Trump Retweets Posts by Group That Wants to Ban Islam

Leader of Britain First Paul Golding (right) with deputy leader Jayda Fransen (left).
Leader of Britain First Paul Golding (left) with deputy leader Jayda Fransen.

President Trump has caused controversy again, this time by retweeting posts made by a far-right British organization called Britain First.

Trump retweeted three videos from Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First. The videos were entitled “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches,” “Muslim destroys a statue of Virgin Mary” and “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death.”

It is not known if the videos are authentic.

Britain First is vociferously anti-Islam. The policies section of its website states that the group wants to:

  • Disbar followers of the Islamic ideology from holding public office.”
  • “Introduce a comprehensive ban on the religion of ‘Islam’ within the United Kingdom. This ban will include the prohibition of halal slaughter, sharia courts, religious publications (such as the Koran, Hadiths), the operation of mosques, madrasas and ‘cultural centres’ and the public preaching and/or teaching of Islamic scriptures and doctrines.”
  • “Introduce a prohibition on the use of Islamic face coverings in public, such as the Burka.”
  • “Anyone found to be promoting the ideology of Islam will be subject to deportation or imprisonment.”

These positions are profoundly unconstitutional in the U.S.

Britain First was formed in 2011 by a splinter faction of the British National Party. Their platform includes a complete halt to all immigration to the UK and a pledge to “restore Christianity as the bedrock” of the UK. They have no seats in the UK parliament and extremely limited support.

Fransen herself was convicted of religiously-aggravated harassment in 2016 while on a so-called “Christian Patrol.” Fransen reportedly hurled abuse at a Muslim lady wearing a hijab in front of the woman’s four young children. She told the woman that Muslim men force Muslim women to cover up “because they cannot control their sexual urges,” and “that’s why they are coming into my country raping women across the continent.”

Trump’s tweets have prompted a furious backlash, including from many who are active in opposing radical Islam. 

Melanie Phillips, author of Londonistan: How Britain is Creating a Terror State Within, slammed the tweets as “beyond stupid, reckless and reprehensible.”

This is because Britain First is a dangerous organization.

“Trump has given an enormous boost to a group that should be treated as totally beyond the pale,” Phillips said. “Although campaigning against Islamic extremism, intolerance and religious fascism is not just acceptable but necessary, some groups which do so are totally unacceptable because they themselves promote extremism, intolerance or fascism. Britain First is squarely in that category.”

Shireen Qudosi, director of Muslim Matters at America Matters, who herself voted for Trump and vocally supported the president, said, “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.”

It is vital that those who seek to challenge Islamism make a very clear distinction between two things: One is having a solutions-oriented conversation about radical Islam, which is much needed and which sections of the politically-correct left have attempted to silence. The other is targeting all Muslims as monolithically threatening and using concerns about Islamism to stoke racial tension. The second will only make things worse and must be strenuously opposed. 

See Clarion Project’s full statement on Anti-Muslim Bigotry

 

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Elliot Friedland
Elliot Friedland is a research fellow at Clarion Project.