English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson has described a man suspected of carrying out the mosque attacks and killing at least 49 people in New Zealand as a ‘monster’.
The right-wing activist, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also attacked the media for seeking his opinion the killings, accusing journalists of trying to link him to the attacks.
Mr Robinson reacted angrily when he was asked about the mass shootings, which saw two mosques attacked during Friday prayers in Christchurch.
New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, called the attacks ‘one of New Zealand’s darkest days’.
Speaking in Peterborough on Friday when approached by the Press Association, Robinson said: ‘When jihadis do an attack, they tell you the verse from the Koran that inspired them to do it.
‘You, the mainstream media, and every politician then bend over backwards to say it’s got nothing to do with Islam.
‘This monster who committed a completely cowardly attack against innocent people.
‘This monster wrote a manifesto. In that manifesto, is my name in it? Does he mention me?
‘No he doesn’t.
‘He specifically tells you why he done it, but yet here you are as the mainstream media attempting to somehow associate me with a coward on the other end of the planet.
‘How can you do that?’
Mr Robinson continued: ‘So when there’s an Islamic terrorist attack, do you go stand outside every mosque and ask the imam that follows the same book as the terrorist?
‘I don’t follow the same book as this white supremacist.
‘In fact for 10 years I’ve called out white supremacy, the same as I’ve called out Islamic extremism.
‘Any supremacy, I’ve called out.
‘But yet here you are as a journalist, trying to associate my name somehow with the murder of 49 innocent people.
‘You’re a coward, your journalism is a disgrace.’
Mr Robinson said that the suspect ‘has told you why he’s done it’, with his alleged reasons including immigration policy and “Rotherham”.
‘I didn’t rape any girls in Rotherham,’ said Mr Robinson. That wasn’t me. I didn’t take 1,400 children as slaves. That wasn’t me.
‘So you’re a coward… and your journalism is absolutely disgusting.’
Robinson is currently pursuing a harassment claim against Cambridgeshire Police at Peterborough County Court.