English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson was interviewed today on BBC West Midlands radio about the EDL’s upcoming demonstration in Birmingham. Halfway through the segment a caller from the UAF (Unite Against Fascism) was given a chance to air his views on the EDL in an exchange with the program’s host:
Below is an article from Suite101 with more information about Tommy’s BBC appearance:
UK: EDL Leader, Tommy Robinson Appears on BBC Radio West Midlands
Having just interviewed Waseem Zaffar, Labour Councillor for Lozells & East Handsworth ward, Birmingham, about his letter to the Home Secretary, Teresa May, requesting that the EDL demonstration, planned for Birmingham on Saturday 29th October be banned, Adrian Goldberg then spoke to Tommy Robinson, leader of the English Defence League to hear his side of the story.
Why Are the EDL Protesting in Birmingham Again?
Adrian Goldberg asked Tommy Robinson to explain what he plans to do in Victoria Square next week and why he is doing it? “We’re doing it…there’s a list of reasons, where do I start?” “There’s constant problems coming from the Birmingham area, I talk to Brummies on regular occasions about what’s happening within their communities.” Mr Robinson said with enthusiasm. “We’ve seen undercover mosque programmes, constantly, anytime it goes to Birmingham. You’ve seen the Madrasa schools, where it’s a ticking time bomb. What’s being taught in these Islamic Madrasa schools, across the country – it’s homophobic, it’s anti-Semitic, it’s anti-democratic and it’s anti-British and a whole generation are being turned against us. As we’ve seen they can’t even walk on the same side of the street as us.”
“So what is homophobic, anti-Semitic and anti-British?” Mr Goldberg enquired. “Their views on…you had a preacher at Birmingham University, come over to Birmingham University last year. He is on record as saying, that, when he is talking about adultery and homosexuality, that it is a public crime, it deserves a public punishment. Adultery is punishable by death, a slow and painful death by stoning – and he’s talking at Birmingham University!” Mr Robinson said.
Mr Goldberg responded: “That is a preacher (I’m not aware of this – but, I’m not disputing that it happened, I just don’t know) that’s a preacher that came to Birmingham, who is not of the Birmingham Muslim community.”
“You’ve just had six local Muslims arrested again.” Mr Robinson added. Mr Goldberg didn’t think that they should be commenting on people that had not yet been convicted, in keeping with the finest British tradition and that would ensure that they could carry on the conversation without being taken off the airwaves. Tommy agreed. Mr Goldberg asked whether Tommy believed that as a whole the Muslim community of Birmingham were homophobic, anti-Semitic and anti-British.
“No, I believe that if they are following the teachings of the Quran, then yeah, it’s homophobic, yes it’s anti-Semitic. Do not take Jews or Christians as your friends. It promotes death for homosexuals. It promotes a lot of hatred. There is so much hatred coming out of it. Kill the disbelievers wherever you find them. Strike fear into the heart of the disbeliever. All these things”
Mr Robinson went on: “But don’t get me wrong, I’ve grown up in Luton, in a multi-cultural town. Some of the best people I’ve met growing up are Muslim. Yeah? I know there’s great Muslims. No one needs to win that argument with me. What I’m saying is there is a serious problem with certain ideologies of Islam, that is happening across our country. Birmingham is being hit big with it. A lot of people are worried with what’s happening in their communities. The Islamists controlling their communities.”
Mr Robinson continued: “You’ve got Hizb ut-Tahrir, constantly, one of the most extremist organisations in the world, they’re banned in most other European countries, constantly having rallies and marches, etc and seminars in Birmingham. “ I don’t know about that, I thought Hizb ut-Tahrir were actually banned in the UK as well Tommy?
Mr Robinson corrected Mr Goldberg: “No they’re not. No they’re not. They’re not banned. David Cameron keeps promising to ban them, but as we see it’s all talk every time with our politicians. And we don’t see anything like local Muslim MPs, like your man who was just on the radio. We don’t see him coming out calling for them to be banned, when they have their rallies, they have their marches! Mr Goldberg said that he was not aware of any Hizb ut-Tahrir rally or march in Birmingham at any point.
Mr Goldberg mentioned a story ran on BBC West Midlands about Anjem Choudary, who he said represents what most people would regard as an extremist Muslim ideology.
Anjem Choudary believes that ultimately, homosexuality is a sin against god and should be treated, certainly in an Islamic state, with the harshest penalties. “When Anjem Choudary and some of his supporters gathered in Birmingham, in places like Sparkbrook and in Alum Rock, a group of local Muslim leaders got together the local Muslim community and very politely, but very firmly, they said to Anjem Choudary, we don’t want you here. You do not represent the views of Muslims in Birmingham. You will stir up trouble in our community and we don’t want you. That was the local Muslim community, standing strong, turning away extremists within their midst. That surely, is more representative of the Muslim community in Birmingham than the kind of image you’re propagating I would suggest.” Mr Goldberg put to Mr Robinson.
“OK. But when they do that, when they do that, you class them as ‘standing strong’ and ‘heroic moderates’ I guess. But when we stand against Anjem Choudary a lot of people want to class us as extremists. We do exactly what you just said in our communities. Just because we are non-Muslim, we completely go against what he said.” Tommy reminded Mr Goldberg why they originally came to Birmingham:
“We came to Birmingham because Anjem Choudary held an Islamic road show in Birmingham city centre, with hundreds of Muslims and had a big banner that read Jesus was a Muslim and they converted an 11 year old child, called Sean, without his parents, who was shopping in the city centre with his friends, they got him up on stage and they converted him, in the middle of Birmingham city centre to Islam. Now, the local Islamic community response to that was what? It was nothing! We come to Birmingham to try and highlight this issue, we came to Birmingham with placards that read ‘Muslim – no problem’, Extremist Muslim – big problem.”
Mr Goldberg said that he had seen a flag, amongst his followers at least, with his own eyes saying ‘Allah is a paedo’ (God is a paedophile). Mr Goldberg said he saw painted banners saying that. Mr Robinson said that he hadn’t seen any such painted banner, saying that people were shouting that. Mr Robinson admitted: “There is a lot of anger. There is a lot of frustration. Now, we’re trying to channel that anger, harness it and direct it in the right route. Which is peacefully protesting. If you look at how our demonstrations have gone since 2009. You can’t expect purity from an organisation that’s six months old, but we’re two years old now. Our demonstrations are peaceful now. We have a right to come to Birmingham. We have the right to highlight it and I am in no doubt at all that local Islamic youth will come out and attack us, as they do wherever we go in the country. That’s what happens. That’s what happened in Birmingham last time and when you see…and we are condemned straight away for it. And there is a lot of frustration. There’s a lot of anger and at times it will boil over. People are angry. People are angry at what’s happening to their country. Islamist control is destroying our communities and that’s what you’re seeing on the street.”
Coming Back to Birmingham
Finally, Mr Goldberg asked Mr Robinson: “When you last came to Birmingham, the EDL, because of the violence; and I accept that you would argue that you didn’t cause the violence, although I did see EDL supporters, also throwing bottles into the street, on New Street – there was violence on both sides that I witnessed. But you said that you would not come back to Birmingham. West Midlands Police said that you were no longer welcome in Birmingham. Why are you coming back?”
“Because nothing has changed in Birmingham. No one is listening. It’s not like we’ve any confidence that West Midlands Police force or local councillors are going to address the problems. They are not addressing them. They are pretending that they are not there. The black community and the white community in Birmingham are treated with iron fists. The Islamic community are treated with kid gloves and that’s just the way it is. And it’s not on, You can’t have a two-tier policing system. There can be no master race. And I’m sorry, but there is a master race in certain areas of this country and it’s Islam!”
Hat tips: Gaia and JP.