Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 27 May 2019

Syrian boy who was bullied in Britain is suing far-right activist Tommy Robinson

The video of Jamal Hifazi being attacked was viewed more than 20 million times

Far Right activist Tommy Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, claimed on his Facebook page that Jamal Hijazi had attacked fellow pupils at his school. Getty
Far Right activist Tommy Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, claimed on his Facebook page that Jamal Hijazi had attacked fellow pupils at his school. Getty

Lawyers acting for a Syrian refugee who was bullied at school have begun proceedings against far-right figure Tommy Robinson for spreading false accusations about the boy.

A video of Jamal Hifazi, then 15, being violently bullied by a group of boys at a Huddersfield school went viral in November 2018, being viewed more than 20 million times.

Afterwards, Mr Robinson made “false and defamatory” statements on his social media pages, Jamal's lawyers say.

Jamal, 16, filed papers at the High Court on Wednesday seeking libel action against the anti-Muslim campaigner.

Mr Robinson, whose real real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, claimed on his Facebook page that the boy had attacked fellow pupils at his school.

He posted that Jamal “hit a girl with a hockey stick” and asked: “Why is this kid being portrayed as the ultimate victim in the entire country?”

The far-right campaigner’s page had more than one million followers before being recently deleted by Facebook for breaching its policies against hate speech.

“We are lodging Jamal’s claim for damages as against Yaxley-Lennon with the court today,” said Mohammed Akunjee, the boy's lawyeri.

The family, originally from Homs, fled fighting in Syria in 2016 for a refugee camp in Lebanon before moving to the UK later in the year under a UN resettlement programme.

The video of his attack prompted an outpouring of support, raising more than £170,000 (Dh801,954) in the weeks after.

Since the incident, the family have been forced to move to a new area and Jamal has not returned to school.

“[Mr Robinson] has broken the law and I hope they agree with us," he told The Guardian.

"When he put those posts up he was giving people the wrong idea about me and I was really worried because people were thinking, ‘Jamal is not a good person’.

“After he posted the video we were very scared and we got lots of threats from people because of what he said about me hitting those girls.

"I had never even spoken to these girls but people in the area started threatening us.”

Mr Robinson is campaigning for a seat in the European Parliament elections.

Updated: May 16, 2019 12:56 AM

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