Rally Roles for anti-Is­lam ac­tivists in Brexit march

The Guardian - - NATIONAL - Josh Hal­l­i­day North of Eng­land cor­re­spon­dent

A “proudly anti-Is­lam” Aus­tralian ac­tivist and a YouTu­ber who sent a rape tweet to a Labour MP will have prom­i­nent roles at a “fam­ily-friendly” Brexit rally set to take place in Lon­don to­mor­row, the Guardian has learned.

Avi Yem­ini, who called Is­lam a “bar­baric ide­ol­ogy” that had taken over Eng­land and de­scribed Mus­lim coun­tries as “Is­lamic sh**holes” (his as­ter­isks), has flown in at the in­vi­ta­tion of Tommy Robinson, the ac­tivist who is or­gan­is­ing the event along­side the Ukip leader, Ger­ard Bat­ten.

Ukip has in­sisted the rally will be a fam­ily-friendly demon­stra­tion against Theresa May’s “great Brexit be­trayal”.

But the Guardian has learned that one of the key con­firmed speak­ers is Carl Ben­jamin, who sent a rape tweet to the Labour MP Jess Phillips.

Ben­jamin, 39, who uses the alias Sar­gon of Akkad, is a po­lit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor who has gained 860,000 YouTube sub­scribers with videos crit­i­cis­ing fem­i­nism, Is­lam and po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness. He joined Ukip in June.

The prom­i­nent roles of Ben­jamin and Yem­ini at the Brexit rally will alarm those in­side Ukip who are un­easy about the party’s re­la­tion­ship with Robinson and his as­so­ciates.

Nigel Farage quit Ukip this week af­ter 25 years, blam­ing its anti-Mus­lim “fix­a­tion”, while for­mer deputy chair Suzanne Evans, for­mer leader Paul Nut­tall, and MEPs Pa­trick O’Flynn, Bill Etheridge and Wil­liam Dart­mouth have also quit fol­low­ing Bat­ten’s de­ci­sion to ap­point Robinson as an ad­viser.

Robinson has been ask­ing sup­port­ers to help fund the cost of the rally’s stage and sound equip­ment.

Sev­eral mem­bers of Bat­ten’s in­ner cir­cle are closely in­volved with or­gan­is­ing the rally, which is due to be­gin out­side the Dorch­ester ho­tel and end out­side Down­ing Street.

A se­nior ex­ec­u­tive of the Mid­dle East Fo­rum, an in­flu­en­tial US think­tank which helped bankroll Robinson’s le­gal fight and his protests, has been closely in­volved in prepa­ra­tions for the rally, the Guardian has learned. Lisa Bar­bou­nis will at­tend the rally in a per­sonal ca­pac­ity, MEF said.

One Ukip in­sider de­scribed the rally as “crazy” and said 200 mem­bers had quit the party yesterday in protest at its as­so­ci­a­tion with Robinson. “If it all goes wrong, and I think it will, then Ger­ard should walk or be pushed.”

Avi Ye­meni, an Aus­tralian ac­tivist, has called him­self ‘proudly anti-Is­lam’

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