Anyone else feel like there’s been a massive paradigm shift since yesterday? Like suddenly the world was tipped upside down, shaken about a bit and Tommy Robinson fell out, hit his head and quit the English Defence League (EDL)? Or worse – have the terrorists/Muslims/extremists* finally developed the ultimate weapon – telekinesis – and are using it to control the very people who would prote…nope, we can’t even finish that sentence.
So yes, Tommy Robinson, head injury or not, left the EDL in spectacular fashion and joined think-tank Quilliam which exists to tackle extremism. Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore. I mean, just look how close he’s sitting to the two Muslim gentlemen, his new colleagues, in our photo! Look how far Tommy has come! Except he would say he hasn’t and that he never held the extremist views that are now synonymous with his former organisation. In his own words he was never out to ‘lead a revolution against Muslims’ but rather a ‘revolution against Islamist ideology’. We take issue with some extremist parts of Islam – in particular its treatment of women and we hope this is something Quilliam will be addressing. Perhaps Tommy is destined to become the poster boy for Muslim feminism? Doesn’t that paint a picture…
Some would argue that revolutions against Muslims vs Islamist ideology are, in fact, the same thing but we think this shows real growth from Tommy. Maybe he’ll even stop going by the name of a Rugrat, put on a suit and start answering to Tom now too. We’d be so proud.
The question to ask now, we suppose, is what will happen to the EDL? Tommy frequently freely admitted that some of the tactics of the organisation were questionable – can we expect the next leader to do the same? Or, and we’re not going to get our hopes up too much, maybe without Tommy it will disappear into nothing?! There is a third option and it’s the one that’s the least palatable – that someone who approves of questionable tactics and fails to see the human side of Islam will take up the mantel.
In all seriousness though, and scaremongering aside, we think it’s great Tommy might actually have started seeing the individuals behind the veils/beards/religion* and start working towards something that’s far more constructive than the hate-filled bile the EDL has been spouting over recent years. Call us old romantics but there’s a kind of poetic irony about the whole thing which we find rather beautiful.
To end Tom, (start as you mean to go on) I guess what we want to say is – thank you. For going someway to restoring our faith in humanity and reminding us that just because people do bad things doesn’t make them bad people. Or something like that. And because there’s no better time than the present to start learning Arabic, from us to you – bit-tawfīq. Lugha wāhidah lā takfī and ḥawwāmtī mumtil’ah bi’anqalaysūn**
P.S. If the Radical Snatchers is actually a thing and you’re looking for work swing by TSA HQ – we’ve got a list of people we’d love for you to meet.
(*delete as appropriate)
**Good luck. One language is never enough and my hovercraft is full of eels.
NB – We deliberately chose not to link to the EDL – their site is disgusting and deserves no traffic from us.
Angharad is a former radio journalist balancing a career in PR with an insatiable writing habit that spans more topics than she can count on her smaller-than-average hands. She's passionate about the media, women's rights and politics with a love of travel, culture, entertainment and all things lifestyle on the side. Interests include prolific online shopping (bit of a reputation in the office), musicals, dinosaurs (be honest, they're awesome) and tweeting anything and everything from @Welsh_PR