Tommy Robinson, the founder of a right wing Islamophobic group, is being sued by a Syrian boy who was filmed being attacked in a playground for falsely accusing him of attacking white schoolgirls.
Jamal Hijazi, 16, along with his lawyer, filed the libel suit against Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, in a high court, accusing him of spreading false and defamatory lies against Hijazi in a series of Facebook posts.
“We are lodging Jamal’s claim for damages as against Yaxley-Lennon with the court today. The claim flows from defamatory comments made by Yaxley-Lennon about Jamal in the latter part of 2018,” said Tasnime Akunjee, the legal representative of the Hijaz family.
Jamal said his family faced threats and were forced to move out of their home in Huddersfield and relocate to another city following the posts. He said he never spoke to the girls mentioned in the posts.
“He has broken the law and I hope they agree with us. When he put those posts up he was giving people the wrong idea about me and I was really worried because people were thinking: ‘Jamal is not a good person,’” Jamal told Sky News.
“After he posted the video we were very scared and we got lots of threats from people because of what he said about me hitting those girls. I had never even spoken to these girls but people in the area started threatening us,” he added.
Jamal was filmed being attacked by a fellow student in a school playground in Huddersfield in 2018. In the video, a 16-year-old boy can be seen shoving Jamal, whose arm was broken at the time, onto the ground and he poured water on his face, attempting to waterboard him.
As the video of the incident went viral, Robinson posted statements on Facebook, falsely accusing Jamal of hitting a schoolgirl with a hockey stick and accusing “Muslim gangs” of beating up white children. Robinson also claimed a mother of a girl complained to him that her daughter was being bullied by Jamal. It is a claim the mother denied.
Robinson has been banned from Facebook and Instagram for breaking hate speech laws.
The right wing activist was jailed last year for being in contempt of court after illegally broadcasting footage of people exiting court. Although he was later released, he could be imprisoned, if found to be in contempt./aa