The protestation from Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, whenever he is accused of racism is to claim that his attack is only against followers of The Prophet. He cannot be a racist, because he is only passing adverse comment on a single religion. He is not opposing all black and brown people. Sadly, his research, combined with an inability to engage brain before acting, have let him down once more.
Combined with this is his tendency to believe what he reads in the papers, which as any fule kno, is most unwise, especially when so many hacks and their editors are hell-bent on scaring the crap out of their readers whenever there is the possibility of slagging off all those Scary Muslims (tm). This means that when he became aware of a story posted by Mirror Online, he took it as read. This was not his finest hour.
“Harrowing moment 18-month-old baby is held down on hot coals in sinister Muslim ritual - Mirror Online” he Tweeted, and it seems the claim the participants were Muslim had originally been there in the Mirror report. But it isn’t now, although Lennon has not deleted his Tweet, nor pointed this up. Those involved were not Muslims.
This is what the article says: “The clearly distressed youngster can be seen struggling against a man believed to be his father holding him during the sinister ritual in the Dharwad district of the southern Indian state of Karnataka … The ceremony in the village of Allapura was witnessed by several men, who are heard in the video chanting as the tot is held on the hot coals with only a few banana leaves protecting him from the heat”.
“Southern Indian state” should have been a clue. But there’s more. “Police superintendent Santosh Babu named the baby's parents as Channappagouda Bheemanagouda, 28, and his wife Shivaleela”. Muslims? No they aren’t. And the “hot coals” claim is shaky, too, according to a local Police inspector. Here’s what he said.
“[The parents] had promised to keep the baby on a bed of coals if their wish [for a child] was fulfilled … They got their baby a year and a half later, and instead of keeping it on coals, they kept the baby on the ashes which were already doused … It was still a little hot so they kept two banana leaves and then kept the baby on it for about seven to eight seconds”. No prosecution would follow. No injury to the child was reported.
The people at Resisting Hate have corrected Lennon: “Strange ritual involves Hindus placing baby on warm ashes protected by thick leaves. Fixed it you racist moron”. Whether he will be tapping up his pals in the press to find out someone’s address and then banging on their door in the dead of night, demanding to have one of his “polite conversations”, because he doesn’t like being called a racist, is not yet known.
There are two possible explanations for this howler: either Lennon is just going after all brown people as soon as anyone says “Muslim”, in which case his claim not to be a racist is shaky, or he knows, but wants to stir up his followers anyway (which is, in turn, more likely to inflame prejudice against people who aren’t Muslims). Neither shows any sense of responsibility. As to what that makes him, I’ll just leave that one there.