I must admit, I saw in Quilliam’s rush to put the former EDL leader before the camera, a great danger. Tommy Robinson is not the world’s greatest thinker. I knew that he wouldn’t be anything like the bookish intellectuals who emerged from Hizb ut Tahrir to denounce Islamist extremism with the words of John Stuart Mill. In fact, I fully expected him – and still do expect him – to say crass, bigoted, and ill judged things. In his first TV interview with Jon Snow, he did not do enough to apologise for the hatred which he has whipped up and the fear he engendered with his demonstrations. So, I felt some foreboding.
Quilliam’s thinking was this. The first step in deradicalising somebody is for them to break with their past associations. Change then comes gradually.
Well, they were right, so it seems. I have been too cautious.
From the Huffington Post:
There’s been ups and downs, laughs and tears, but the trans-Atlantic friendship between the former EDL leader Tommy Robinson and anti-Islam activists Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller may have finally run its course.
It was rumoured that the Robinson and Spencer/Geller were to launch a new initiative: stop the Islami(z/s)ation of Nations. Well, that looks unlikely to happen now:
“It has become painfully obvious that the enemies of freedom have broken Tommy Robinson. The British authorities’ harassment, the systematic persecution, the jailings, the solitary confinement, the threatening of his life, the threats to his family, his having to move several times, his children having to change schools, the constant false charges – he finally cracked.
“They broke him. He made a deal with the devil. He didn’t want to go back to jail, and this looks like his bid to stay out.”
This is an important achievement. I tip my hat to Quilliam.