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British Army probing meeting between military personnel and Tommy Robinson, anti-Muslim activist

October 9, 2018

The British Army has launched an investigation spurred by social media posts showing uniformed military personnel posing with Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, a far-right anti-Muslim activist better known as Tommy Robinson.

“We are aware of a photograph and video of a group of Army personnel on social media and are investigating the circumstances surrounding this,” an Army spokesperson said Tuesday, British media reported. “Anyone who is in breach of the Army’s values and standards will face administrative action.”

The social media posts were shared through Mr. Robinson’s official accounts this week and showed him meeting several enthusiastic, smiling young men in uniform.

“A moment like this makes it all worth while,” Mr. Robinson captioned a video he shared on YouTube of the military personnel chanting him name.

“Britain’s heroes,” he captioned a similar post on Instagram.

Mr. Robinson, the co-founder and former leader of the English Defense League, or EDL, has gained notoriety in the U.K. and abroad for espousing racist rhetoric denouncing Islam and immigrants. He parted ways with the group in 2013 and subsequently became involved in the British chapter of a German far-right group, Pedgida, or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident, prior to co-writing a book last year called “Mohammed’s Koran: Why Muslims Kill for Islam.”

“Far right ideology is completely at odds with the values and ethos of the Armed Forces,” the U.K. Army spokesperson told British media Tuesday. “The Armed Forces have robust measures in place to ensure those exhibiting extremist views are neither tolerated nor permitted to serve.”

Mr. Robinson, 35, reacted to news of the investigation through his Instagram account, responding: “Watch the backlash if the army attempt to discipline these young recruits for expressing one of their very freedoms they are expected to fight die for.”

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