Sign the open letter here (text below)
Tommy Robinson, ex-leader of the fascist English Defence League (EDL), has been invited to speak at the Oxford Union on 23rd October.
Robinson is trying to present himself as a reformed character, after abandoning his leadership of the EDL after it collapsed following a campaign by anti-fascist and anti-racist organisations. As leader of the EDL Robinson organised and lead violent racist demonstrations and waged a campaign of demonisation of Muslims. EDL marchers chanted “you build your Mosques, we’ll burn them down”, and racially abused black and Asian people. Many EDL members have been jailed for racist violence, racial abuse and attacks on Mosques, yet Robinson continues to communicate with its members and issue anti-Muslim statements via social media, including the use of the racist hash tag #rapejihad.
Robinson may have abandoned trying to lead a fascist street army but he continues to incite racial hatred against Muslims under the same false flag of tackling extremism that he used while leading the EDL. Robinson has recently showed his continuing support for the EDL tweeting “Happy to hear the EDL gave me a round of applause for me before their demo. The EDL will always hold a place in my heart” as well as circulating lies demonising Muslims with statements like “30,000 Muslims marched through Birmingham demanding these same blasphemy laws.”
Robinson’s website still identifies himself as the founder of the EDL and carries videos of their racist marches. There is no convincing sign of an abandonment of his view that Islam is the problem. When he stepped down as leader of the EDL he maintained “I want to lead the revolution against Islamist ideology”. This “revolution” has taken the form of a campaign of focus on cases of Muslim men being involved in rape. Robinson presents grooming and rape as a problem stemming from the Muslim community when in fact such offences occur in all communities. Sexual exploitation is an appalling crime, but it is not linked to ethnicity or religion. As the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre point out, ‘Child sexual exploitation is not confined to one community, age, demographic, social status or gender.’
Oxford is a multicultural city that has been targeted by fascists in the National Front trying to stir up race hatred by exploiting the suffering of rape victims and scapegoating Muslim men as the problem using the same arguments and language Robinson is using. By inviting Tommy Robinson the Oxford Union is contributing to a climate of Islamophobia which only encourages fascists onto the streets of Oxford. The Oxford Union should not be giving racists and Islamophobes the prestige of speaking at their institution and we demand Robinson’s invitation is withdrawn.
No Islamophobe speakers at the Oxford Union
Don’t let the Oxford Union promote racist speakers. Tommy Robinson not welcome here.
The Oxford Union has repeatedly invited fascist and racists to speak in spite of opposition from Oxford’s diverse community. Oxfordshire Trade Unions, student groups, religious and community organisations have successfully countered these attempts with petitions and demonstrations. We need to make it clear to the Oxford Union their tradition of inviting racist and fascist speakers is not acceptable to the people of Oxford, and that we will continue to oppose every attempt to give prestige to people who want to incite racist division in Oxford’s peaceful multicultural community.
Demonstrate outside the Oxford Union
6.30 pm Thursday 23rd October