Tommy Robinson threatens to 'find' UK's most senior counter terrorism police officer

Head of terror compares EDL founder to Islamist hate preacher Anjem Choudary

Harriet Agerholm
Tuesday 27 February 2018 18:27 GMT
Mark Rowley calls out Tommy Robinson for 'influencing' right wing terror attacks

English Defence League (EDL) founder Tommy Robinson has threatened to “find” Britain’s most senior counter terrorism officer, after he warned of the growing threat of far-right terrorism.

The EDL figurehead on Monday re-posted a tweet by a supporter who said the police were “so so wrong” to equate Mr Robinson with Isis-supporting hate preacher Anjem Choudary.

“I’m gonna find Mark Rowley,” Mr Robinson said. He did not immediately elaborate about what he meant.

The Independent contacted The Metropolitan Police, who declined to comment.

The 34-year-old has clashed with the police and the mainstream media in recent weeks over the trial of Finsbury Park terror attacker Darren Osborne.

The outgoing counter-terrorism police chief said on Tuesday said there was “no doubt” that far-right material posted online by Mr Robinson drove Osborne to target Muslims.

“He had grown to hate Muslims largely due his consumption of large amounts of online far-right material including, as evidenced at court, statements from former EDL leader Tommy Robinson, Britain First and others,” he told an event in London.

“Osborne had a ‘dysfunctional’ background and history of alcohol and drug abuse, and violence.

“There can be no doubt that the extremist rhetoric he consumed fed into his vulnerabilities and turned it into violence.”

Osborne, a father-of-four from Wales, was radicalised in a period of weeks in which he consumed far-right material.

He hired a van and intended to massacre pro-Palestinian activists, but a security perimeter forced him to seek an alternative target.

Osborne rammed the vehicle into a crowd of Muslim worshippers leaving mosques in Finsbury Park shortly after midnight on 19 June, killing a grandfather and injuring several others.

Mr Rowley also told the Policy Exchange four far-right terror plots had been foiled since the Isis-inspired Westminster attack in March last year.

Far-right extremists and Islamist extremist were “executing a common strategy” to radicalise people, he said.

“Islamist and right-wing extremism is reaching into our communities through sophisticated propaganda and subversive strategies creating and exploiting vulnerabilities that can ultimately lead to acts of violence and terrorism," he told the audience.

He said Mr Choudary and Mr Robinson attracted “notoriety and attention” at the same time as they were positioned on the opposite sides of public debates in the 2000s.

“Robinson became a regular fixture in our media giving him the platform to attack the whole religion of Islam by conflating acts of terrorism with the faith often citing spurious claims, which inevitably stirred up tensions,” Mr Rowley said.

“Such figures represented no more than the extreme margins of the communities they claim to speak for yet they have been given prominence and a platform.”

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