Former EDL leader Tommy Robinson will launch UK Pegida

'Opposing Islam is not far-right, it doesn’t make you an extremist and it doesn’t make you a bigot,' he claimed

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The Independent Online

The former leader of the English Defence League, who controversially quit and appeared to renounce his views, will help to front a new anti-Islam movement in Britain.

Tommy Robinson, 33, will launch the UK branch of right-wing group Pegida in the New Year and provide “advice” to their leadership, he told The Independent.

Mr Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, will campaign to ban all Muslim immigration to the UK for five years, prevent the building of new mosques and ban the funding of mosques abroad.

“I’ve agreed to talk at the launch and give advice,” he told The Independent. “It’s new to them, but I have lots of experience.”

Mr Robinson claims the new group will be “moderate” and said: “Opposing Islam is not far-right, it doesn’t make you an extremist and it doesn’t make you a bigot. It’s decent not to want Sharia law.”

“The truth in 2015 has been deemed hatred. It’s not, it’s honesty.”

He also admitted the aggression and booze culture of the EDL was wrong, but “necessary” at the time, in an interview with Channel 4 News.

Mr Robinson said after travelling in Europe, where he has been seen addressing rallies, he was inspired by the Pegida demonstrations in Germany. “There’s no alcohol or aggression, they have middle class support.”

But he added the only place for the debate about Islam in the UK was “on the streets” as any time he had attempted to have “serious discussions” about Islam in the past two years he had been “shut down” by authorities.

The former EDL campaigner also claimed moderate Muslims were “lying” about Islam. “I have read the bio of Muhammad, the Quran, the Hadiths, I know everything about that religion.

“Isis is born out of Islam,” he added.

Mr Robinson also labelled MP’s decision to extend bombing Isis over Syrian territory “a joke”.

“You can’t beat an ideology. What’s the point in bombing over there? They’ll all just flood into Europe. It makes no sense,” he claimed.

In 2013 he announced he was leaving the EDL in a joint conference with think tank Quilliam. His departure was widely covered, with Mr Robinson later telling police he would help with their investigations into alleged racists within the extremist group.

Pegida did not respond to The Independent’s request for comment.