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UK's Tommy Robinson: Racist, Bigot, or Hero?

Britain's Tommy Robinson has long been labeled a bigot for his stance against radical Islam. While his sudden departure from the English Defence League shocked some, it shouldn't be mistaken for surrender. Read Transcript


Reporter: FOR YEARS, HE

HAS BEEN BRITAIN'S BAD BOY.

A HERO TO MANY, THE LEFT IN

BRITAIN LABELLED HIM A

RACIST AND A NAZI.

HE IS STEVEN LENNON, ALSO

KNOWN A TOMMY ROBINSON,

FORMER HEAD OF THE ENGLISH

DEFENSE LEAGUE.

TOMMY ROBINSON WAS A

PSEUDONYM HE ADOPTED IN THE

EARLY DAYS OF THE GROUP,

WHEN IT WAS RISKY TO BE A

MEMBER.

I INTERVIEWED LENNON BEFORE

HE SHOCKED BRITAIN LAST

MONTH BY ANNOUNCING HE WAS

LEAVING THE ENGLISH DEFENSE

LEAGUE.

IT BEGAN IN THE WORKING

CLASS OF LUTEN IN 2009, WHEN

MILITANT MUSLIMS PROTESTED

AGAINST BRITISH SOLDIERS

RETURNING FROM IRAQ.

FROM THERE IT GREW TO BECOME

A SELF-STYLED DEFENDER OF

DEMOCRACY, AGAINST THE

SPREAD OF RADICAL ISLAM IN

BRITAIN.

THE E.D.O. WAS ABLE TO TURN

UP THOUSANDS OF

DEMONSTRATORS, TOUGH MEN

FROM THE WORKING CLASS.

YOU HAVE SOME ROUGH,

ROUGH-LOOKING GUYS IN YOUR

DEMONSTRATIONS?

OF COURSE.

IT WAS NEVER GOBEIN GOING

TO BE DOCTORS AND NURSES TO

STAND UP TO ISLAM ON THE

STREETS OF THIS COUNTRY.

WHEN WE FIRST FORMED, THE

RESPONSE AGAINST US WAS A

VERY VIOLENT RESPONSE FROM

MEMBERS OF THE ISLAMIC

COMMUNITY.

AND IMAGES WERE SENT ACROSS

THIS COUNTRY OF OUR

SUPPORTERS ON THE FLOORS

GETTING OUR HEADS KICKED

IN.

WHEN WE WENT TO OUR NEXT

DEMONSTRATION, HOW MANY

30-YEAR-OLD SCHOOL TEACHERS

ARE GOING TO COME OUT AND

OPPOSE MEN OF ISLAM.

THE SAME MEN ARE WILLING TO

PROTECT THEIR OWN.

Reporter: BUT AFTER

YEARS OF TRYING TO KEEP

EXTREMISTS AND NAZIS OUT OF

THE E.D.O., LENNON FINALLY

THREW IN THE TOWEL AND LEFT,

AS HE EXPLAINED ON B.B.C.'S

PROGRAM.

WE BATTLED FOR FOUR YEARS

TO KEEP EXTREMISTS AND NAZIS

OUT OF THIS MOVEMENT.

AND THEY WERE INVITED BACK.

AND THE PEOPLE IN THE

ORGANIZATIONS, THE SAME

PEOPLE THAT ARE CALLING ME A

TRADER NOW, INVITED TO STAND

AGAINST THEM ON THE STREET.

ONE OF MY DEFENCES IS

KNOCKING OUT ONE OF THESE

NAZIS.

SURELY THERE COMES A TIME IN

ANY ORGANIZATION WHEN WE

FORM A NATIONALISTIC

ORGANIZATION.

IT ATTRACTED THE WRONG

SOURCE, AS WELL AS THE RIGHT

SOURCE.

AND IT TOOK US YEARS OF

BATTLING THESE NAZIS TO GET

RID OF THEM, TO LET THEM

KNOW WE FULLY SUPPORT

ISRAEL.

Reporter: THE OTHER

CHARGE AGAINST LENNON THAT

HE HEARS OVER AND OVER IS

HOW HE IS A RACIST.

PLEASE TELL ME HOW I'M A

RACIST.

THEY COULDN'T EXPLAIN.

BECAUSE YOU ARE.

I'M NOT ONE BECAUSE YOU SAY

I'M ONE.

ANYONE WHO HAS A DIFFERENT

OPINION OF YOU IS A RACIST

OR BIGGOT.

AND PEOPLE HAVE NOT BEEN

ALLOWED TO SAY HOW THEY FEEL

BECAUSE YOUR A RACIST.

AND IF YOU'RE A RACIST, YOU

LOSE YOUR JOB.

MY GOD DAUGHTER IS BLACK AND

MY NIECE IS MIXED RACE.

Reporter: LENNON WARNS

THAT BRITISH AUTHORITIES ARE

CREATING THE CONDITIONS FOR

CIVIL WAR BY BOTH ALLOWING

THE SPREAD OF RADICAL ISLAM

AND RESTRICTING FREEDOM OF

SPEECH TO CRITICIZE AND

PROTEST AGAINST IT.

SO WE HAVE THIS DEMOCRACY

WHERE SOME OF OUR MEMBERS

HAVE BEEN GIVEN 10 YEARS NOT

TO PROTEST ABOUT ISLAM.

REALLY?

THIS IS THE LAND OF

DEMOCRACY.

IF YOU WERE TO DISCUSS WHAT

IS HAPPENING IN THIS

COUNTRY, WHAT ARE YOU

SUPPOSED TO DO.

WHEN YOU'RE ANGRY, YOU

CHANNEL THAT FRUSTRATION

THROUGH PEACEFUL PROTEST.

YOU TAKE THAT RIGHT AWAY

FROM PEOPLE, WHAT ARE THEY

GOING TO DO?

THEY'RE GOING TO BE

RESPONSIBLE FOR CREATING

MONSTERS.

THE LAST THING WE WANT IS A

WAR IN THIS COUNTRY.

BUT I SEE IT BECAUSE OF THE

WAY THE COUNTRY IS GOING.

THE BRITISH PEOPLE ARE NOT

GOING TO SIT BACK AND TAKE

MUCH MORE.

Reporter: EVEN THOUGH

HE HAS LEFT THE E.D.O.,

LENNON SAYS IT HASN'T

CHANGED HIS OPINION, THAT

RADICAL ISLAM IS THE BIGGEST

THREAT BRITAIN FACES.

PREVIOUS LEADERS HAVE

SAID THERE HAVE NEVER BEEN

PEACE ON HIS EARTH AS LONG

AS THERE IS QURAN.

AND THEN CAMERON, HE SAID

ISLAM IS A RELIGION OF

PEACE.

WHAT HAS CHANGED?

BECAUSE THE BOOK HASN'T

CHANGED.

Reporter: NOW THAT THE

MAN KNOWN AS TOMMY ROBINSON

HAS LEFT THE E.D.O., THERE

ARE FEARS IT COULD SPLINTER

AND BECOME WHAT IT HAS

ALWAYS BEEN ACCUSED OF

BEING, WHITE SUPREMEISTS.

LENNON SAYS HE HAS CHOSEN A

NEW STRATEGY, WORKING WITH

MODERATE MUSLIMS, IN THE

HOPE MORE PEOPLE WILL LISTEN

TO HIS MESSAGE.

AND STEVEN LENNON STILL

LIVES EVERY DAY UNDER A

DEATH THREAT.

I'M MORE SCARED OF THE

DEATH THREATS, AND PEOPLE

ARE GOING TO KILL ME -- OF

COURSE I AM.

I WOULDN'T BE HUMAN IF I

WASN'T.

BUT I'M TERRIFIED FOR THE

ENTIRE NEXT GENERATION OF

THIS COUNTRY, AND THIS

COUNTRY'S HISTORY, ITS

CULTURE, IT'S IDENTITY.

IT'S ALL UNDER ATTACK.

Reporter: DALE HURD,

CBN NEWS, IN LUTEN,

ENGLAND.

EMBED THIS VIDEO


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