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Trump backers support UK prisoner known for Islamophobia campaign

Muslim Times(Web Desk) -Supporters of US President Donald Trump are taking up the cause of an imprisoned far-right, anti-Muslim figure in the UK, raising fears that extreme right-wing movements and Islamophobia will be revived in Britain.

Reports on Sunday indicated that more people from Trump’s inner circle were joining a campaign to have Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, widely known by his pseudonym Tommy Robinson, released from jail.

The Founder of the English Defense League (EDL), a group known for its Islampphobic campaign over the past years, Robinson has repeatedly been convicted by the British courts for a variety of charges, including possession of drugs, fraud and assault.

He pleaded guilty to the contempt of court after he was arrested in May outside a courtroom in Leeds while live-streaming. He has appealed his 13-months jail term which came due to his breach of reporting restrictions around a trial and also for breaching a suspended sentence related to another contempt of court charge.

However, Trump backers, known as the “all-right” camp in the United States, have reportedly increased their activities to spread conspiracy theories in the social media about Robinson’s case. Those activities have raised fears that Britain may experience an unwanted revival of the far-right.

In an interview to London’s LBC radio last week, Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist, defended Robinson while saying off-mic that he was “the backbone” of Britain.

Sam Brownback, Trump’s envoy for international religious freedom, has also discussed Robinson’s case at a June lunch with British ambassador Kim Darroch.

The pro- Robinson campaign by Trump supporters gained a momentum after Donald Trump Jr, the US president’s son, commented about the prisoner in one of his tweets.

Robinson, known for staging rallies against the spread of Islam in London in 2013, has been described as a violent far-right racist. He has been convicted several times in the US on charges of using someone else’s passport and drug possession.

Trump supporters have even paid for Robinson’s defense and protests with US-based Middle East Forum, a right-wing think-tank which has famous British fellows on board, spending tens of thousands of dollars to foot his legal bills, among other activities.

The institute even paid for a trip by US Republican Congressman Paul Gosar to London last week which coincided with Trump’s presence in the city for an official visit. Gosar’s defense of Robinson during a speech last Saturday in London met with criticism.

Imraan Siddiqi, executive director of the Arizona branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in a statement that Gosar’s speech was an unprecedented move by a US politician to support hate and bigotry.

“It is inexplicable for a sitting US congressman to speak at, let alone attend a rally for someone responsible for spreading as much hate and bigotry as Tommy Robinson,” said Siddiqi.

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