Tommy Robinson ‘spread division and hatred’ in the wake of Manchester arena bombing


Tweets from the account of far-right extremist Tommy Robinson “spread division and hatred” in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing.

The deleted messages – uncovered by Hope not Hate  –  were posted in the days following the attack and show Robinson’s account using the Manchester Arena bombing to try and spread rabid Islamophobic views.

Speaking on the second anniversary of the attack, politicians, anti-racism campaigners and Muslim leaders in Machester have called on voters to reject Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, when they head to the polls in tomorrow’s EU elections.

The attack on 22 May 2017 killed 22 people when a terrorist detonated a homemade bomb as people were leaving the Manchester Arena following a concert by pop star Ariana Grande.

One of the tweets posted by the account, now deleted, said: “We are at War with Islam” while two others promote scares about possible attacks in Oldham and Moss Side.

One of the posts seems to suggest Britain is at war with Islam


Another posts a list of names which Yaxley-Lennon’s account claims are “some of the security on duty Monday night in Manchester” – in a barely concealed attempt to suggest that those named had aided the bomber.

One tweet suggests that singer Ariana Grande , after whose concert the attack took place, should rename one of her songs “Break Free (from Islam)”.

Mr Yaxley-Lennon is standing as an independent in the North West region and needs just 100,000 votes to win a seat.

Yesterday Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell slammed Yaxley-Lennon as “despicable” and called for voters to in the North West to show him the door.

One posts appears to make an unsavoury suggestion about people who were working security at the time of the bombing


She said: “In the hours after the horrific attack at the Manchester Arena, Tommy Robinson’s first thoughts were how he could use it to spread his hate and division, and turn people against all Muslims.

“He is a despicable person.

“We must stop him getting a platform to spread his evil.

“The only way we can do that is by voting in these elections.”

Mohammed Shafiq, Chair of the Manchester-based Ramadhan Foundation, said that Yaxley-Lennon’s tweets were part of a career spent “deliberately targeting Muslims.”

He told The Mirror: “There is no doubt that he is a deeply Islamophobic and racist individual.

“He downplays the rise of far-right extremism while magnifying the unacceptable violence from the margins of Muslim communities.

“He is interested in division, not tackling the problems of violence and hatred in society.

“Rather than focus on what binds us together he wants to divide communities “We need as a country to say whatever your faith and background we must come together against – that is why we must stand up to him.”

Yaxley-Lennon’s account has since been deleted

Nick Lowles, chief executive of HOPE not hate: “At a time when the people of Manchester came together in a show of unity, standing shoulder to shoulder against terrorism, Tommy Robinson sought to spread division and hatred through fear-mongering and lies.

“The people of Manchester rejected his hatred back then, just as I’m sure they will again tomorrow. Manchester, and indeed the entire North West, is too good for the likes of Robinson and his gang of thugs and extremists.”

Survivors Against Terror,  a network of survivors of terror attacks and their family members, slammed Yaxley-Lennon’s tweets.

A spokesman said: “Terror is driven by hatred and its aim is to prize apart our communities.

“People who go out of their way to stoke tensions and blame innocent people – based solely on their identity- are not only wrong, they are doing terrorists’ dirty work for them.

“As survivors of terror attacks we have felt the country coming together in the aftermath of violence.

“Those who seek to divide us do a disservice to survivors and to our country as a whole.”

A statement posted on Tommy Robinson’s website said he doesn’t criticise Muslims, but Islam.

It adds: “Throughout Tommy’s campaign to become the North West MEP, we have heard people say things like “why attack Muslims? why don’t you attack Christianity?’

“If truth be told, Tommy has not attacked all Muslims, he has attacked certain types of Muslims, and he has well-founded criticisms of the Islamic faith, like any ideology it should be scrutinised.”

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