The family of a Syrian boy has threatened to sue UK right-wing activist Tommy Robinson after he claimed that the teen was attacked in retaliation for an assault on a white girl.
Tasnime Akunjee, a solicitor representing the boy and his family, claimed, as quoted by The Independent, that his client "had nothing to do with the attack [on the girl] at all". Describing Robinson's comments as 'defamatory', he said that the family would be taking legal action against the English Defence League's co-founder.
The story of the Syrian teen has splashed across national headlines in the UK this week after a video emerged showing the 15-year-old being pushed to the ground as another student squirted water from a bottle in his face. In a separate incident, the boy's 14-year-old sister was shoved around by students and pushed to the ground as her hijab came off. The videos were reportedly shot late October at the Almondbury Community School in Huddesrfield.
I am absolutely disgusted and mortified by the level of hate and ignorance shown by the cowards in this video. It is of a Syrian refugee who has been bullied constantly in Almondbury High School where apparently…this hasn't been taken seriously. #Share #Justice @georgegalloway pic.twitter.com/WqPvqLuFBE— Mohammed Khan (@sarah_nowha1234) 27 ноября 2018 г.
The 'waterboarding' incident sparked public outrage and protests from locals, and also triggered a police investigation into racially aggravated assault.
Tommy Robinson, however, alleged in a Facebook post, citing messages sent to him after the attack, that the Syrian youngster had earlier 'bullied a girl out' of the school by hitting her with a hockey stick. According to screengrabs of the messages, multiple complaints had been submitted regarding the boy's behaviour.
This was corroborated by what was reportedly said by the girl's mother. She claimed that the boy, Jamal, and another three girls had beaten her daughter on the head. "The school never rang the police or anything and a fund page wasn't set up for her," the woman lamented, referring to the crowd-funding page for the Syrian, which has collected over £130,000 ($166,000) from well-wishers.
Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, entered the national spotlight in the UK in 2009, when he founded the EDL, a right-wing activist group that has drawn criticism for its vocal anti-Islamic stance and street demonstrations.
Last week, he was appointed special advisor on rape gangs and prison reform to Gerard Batten, the leader of the UK Independence Party.
Rape gangs apparently are a subject of particular interest to the 36-year-old activist. This May, he was sentenced to 13 months in prison on charges of contempt of court for live-streaming a video of members of an alleged Muslim grooming gang outside a courthouse. He was released on bail on November 5; after his release, he scolded British courts and media for attempting to "silence and stop people having the knowledge" of the gangs.