Rebel News Welcomes Violent Islamophobe Tommy Robinson Into Canada

SHARE

SHARE

The news comes as Rebel News comes under fire for platforming an Islamophobic campaign in downtown Toronto.

This week, a billboard truck was spotted in downtown Toronto declaring that Canada is “under siege” by people from Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon. This rhetoric resembles that of the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, a thoroughly debunked conspiracy that’s already resulted in numerous targeted mass killings, which purports that white people are being “replaced” by non-white immigrants. Shortly after the Toronto Police announced that their Hate Crime Unit was investigating, far-right and conspiratorial outlet Rebel News was found to be the truck’s owner, with the company’s founder, Ezra Levant, confirming that Toronto Police are “officially investigating Rebel News for running these ads by local community activists on our Rebel News billboard truck.”

This is the second time in a week that Rebel News has encouraged the spread of extreme Islamophobia in Canada, as Levant has been advertising the “first-ever” tour of British virulent anti-Muslim activist Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon, better known as Tommy Robinson. 

Robinson has a worrying past of Islamophobic campaigning and dangerous behavior, having been convicted of assaulting an off-duty police officer in 2005, serving a year in prison, and in 2011 received a twelve-month community order for inciting and taking part in a brawl at a soccer match. Robinson led the English Defence League (EDL), a group linked with the Norwegian mass shooter who killed 77 people in 2011 called “having noble intentions,” and whose supporters have been arrested for plots to bomb mosques, from 2009 to 2014. In 2015, he was involved in developing the short-lived UK chapter of the German anti-Muslim group PEGIDA, which in Germany is responsible for a number of large protests against Muslims. In 2018, Robinson produced a libelous video accusing a young Syrian refugee of being a violent school bully, and in 2021 was ordered to pay £100,000 in damages and all reasonable legal costs. Robinson also received an injunction against releasing the video under threat of prison time. According to HOPE Not Hate, Robinson worked with MICE Media to complete a film with the libelous claims while denying his involvement in its release. In October 2021, Robinson was issued a five-year stalking protection order in favor of a journalist working on an article about his misuse of donations from his far-right supporters. In 2022, he joined the anti-Muslim political party For Britain, making calls to “build a political force.” In November 2023, Robinson called for his supporters to defend the Cenotaph in Westminster, following rumors that pro-Palestine protestors could attack war memorials in London. This led to violent clashes with the police, while Robinson fled the scene. In December, Robinson attended a protest against antisemitism against the organizers’ wishes, leading to his arrest until granted bail in January 2024.

Robinson’s rhetoric has connections to terrorist violence. One of his tweets was referenced in a note left behind by the 2017 Finsbury Park terror attacker, who in 2018 was convicted for driving a van into a crowd outside a mosque in London, England, killing one. The tweet asked his followers whether they should “look back in anger” at terror attacks, mocking the slogan of a vigil following a bombing in Manchester. The killer was also subscribed to Robinson’s mailing list, receiving emails suggesting that refugees were given preferential treatment by British police and that “There is a nation within a nation forming just beneath the surface of the UK. It is a nation built on hatred, on violence and on Islam.”

Robinson, who was Rebel News’ reporter in the United Kingdom from 2017-2018, will now be hosted by them in Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto towards the end of the month.

Rebel News proudly advertises Tommy Robinson’s tour, calling his Islamophobic ideas “compelling.” (Source: Twitter)

This isn’t new ground for Rebel News, as they’ve previously given platforms to several far-right figures, including alt-right influencer Lauren Southern, who was banned from entering the UK as she attempted to meet Martin Sellner, the de-facto leader of the white nationalist Identitarian movement. Other contributors have included Ian Miles-Cheong, who rose to prominence during the misogynistic Gamergate campaign in the 2010s, Trump ally Jack Posobiec, Proud Boys founder Gavin McInness, white nationalist Faith Goldy, and American far-right and anti-Muslim influencer Laura Loomer, who has been banned from several social media platforms for hate speech.

Amidst continually rising hatred against South Asians and Muslims online, including a recent targeted campaign by the Canadian white supremacist movement Diagolon, the platforming of Robinson and the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory is dangerous. Memories of the 2021 murder of a Muslim family in London, Ontario by a believer in the conspiracy theory remain fresh in the minds of Canadians, as he was sentenced to life in prison this February. Platforming anti-Muslim campaigns such as the billboard truck and especially a tour for Tommy Robinson is not only irresponsible, but will continue to directly impact Muslim, Arabic, and South Asian communities in Canada.

Credit of cover image – Twitter: @sasa_ghada

518 590 Global Project Against Hate and Extremism
Start Typing
Privacy Preferences

When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in the form of cookies. Here you can change your Privacy preferences. It is worth noting that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we are able to offer.

GPAHE uses cookies to collect information and give you a more personalized experience on our site. You can find more information in our Privacy Policy.
Get GPAHE’s latest updates on hate and extremism threatening our democracy.
Stay Connected With GPAHE
SUBSCRIBE NOW
Get GPAHE’s latest updates on hate and extremism threatening our democracy.
Stay Connected With GPAHE
SUBSCRIBE NOW
Stand With GPAHE In The Fight To Protect Democracy
Stay informed about the Project 2025 push for authoritarianism in the US. Get our in-depth insights on the extremist groups behind the plan and their activities.
You can unsubscribe at any time.
Subscribe
Stay informed about the Project 2025 push for authoritarianism in the US. Get our in-depth insights on the extremist groups behind the plan and their activities.
You can unsubscribe at any time.
Subscribe
Stand With GPAHE In The Fight To Protect Democracy