Army investigation after soldiers filmed cheering far-right activist

26th Oct 2018

Elham Asaad Buaras

The army is investigating after a far-right activist posted a video of himself with trainee soldiers singing his name. Tommy Robinson, 35, also shared a photo of himself posing with the smiling young men on Instagram on October 8.

Robinson says at the start of the video: “It’s the most honourable morning I’ve ever had anyway.” He then pans round to show the trainees, who are all wearing camouflage, as they cheer and start singing.

The English Defence League founder, who met the trainees at Watford Gap motorway services, wrote in an accompanying Facebook post: “A moment like this makes it all worthwhile. Today I met real British heroes.”

The army said it is aware of the photograph and footage and is “investigating the circumstances surrounding this”.

A spokesperson for army said: “Anyone who is in breach of the army’s values and standards will face administrative action. Far-right ideology is completely at odds with the values and ethos of the armed forces. The armed forces have robust measures in place to ensure those exhibiting extremist views are neither tolerated nor permitted to serve. Values and standards within the army play a vital role in training and development, with personnel completing annual mandatory training.”

Imam Asim Hafiz, Islamic Religious Adviser to the armed forces, said that “any form of racism, discrimination or extremism is taken extremely seriously and will be dealt with accordingly”.

He added: “The armed forces remain absolutely committed to welcoming individuals from across all faiths and cultures into its ranks.”

The Muslim Council of Britain praised the army for “disassociating itself from the far-right” and urged for safeguards to be implemented “to ensure that Islamophobia will have no place in our armed forces.”

They added that Robinson “does not represent our armed forces, however much he tries to claim otherwise. He will rile against the very real steps taken to make the military more diverse. He will remain silent on the sacrifices Muslims and others made in the two world wars.”

Sara Khan, the Government’s lead commissioner for countering extremism, who is overseeing a study of extremism across England and Wales, said: “Robinson’s attention-seeking is cover for the divisive anti-Muslim hatred that is causing real harm” adding, “We have to call it out. Muslims are proudly and selflessly serving in the armed forces, and the army’s decisive response is to be praised.”

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