PRESS RELEASE

02/05/2017

Quilliam was victim to extremist Tommy Robinson and alt-right Rebel media’s George Llewelyn-John trespassing in our office using aggressive and bullying behaviour today, after they barged in to our London address, verbally harassing and physically intimidating our staff.

Tommy proceeded to abuse and bully junior staff, failing to leave the premises when asked, eventually being escorted off-site by the police. Having arrived with a cameraman from the alt-right Rebel Media, George Llewelyn-John, they hounded Quilliam staff and repeatedly refused to have a reasoned discussion.

At Quilliam, we expect a creatively edited version of this altercation to appear on Rebel Media over the coming days, accusing Quilliam of shutting down debate, cowardly calling the police, and being apologists for extremism, as well spreading lies about assault. Our work and record is clear: we tackle extremism of all kinds and will support our hard-working staff to allow them to do that in a safe environment.

In 2013, we were pleased to have facilitated Tommy Robinson’s departure from the leadership of the English Defence League. We think it unfortunate that, following our efforts to engage with Tommy Robinson and help him move away from extremism, he seems to have regressed. As is clear in our work, we make a clear distinction between disengagement and deradicalisation, and we are disappointed that Tommy has not continued towards coexistence, tolerance, and reasoned debate, as we had hoped and worked towards.

His new tactic of threatening and assaulting those who challenge his extremist rhetoric, including recent harassment of Zelo Street Blog and a South Wales Newspaper, is reminiscent of Britain First’s Mosque Invasions and Hizb ut-Tahrir’s old tactics of intimidation. We urge supporters and fellow counter-extremists not to give in to such extremist behaviour, but to remain safe while standing united against this.

Tommy’s grievance this time surrounded a recent article that we wrote for The Guardian on the full spectrum of far-right extremists and the narratives common to them all. We stand by our analysis here and will not be bullied by lies, and false claims about the article, and aggressive behaviour. With Tommy’s recent track record, The Guardian Newspaper, which published the article, may well be targeted next.

Quilliam will not be cowed by the increased terror threat in the UK, nor a resurgent far-right. Instead we will reinforce our commitment to challenging all forms of extremism. We are featuring a research series on the far-right phenomenon this summer, culminating in the release of Senior Researcher Julia Ebner’s book The Rage: The New Vicious Circle of Extremism in the Autumn.

Join Quilliam in the struggle against all forms of extremism here.

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