The prominent Muslim political commentator Mo Ansar has explained the reasons behind the controversial photos of him hugging the leader of the English Defence League, Tommy Robinson, during an EDL demonstration in Newcastle on Saturday.
Ansar posted on his Facebook page:
“There has been quite the furore over my picture with the leader of the English Defence League in the Sunday Mirror this weekend. I can confirm we met and had a lengthy and heated debate in Newcastle ahead of the EDL demonstration that day.
“There was a moment of levity at the end of it, during which he put his arm around me. As an anti-fascist, I abhorred it, but as a Muslim and a man of faith, I smiled and accepted it. In Islam, we are taught to hate the sin, but not the sinner. When it comes to the EDL, we have to start somewhere.
“We were ‘papped’ by a press photographer who was stood behind the security cordon about 40ft away, there was no embrace per se and no pose for a photo. Just to set the record straight!”
Dilly Hussain asked Mr Ansar to share what he discussed with Tommy Robinson to which he replied: “I’m afraid I can’t without compromising some things, which I cannot compromise. I would if I could, so to speak.”
Dilly Hussain then asked “out of curiosity” what exactly would Mr Ansar be compromising, unless he swore to Tommy Robinson to keep the discussion a secret. To which he replied: “I understand, I’m really not at liberty to discuss the matter dear brother. I hope you can trust me on the matter.”