s a two-tier system going on across the board. You see Marine le Pen predicted to be the next leader in France. It’s across the country and that's because there's a problem. So unless they tackle that problem, people will be pushed further and further to that way of thinking. And in Europe, what surprised me is that when i formed the English defense league, and started talking to other groups and looking into what was happening, I was appalled and disgraced, and shocked at all what was happening in Sweden, in Malmo, in all the different cities in France. I was shocked to see when I opened my eyes to the problems that occurred. What we have to ask ourselves is – we’ve had immigration into Britain, we’ve had Sikh community, the Hindi community, the West Indian community, the Irish community, but we haven’t had the same problems and the same issues. So, the issues are coming from the Islamist ideology which is being allowed to flourish and spread across Europe unchallenged. It’s not just being allowed; it’s being facilitated and supported by a hard-left, far-left agenda. Many of this far-left communist or Marxist organizations, which are very prominent in Europe as well, are siding with the Islamists, because they hate democracy, they hate the rule of law, they see it as the biggest way to bring down all the things that we cherish, our freedoms that we enjoy. There’s a very loose coalition from organizations that you won’t think of without a coalition across Europe, and what is adding to is divisive to the far-right politics.
RT: Thank you so much for this interview. Our guest today was Tommy Robinson, the founder and the former leader of the English Defense League. See you in the next edition of Sophie & Co.