Tommy Robinson is a reformed character, honest
Reply #128 - August 04, 2019, 11:37 PM
This was a very informative thread. I haven't been to this forum in some time, but I came here to learn a bit about Tommy Robinson.
Someone had posted a link to a Guardian article about Robinson, and claimed he had "cult-like, violent, extremist views." While I felt like I had perhaps heard the name before, I didn't know anything about him. (I am an American). I read the Guardian article, and, again, this article being my only source of information about the man, I did not see sufficient evidence there to conclude that what the poster was saying was accurate.
This particular Guardian article was extremely poorly written. It was about the "network" behind Robinson. It mentioned some groups that ahd supported Robinson financially.
In the article, I only learned a few things about Robinson. Those were: 1. That he had recorded and "covered" the trials of the Pakistani gangs from the grooming scandal. 2. That he was critical of Islam. 3. Some quotes he had been recorded saying which sounded problematic but were cited without any context and potentially could have sounded less bad , although still rhetoric I wouldn't use.
They also mentioned the views of the organizations that supported him, which they characterized as conservative. They didn't strike me as especially troubling. For example, one organization was quoted as saying they were "pro-islam in the sense that they wanted to promote versions of islam that lead to better lives and less opression for muslims, who were the primary targets of oppression from radical islam, that they were anti-radical islam, pro-moderate Islam."
This hardly struck me as being proof of some racist hate group, and I wondered if perhaps this was a case where the Guardian and the poster were playing the role of liberal western Islamic apologist which you're all familiar with.
I said to the poster it was quite possible that he was correct to characterize Robinson in this way because he was aware of additional things about the man that I was not.
Oddly enough, the poster could only offer similar arguments as the article. He claimed the rape trials were just an ordinary incident of rape that happened to be committed by Pakistanis, and paying any attention to the trial was simply a means of demonizing Pakistanis and distracting people from the economic policies that were harming the middle and lower classes and using "Arabics" as a scapegoat. Furthermore, he said that anyone covering the trials was effectively serving the interests of said elites by distracting people with an unimportant issue from what they should really be focused on.
At this point I realized the poster didn't know anything about these incidents or the trials, and my suspicions were furthered that he was a kneejerk liberal apologist.
We continued talking, he was quite all over the place and I responded to specific statements he made. (For example that Pakistanis weren't "Arabics"). At any rate, after I was finished, I encouraged him to look up some of the ex-muslim groups, pointing out these were voices he wasn't hearing. I also said that coming to an ex-muslim forum, I would quickly be able to learn the truth about Robinson; whether he was indeed a virulent racist, merely an critic of Islam, or something in between.
After reading through this first few comments, I posted to him that it was clear Robinson was every bit what he had characterized him as. I also pointed out that rather then trying to justify this by his arguments about paying attention to/covering the trial was proof enough, there was a lot of relevant information he could have used to justify his position, such as that Robinson was the founder of the English Defense League. After reading that, I remembered I had actually heard of Robinson before in connection with the EDL and anti-immigrant policies, although it was a long time ago and it wasn't much (plus it's been a crazy weekend, didn't get any sleep since thursday.)
Anyway, I wanted to apologize for not coming visiting this forum for so long. I found it an excellent and interesting source of conversation, one of the rare places where I would see people disagree in good faith without things degenerating into flame wars.
I also realize things have almost certainly become more difficult for ex-muslims, as the global rise of the populist/nativist right in the wake of Trump's election has exacerbated all the previously existed problems, and sometimes it must feel like you are surrounded by fanatical enemies on all sides, all of which position themselves with you in the crosshairs as members of the enemy tribe they want to destroy.
(My apologies if I'm "triggering" anyone or reminding people of how negative things have gotten, but this obviously isn't news to you)
I realized I could have learned about Robinson by googling, but I expressed the point that the information in the article alone did not sufficiently support the person's claims.