The leaders of far-right group Britain First were jailed on Wednesday for anti-Muslim hate crimes. Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen were found guilty of one count and three counts, respectively, of religiously aggravated harassment. Golding was sentenced to 18 weeks and Fransen 36 weeks in prison.
The judge threw out three other charges.
Britain First shot to international prominence when President Donald Trump retweeted three videos shared by Britain First. The group has an extensive online presence. The groups posts videos and memes railing against Islam and immigrants to the UK.
Shireen Qudosi, director of Muslim Matters at America Matters, who herself voted for Trump and vocally supported the president during the election, told Clarion Project at the time, “Tweets like this coming from our president only reinforce accusations against him of nationalism and Muslim hate.”
“Britain First dehumanizes through nationalism and race in the same way religious extremists dehumanize through theology,” Qudosi added. “It is that much harder for Muslims to fight organizations like CAIR and Muslim fanaticism across the world when the U.S. president is pushing far-right, anti-Muslim propaganda videos.”
Britain First wants to ban Islam completely from the UK, including shutting down all mosques, cultural centers and schools, banning the Quran and all other Islamic books and deporting or imprisoning “anyone found to be promoting the ideology of Islam.” They also want to ban use of the word “racism” in the media.
Golding and Fransen were arrested last May for distributing leaflets and posting videos about a high-profile rape case. They harassed Muslims they thought were defendants in the rape trial. Three Muslim men and a teenager were sentenced and jailed.
The pair went to a takeaway restaurant in Ramsgate, Kent, banged on the window and yelled “pedophile” and “foreigner.”
Fransen went to two other houses, at one of which she shouted racist abuse through the door.
Clarion Project opposes all forms of anti-Muslim bigotry. See our full statement.