UK Christian who went viral for kind message to Muslims now facing Tommy Robinson

Man behind viral message of Muslim unity following the Christchurch mosque shootings is running against alt-right British MEP.
Tommy Robinson (left) is notorious for his alt-right, anti-Muslim discourse. Andrew Graystone (right) is up against him in the European elections. Photo credit: Left: Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis; Right: Twitter/Andrew Graystone

A man, whose kind message of solidarity with Muslims went viral after the Christchurch mosque shootings, has announced he will face off against a notorious far-right candidate in the European elections.

A photo of Andrew Graystone holding a touching sign outside his local mosque went viral following the March terror attack which killed 51 people. The poignant message read: "You are my friends. I will keep watch while you pray".

Graystone, a Christian, has been heavily praised by people worldwide for his simple act of kindness and display of unity in the aftermath of the tragedy.

The 57-year-old writer told Metro the overwhelming response to his gesture indicated that people want to live in a world "characterised by friendship not fear".

Now, Graystone is set to run as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) in Britain's northwest region. His decision to run was inspired by the positive messages he received after his sign went viral.

He is running as a candidate for Change UK, a pro-EU party comprised of former Labour and Conservative politicians.

Graystone will be in direct competition with former English Defence League leader, Tommy Robinson. Thirty-six-year-old Robinson, a far-right activist and independent candidate, has been banned from a handful of social media platforms due to his anti-Muslim discourse.

Graystone said the uncertainty of Brexit has allowed divisive people like Robinson to exploit public discord.

Protests against Tommy Robinson, a British politician.
Protesters hold placards and signs during an Anti-Tommy Robinson rally. He is already banned from several social media platforms. Photo credit: Reuters/Dylan Martinez

"I am worried about people deliberately stoking up hatred and division when what we need is for politicians and community leaders and ordinary people to come together," he told Metro.

"If you don't vote on May 23rd... I feel this particularly for the faith communities - Christians, Jews, Muslims and others - you may end up with letting Tommy Robinson [become] a representative of Britain."

Graystone left the Labour party two years ago, citing anti-Semitism as the key reason for his departure.

Voters will choose 73 MEPs in 12 regional constituencies on May 23.