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27 July 2017, 15:32
A former member of the English Defence League (EDL) has pinpointed the exact moment his opinion towards migrants changed forever.
During his conversation with Shelagh Fogarty, Tom in Chatham began by explaining why he and others had been drawn to the far-right group.
“They’re just very angry people,” he said. “They feel that they’ve got less than their parents, less opportunity, less money, they have to work twice as hard for half as much money.
“It’ a group of people that gets together and they’re misinformed, they’re angry and we’re being told it’s immigrants fault and that’s where we point our rage.”
The caller recalled the times when he would travel on a mini bus “just to shout at people who weren’t even listening”.
But, it wasn’t until Tom started working with a group of immigrants did his view on migration change forever.
“I met a guy called Eagle. Fantastic guy, really, really lovely - I think he was Romanian,” the caller continued.
“It was around Christmas time and we were on a building site and it was horrible, horrible weather.
“Me and him were the last guys on site and I said to him: ‘What are you doing for Christmas? Are you going home to see the family?’
“And he said: ‘No, no I can’t do that’. I said: ‘Why not?’ He said: ‘If I leave I can’t come back’.”
It was at that moment Tom realised his co-worker was an illegal immigrant.
“I had known this guy without knowing he was an illegal immigrant for about two years and I got to know him really well.
“And I thought, two years ago I was in the EDL and now I’ve got an illegal immigrant telling me that he’s not supposed to be here.”
Tom finished: “Instead of being angry, I felt sorry for him”.
Watch the fascinating interview above.