The leader and founder of the English Defence League said Tuesday that he’s quitting the EDL because the group that speaks out against radical Islam is too extreme itself.
Tommy Robinson said he no longer agrees with his group’s tactics, which in the past have included protests that grew violent. The EDL was formed in 2009 out of worries of Sharia law being brought to Britain and the proliferation of Islam in the country.
“I have been considering this move for a long time because I recognize that, though street demonstrations have brought us to this point, they are no longer productive,” Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, said in a statement sent to the Independent. "I acknowledge the dangers of far-right extremism and the ongoing need to counter Islamist ideology not with violence but with better, democratic ideas.”
The EDL has been viewed in some circles as an Islamophobic and racist organization, but the group disagrees and calls itself a human rights group. Its website reads, “Not Racist, Not Violent, Just No Longer Silent!”
On Robinson’s Twitter account, the former EDL head said the decision to step away from the group was “the most difficult day of my life!”
“I thank [English Defence League] supporters for their messages of support,” Robinson tweeted Tuesday morning. For me this is a step forwards not backwards.”
â€” Adam (@TeaKae421) October 8, 2013
Maybe Tommy Robinson will stand as an independent M.E.P.. Or at least try to..? The idea that nothing is impossible really does scare me..
â€” Craig Little (@Future_Compost) October 8, 2013
Great news Tommy Robinson has left EDL now all we need is tellmama to follow suit and drop their hate filled fans and work towards peace.
â€” Sheryl (@sheryl2311) October 8, 2013
Tommy Robinson has NOT renounced ANY views, he is just changing his tactics. Yet liberals still applaud him. We have a lot of work to do.
â€” South London AF (@SouthLondonAF) October 8, 2013