English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson quits over 'dangers of far-right extremism'
Counter-extremism think tank Quilliam has announced Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll, leaders of the English Defence League, have decided to quit the far-right group.
In a statement released by the London based foundation, Mr Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon said: “I have been considering this move for a long time because I recognise that, though street demonstrations have brought us to this point, they are no longer productive.
"I acknowledge the dangers of far-right extremism and the ongoing need to counter Islamist ideology not with violence but with better, democratic ideas.”
Quilliam said they had been working with Mr Robinson, who they say wishes to exit the group along with Mr Carroll "because they feel they can no longer keep extremist elements at bay".
Quilliam said they had previously identified "the symbiotic relationship between far-right extremism and Islamism" and believe that this event "can dismantle the underpinnings of one phenomenon while removing the need for the other phenomenon".
The think tank said they are now looking to assist Mr Robinson in investing his "time and commitment in countering extremism of all kinds".
"Tommy and Kevin believe the voice they have created can be channelled in a positive direction", they continued. "Quilliam stands ready to facilitate such moves across the spectrum."
They also called for supporters of the EDL to leave the organisation and for Islamist extremist leaders to follow suit by leaving their respective groups.
Mr Robinson co-founded the EDL in 2009 and the group regularly stage marches across the country which often result in clashes with demonstrators. Mr Robinson said on Twitter today he hoped "people listen to my reasons".
Belfast Telegraph Digital