Tommy Robinson to visit Preston for sit-down talks with Muslim community leaders
A Preston Muslim organisation has offered to sit down and meet a far-right activist on a visit to Preston.
Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, is standing as an Independent MEP candidate in the North West England constituency and is visiting Preston later this month.
According to The Light Foundation, a Preston group committed to interfaith dialogue, Robinson agreed to the sit-down talks after he was approached by the group's co-founder whilst campaigning in Blackpool on Monday.
Nadeem Ashfaq, co-founder of The Light Foundation, confronted Robinson and invited him to Preston for a "peaceful and respectful meeting" with representatives from Preston's Muslim community.
The former leader of the English Defence League apparently told Ashfaq that he accepted the offer to "sit down and talk" during his visit later this month.
Mr Ashfaq said: "Tommy Robinson has kindly accepted our invitation for a peaceful and respectful meeting, where we can explore common issues that affect us all.
"He was very polite and listened to me respectfully, for which I am grateful.
“Many of his supporters even shook my hand and thanked me for being honest and open with Tommy.
"I told him about the Prophet Muhammad who had a Jewish neighbour who allowed a delegation of Christians to stay in his mosque in Madina, where he allowed them to stay and pray according to their traditions.
"I wanted to reach out to Tommy and extend this same courtesy to him and welcome him to our city.
"Preston is a very tolerant city, there's something about the place. People mostly live together in harmony here and I want to reach out to Tommy our warm welcome to Tommy Robinson.
"We believe in open dialogue, working together to see if we can address issues that affect us all.
"I've promised Tommy Robinson that he will be treated with respect, honour and tolerance in Preston.
“May this dialogue be a source of peace for the benefit of Tommy, his supporters, Preston and all humanity.”