- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 14, 2018

President Trump’s ambassador for international religious freedom has raised concerns with the British government over the treatment of a jailed anti-Muslim activist known as Tommy Robinson, Reuters reported Friday.

The envoy, Sam Brownback, discussed the activist during a meeting last month with Sir Kim Darroch, the British ambassador to the United States, a U.K. official and two sources close to Robinson’s supporters told Reuters.

Mr. Brownback raised Robinson’s imprisonment during a discussion involving a range of “religious freedom issues,” according to the British source.

Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, is a co-founder and former leader of the English Defense League, a far-right group responsible for staging anti-Muslim demonstrations across the U.K. since its formation in 2009. He was recently sentenced to spend 13 months in jail for contempt of court after violating blanket reporting restrictions imposed on a child molestation case.

Mr. Brownback told the U.K. ambassador that the Trump administration would consider criticizing Britain’s handling of the case unless Robinson is treated more sympathetically while behind bars, according to two sources connected with the organizations of a pro-Robinson demonstration happening Saturday in London, Reuters reported.

The sources also claimed that Robinson’s supporters have contacted the Trump administration about the issue because they are concerned he could be attacked by other prisoners, the report said.

A U.S. State Department spokesman told Reuters that the “characterizations” of the meeting were “completely false.”

Representatives for the British Embassy in D.C. did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

Hope Not Hate, a British anti-racism group, said the Trump administration’s reported attempt to lobby on Robinson’s behalf was a “disgrace.”

“Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised given Trump’s racist rants this week but this move should shame the White House,” the group said early Saturday.

Police arrested at least two people at a pro-Robinson demonstration Saturday held in Whitehall, London, meanwhile, The Evening Standard reported. British authorities announced that the Robinson protest and others held in response to President Trump’s visit this weekend will be subject to a series of restrictions “due to concerns of serious public disorder and disruption to the community,” the report said.

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