Robinson EDL
Tommy Robinson, flanked by a serving soldier, addresses his audience in Newcastle (LiveLeak/YouTube).

Tommy Robinson, the leader of the English Defence League (EDL), has said his far-right movement will "defeat the forces of Islam" in a speech that threatens to inflame ethnical tensions following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby.

Speaking at a huge demonstration in Newcastle, Robinson stirred the crowd with references to Asian men grooming vulnerable teenage girls, and claimed the Prophet Mohammed was a warmonger who forged Islam in his own image.

Among the crowd of between 1,500 and 2,000 people were British troops angry at last week's murder in Woolwich, holding aloft St George's and Union Jack flags bearing the legends 'RIP Lee Rigby' and 'Support our Troops'.

Robinson's speech was greeted with raucuous cheers and applause throughout, while participants booed and chanted "scum" when the speech turned to Muslims.

Robinson told his audience: "The time for change is right now in this country," adding: "We will defeat Islamism or we will die trying.

"Our government have failed our armed forces by failing to accept we are in a war. We are in a war.

"The fact a British soldier has died on British streets, in such a horrific way, will be the moment... this soldier did not die in vain.

"In his [Rigby's] death, we will become safer because people will rise. He will be the martyr that started a fightback."

Chants of "heroes" were heard from the crowd when Robinson discussed Rigby and British troops fighting in Islamic countries.

'Spineless coward'

Robinson said the EDL is fighting a noble cause, telling his audience:

"David Cameron tells us that Islam is a religion of peace. Well David, you spineless coward, that is your opinion. The facts are that for 1400 years Islam has waged war and murder, they are the facts of Islam, we don't need your opinion."

The speaker continued by referring to the Quran as "an instruction manual" for war, and claimed: "Mohammed was a warmongerer, Islam was born out of murder.

"Forty four countries have turned to civil war because of Islam. Five percent of this country is Muslim, think of the carnage and chaos they are causing.

"They [Muslims] are brainwashed and radicalised from the age of four, many of them don't participate in murder or terrorism, [but] there is an undergrowing thing, there's an element by all their leaders, who are anti-troops. They incite hatred against our troops.

"Stories have come out in every town and city that Muslim paedophile gangs grooming people's daughters, social services, police forces, [yet] all the people there to protect them have failed them."It is honourable to oppose terrorism, it is honourable to oppose sharia law, it is honourable to oppose Muslim grooming gangs.

However Robinson continued by insisting the EDL intends to rely on peaceful protests, saying: "It is not honourable to shout at individual muslim women or attack individual muslims because, at the same time, there are muslims serving in the British armed forces. We have to separate muslims from islam. Muslims are the victims of Islam.

"Sikhs support our armed forces, 8,000 of them died in the World War. This isn't about colour, this isn't about race, this is about an ideology.

"To defeat this ideology you won't do it with punches, kicks, bombs or bullets, you need to win the hearts and minds of the people. We are winning the hearts and minds of the people through non-violent peaceful protest.

"Everyone is welcome in the English defence league, all colours and races."

The speech concluded with a minute's silence for British troops killed in action overseas. However the chants from a anti-fascism demonstration called Newcastle Unites were clearly audible throughout the silence.

Around 400 people took part in the anti-fascism demonstration, which took place around 100 yards from the EDL rally. However the two events were separated by lines of riot police.