EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon has been forced to deny supporting mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik after he was quoted praising the man who killed 77 people in a Norwegian newspaper.
In an interview conducted in his home town of Luton, Mr Yaxley-Lennon called Breivik “smart” and said the murders he carried out would have been easier to justify if they had been perpetrated against Muslims.
“The [Breivik’s] blogs are full of facts. You can not yell at people because they tell the truth. You may find the truth hurts, but it is still the truth. I read the blogs themselves – they contain facts about Islam.”
In the interview with the Dagbladet newspaper, Mr Yaxley-Lennon, who also goes by the name “Tommy Robinson”, added: “Yes, it would been easier to justify it [if the crime were committed against Muslims], but he would only have been swept aside as the one that killed Muslims because he did not like Islam. Whether you like it or not, that guy was pretty smart...What he did is despicable, but he managed to make people curious.”
Today, Mr Yaxley-Lennon was forced to insist that he did not condone the killings. He acknowledged the quotes given to the Norwegian paper but told The Independent: “they were not in support of Breivik. I was saying that it is bad we are all playing out what he wants us to. Everything that is happening, he thought about. He has planned all of this; it is disturbing to give him what he wants.
“What I said was if it was Muslims, he would have been swept aside as a Muslim-hater. The man is a monster, he took kids away from their families. But the blogs are the truth.”
The anti-Islam group whose marches have been marked by violence and numerous arrests, has been at pains to distance itself from Breivik ever since he mentioned it in the largely racist writings he used to justify his actions.
There were reports that Breivik attended EDL marches in the UK before carrying out the murders, although these were denied by Mr Yaxley-Lennon.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies