Rally Roles for anti-Islam activists in Brexit march
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’