Soldier discharged after Army launches investigation into video of young soldiers with Tommy Robinson
Categories: Latest News
Thursday October 11 2018
The British Army has launched an investigation into a video that surfaced which seemingly showed young British soldiers or cadets cheering far-right agitator Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, better known by his pseudonym Tommy Robinson.
Robinson, the ex-leader of the English Defence League (EDL) and current leader of PEGIDA UK (an off-shoot of PEGIDA-Germany, an explicitly Islamophobic organisation), posted a picture of himself surrounded by a group of young soldiers.
This was accompanied by a video posted on Facebook on Monday, 8th October, by Robinson which showed the young men cheering his name. The video was accompanied with the caption: “A moment like this makes it all worth while [sic]. Today I met real British heroes”.
Sky News added that a soldier who appeared in the video has been discharged. The recruit apparently enjoyed a long record of disciplinary problems with this incident being “the straw that broke the camel’s back”.
Mr Robinson, real name Mr Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, has been criticised for his far-right and Islamophobic views espoused during and since his time as the leader of the EDL – a far-right movement which focuses on promoting anti-Muslim hatred in the UK. Since leaving the EDL, Mr Robinson launched a similar organisation, Pegida UK, which is a self-described anti-Islam group and has links to other sister organisations across Europe.
He has been credited for propagating Islamophobia and for inspiring hatred and violence against Muslims. He was also credited for the radicalisation of the Finsbury Park terrorist, Darren Osborne.
Mr Robinson was persuaded to leave the EDL by the Quilliam Foundation in 2013. He later claimed that the organisation had promised him vast amounts of money and in his book, ‘Enemy of the State’, he stated: “In October 2013 you might have seen a lot about Quilliam taking the credit for effectively converting me…Quilliam wanted to be seen to be facilitating my exit from the EDL and taking the credit for it”.
He was recently permanently banned from Twitter allegedly because he posted “Islam promotes killing people”; he had also previously posted “I’d personally send every adult Muslim that has come into the EU over the past 12 months back tomorrow if I could. Fake refugees”.
A spokeswoman for the army has responded by stating: “Far-right ideology is completely at odds with the values and ethos of the armed forces. The armed forces have robust measures in place to ensure those exhibiting extremist views are neither tolerated nor permitted to serve”.
The Islamic religious advisor to the armed forces, Imam Asim Hafiz, added: “Any form of racism, discrimination or extremism is taken extremely seriously and will be dealt with accordingly. The armed forces remain absolutely committed to welcoming individuals from across all faiths and cultures into its ranks”.
The photos and videos will come as a shock to many who consider the British Army to be representative of the multicultural society we live in, and especially the families of the 400,000 Muslim soldiers who fought for the British Army in World War I and the 1,000,000 Muslim soldiers in World War II.
It is commendable that the Army has quickly issued an investigation into the matter, but also imperative that it distances itself from Robinson and continues to dedicate itself to being more inclusive.