Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, the immigrant-bashing, Muslim-hating leader of the far-right English Defense League was sentenced yesterday to 10 months in a British prison after pleading guilty to trying to illegally enter the United States. Yaxley-Lennon used a friend’s passport in order to speak at a gathering of other immigrant-bashing, Muslim-hating bigots last Sept. 11 in New York City.
American immigration officials initially stopped the 30-year-old, name-shifting extremist from entering the country at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York when he was fingerprinted and it was revealed he was not the man listed on the passport – Andrew McMaster.
But Yaxley-Lennon, who also uses the pseudonym Tommy Robinson in his anti-Muslim protests and speeches across England, somehow managed to slip away from the authorities and travel into the heart of Manhattan. There, he delivered a speech to a conference of an international right-wing umbrella group, Stop the Islamization of Nations (SION), that included a U.S. SION spinoff, Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA). SIOA is headed by Pam Geller, the American anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead and a Yaxley-Lennon ally.
Yaxley-Lennon returned to England the next day and was arrested a short time later.
“We were fortunate to have the singular Tommy Robinson come to New York and address the first SION World Freedom Congress on September 11,” Geller wrote on Oct. 21 on her website site, Atlas Shrugs. “Robinson has been arrested for his participation in this effort. This is the latest outrage in a relentless campaign of attrition, harassment and political persecution of Robinson by a weak, sharia-compliant UK government.’’
A legal defense fund was set up on both sides of the ocean and his supporters called Yaxley-Lennon a political prisoner. Geller vowed to “fight alongside him.’’
One anti-racist English blogger saw Geller’s position as hypocritical. “For the number of times they scream about ‘illegal immigrants’ setting foot on their precious land, you’d think they’d pick up on the fact that the EDL’s leader Tommy Robinson (Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) entered American illegally,” the blogger wrote.
In a British courtroom yesterday, the EDL leader admitted as much when he pleaded guilty “to possession of a false identity document with improper intention,’’ according to England’s Channel 4 News. “You knew perfectly well that you were not welcome in the United States,” Channel 4 quoted Judge Alistair McCreath telling Yaxley-Lennon at the sentencing hearing.
But before sending him off to prison, there was a little confusion about which name to use in sentencing him: Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, Tommy Robinson or even a third name.
When he returned to England, Yaxley-Lennon used his legal passport, which apparently includes is real name – Paul Harris.
The judge sentenced him as Stephen Lennon, “although I suspect that is not actually your true name.’’
Lennon/Robinson/Harris had been in jail for several weeks before pleading guilty. Channel 4 News reported that during that time attendance at protests had dwindled and members drifted away as EDL “splinters into more extreme factions.”