UK government's preferred anti-Muslim hatred advisor endorsed by EDL founder Tommy Robinson

UK government's preferred anti-Muslim hatred advisor endorsed by EDL founder Tommy Robinson
The person expectedto be named the UK government's first anti-Muslim hatred tsar has been endorsed by Tommy Robinson, founder of the far-right EDL.
3 min read
14 March, 2024
Tommy Robinson is one of the leading anti-Muslim activists in the UK [Getty]

The UK government’s alleged new advisor on anti-Muslim hatred received the endorsement of prominent Islamophobic activist and far-right figure Tommy Robinson on Wednesday.

Haras Rafiq, a former head of the controversial “counter-extremism” Quilliam Foundation think tank, is the frontrunner to be named the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s first ever anti-Muslim hatred tsar, according to the Byline Times

This was welcome news for Robinson.

“I’ve met Haras & his lovely family,” the English Defence League (EDL) founder wrote on X.

“A great guy who actually wants to stop Islamic extremism,” he added.

Robinson, a former member of the far-right British National Party, is best known for his time as founder and leader of the EDL, a marauding collective of football hooligans and far-right groups that held marches against the so-called “Islamisation” of the UK.

He has also been imprisoned three times for his anti-Muslim activities, while he was ordered to pay £100,000 in libel after he falsely accused a 15-year-old Syrian refugee, who was viciously attacked by racist bullies, of attacking “white girls”.

However, Robinson’s approval of Rafiq ought not to come as a surprise, given the former Quilliam man’s track record of working with other alleged promoters of Islamophobia.

According to the Byline Times, Rafiq’s tenure as the CEO of the Quilliam Foundation saw the organisation forge ties with far-right groups, including signing a joint statement with the far-right Gatestone Institute.  

The Gatestone Institute is a US-based pro-Trump think tank that has repeatedly supported white nationalist, racist and Islamophobic conspiracy theories, including the Great Replacement Theory, claiming that Muslims are taking over the West and replacing indigenous “Judeo-Christian” white European populations.

During this time, Gatestone also published false news stories about Muslim “no-go zones” in the UK, without any refutation by Rafiq and the Quilliam Foundation.

When questioned about Quilliam’s connections to these Islamophobic, racist and anti-LGBT groups before a UK parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee, Rafiq claimed that Quilliam in the US was a separate entity than the UK one.

However, the Byline Times claim this was false testimony, as the US Quilliam Foundation was simply garnering donations for the London-based think tank.

In 2013, Robinson himself infamously held a joint statement with the Quilliam Foundation and its then CEO Maajid Nawaz, who claimed Robinson was looking to move away from the far-right.

The news of Rafiq’s potential role at Number 10 comes as Conservative Party Deputy Chairman and MP Lee Anderson claimed that “Islamists” had “got control” of London’s first Muslim Mayor Sadiq Khan. Despite being suspended and then defecting to the far-right Reform Party, Anderson's comments have prompted new scrutiny on the extent of Islamophobia in the ruling Tory Party.