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ITV defends EDL founder’s appearance on Good Morning Britain

ITV has defended the appearance of Tommy Robinson on Good Morning Britain after the English Defence League co-founder called the Qur’an a “violent and cursed book” and host Piers Morgan accused of him being a “bigoted lunatic’.

There was a backlash on social media after Robinson’s interview with Morgan and co-host Susanna Reid. Some Twitter users criticised the programme for giving Robinson a platform for his views, while Robinson and his supporters denounced Morgan for intervening and talking over him.

Robinson, a far-right activist, appeared on the programme after one person died and 11 were injured when a van ploughed into a group of worshippers in a terrorist attack near a mosque in Finsbury Park, north London.

After the attack, Robinson wrote a series of tweets, which included claims that the Finsbury Park mosque “has a long history of creating terrorists and radical jihadists and promoting hate and segregation”, and that as a Christian he felt “scared” after the incident. He also tweeted: “Yesterday yet again proves me right. I’ve said don’t give any nut jobs a chance to retaliate, our government needs to control it. But they failed.”

On Good Morning Britain, Robinson said there was “no such word as Islamophobia”, adding: “A phobia is an irrational fear. It’s not irrational to fear these things.” He brought a copy of the Qur’an to the interview and claimed it incited hatred.

Morgan told Robinson to “show some damn respect for people’s religious beliefs” when he displayed the Qur’an and accused him of being a “complete disgrace”.

“You’re sounding like a complete lunatic,” Morgan said. “You’re sounding like a bigoted lunatic. You are an Islamophobe who hates Islam.

“What you’re doing now is deliberately inflammatory. You’re stirring up hatred. You are abusing people’s religion. You are abusing their faith.”

A spokesperson for Good Morning Britain said: “Tommy Robinson was interviewed on Good Morning Britain this morning to be robustly challenged on controversial comments he made yesterday following the Finsbury Park terror attack, which were widely reported in the news.”

Morgan also responded to criticism of the interview, tweeting:

(@piersmorgan)

The reaction to our @GMB encounter today confirms what I suspected about @TRobinsonNewEra – he inspires a lot of vile, bigoted thugs.