Family of bullied Syrian refugee boy consider suing Tommy Robinson for defamation
Video footage of the attack on 15-year-old Jamal, a Syrian refugee from Homs, went viral on Wednesday, prompting online outrage and an outpouring of support for the teenager.
During the attack, the boy is squirted in the face with water before being headbutted by a school bully. Jamal, whose arm is in a cast, is then pinned down by his throat as the attacker says "I'll drown you" before forcing water from a bottle into his mouth.
Robinson, who founded the far-right group English Defence League (EDL), took to Twitter to discredit Jamal, accusing him of attacking "young English girls in his school" in a video rant.
The far-right activist, who has prior convictions for drugs and assault and was also imprisoned, told his followers he had received messages from the mother of a girl accusing Jamal of being involved in an attack on her.
Other Facebook users shared messages in which the girl's mother denied Jamal had been involved in the attack.
Robinson also said the attacker was only being criticised because he was English. His comments were widely condemned online, with critics accusing him of stirring up "hate and division".
Jamal's family said they are considering legal action over Robinson's comments. "Jamal confirms that all comments relating to him by Tommy Robinson are untrue," their lawyer told The Sun Online on Thursday.
"We are considering taking legal action on the basis of defamation. We are currently formulating a response to Tommy."
Police said they were investigating the attack on Jamal as "a racially-aggravated assault" and had questioned a 16-year-old boy over the footage.
The suspected attacker's Facebook page features posts expressing support for Robinson, a notorious anti-Islam activist.