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article imageEDL leader Tommy Robinson quits movement

By Dawn Denmar     Oct 9, 2013 in World
Tommy Robinson, founder and leader of the English Defence League (EDL), has quit the group. He has said he is sick of being linked with "morons who advocate violence against Muslims" and that he has "concerns over the dangers of far right extremism."
In an interview with Radio 5 Live yesterday Robinson said: "When some moron lifts up his top and he's got the picture of a mosque saying 'boom' and it's all over the national newspapers, it's me, it's when I pick up my kids from school the parents are looking at me, judging me on that.
"And that's not what I've stood for and my decision to do this is to be true to what I stand for. And whilst I want to lead the revolution against Islamist ideology, I don't want to lead the revolution against Muslims.
"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."
Mr Robinson's second-in-command, Kevin Carroll, has also decided to leave the group.
Robinson set up the EDL in 2009 and the group organised a number or marches and demonstrations across the UK, many of which resulted in violence and confrontations with police or anti-fascists.
It seems the decision to quit the EDL may have been influenced by discussions held with counter-extremist think tank the Quilliam Group. Quilliam commented that it hopes Robinson will "invest his energy and commitment in countering extremism of all kinds, supporting the efforts to bring along his former followers and encouraging his critique of Islamism as well as his concern with far-right extremism".
The Quilliam Group's Chairman, Maajid Nawaz, said: "As well as being a very positive change for the United Kingdom, this is a very proud moment for Quilliam. This represents not a change but a continuation for us, as challenging extremism of all kinds forms the basis of our work.
"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."
It can be seen from Robinson's above statement that he does not intend to quit his attempts to lead a "revolution against Islamist ideology" and it could perhaps be surmised this move by Robinsom and Carroll may have more to do with their forthcoming trial later this month, where they've been charged with obstructing police officers near the scene of the May killing of soldier Lee Rigby.
Certainly Professor Matthew Goodwin of Nottingham University, who has studied the EDL, seems to think the news a little bizarre. He said: "I would treat the announcement with extreme caution given Stephen Lennon's (aka Tommy Robinson's) recent comments against Islam in general on Twitter, and already signs that a new movement that is not geared around demonstrations may be formed.
"In hindsight, this may all owe more to the quest for publicity than to a genuine conversion to democratic ideas"
More about edl, anti muslim, english defence league, tommy robinson, United Kingdom
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