Britain First, the anti-Muslim marginal group retweeted by Trump



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LONDON – A small group of far-right nationalists in Britain, who march in front of mosques with crosses, received a big publicity boost on Wednesday when President Trump retweeted three of his anti-Muslim incendiary videos to his millions of Dollars. followers

Criticism of Trump's retweets came with force and speed in Britain, even attracting Prime Minister Theresa May, whose office said Trump was "wrong" to promote the videos, produced by the group Britain First whose leaders were prosecuted and jailed to harbad Muslims.

In a direct reprimand by the US president, May's office condemned Britain First for its use of "hate narratives that spread lies and fuel tensions."

The statement continued: "The British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudicial rhetoric of the far right, which is the antithesis of the values ​​that this country represents: decency, tolerance and respect, it is wrong for the President to have done this."

British leaders on the political spectrum were shocked and dismayed by Trump's tweets that back a micro-group that usually attracts only a few dozen supporters to their rallies.

Some said Trump was trying to legitimize the extreme right in Britain, while others were so stunned they wondered if maybe he was naive or ignorant.

"Britain is a frightening organization," Martin Callanan, a Conservative Party politician and government minister, told the BBC.

Referring to Trump, Callanan said: "I can only badume that he made a mistake and that he did not realize who Great Britain was first."

[Analysis: Trump’s anti-Muslim and anti-media tweets demonstrate deep insecurity]

Britain first leaders, however, were ecstatic.

"DONALD TRUMP HIMSELF HAS REMOVED THESE VIDEOS AND HAS AROUND 44 MILLION FOLLOWERS! GOD BLESS YOU TROMP! GOD BLESS AMERICA!" Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of the group, tweeted.

Britain First was founded in 2011 by Jim Dowson, an anti-abortion activist, and Paul Golding, a former councilor of the British National Party.

The anti-Muslim group soon became known for its "Christian patrols" and for driving paramilitary style vehicles and wearing matching uniforms.

Its members became famous for attacking mosques and Muslim-majority areas and then producing short and selectively edited videos of their provocative tactics.

During the spring and summer of this year, for example, a few dozen activists with Britain First, waving the Union Jack and carrying white crosses, marched in front of the East London mosque.

In an exchange, a counterattack shouts "What you're doing is disgusting!" And someone shouts: "This is still a British Christian area, and this is our country."

The videos show fights, kicks, curses and egg throwing while the police fight to keep the two sides separated.

In a June video clip, Golding shows up in front of the mosque swearing: "This used to be our area, it will be our area again."

Narrates: "We just entered the Whitechapel area of ​​London with some leaflets and we went through the mosque in East London and quickly surrounded us with a growing crowd of Muslims and white liberals shouting insults.

"They threw things at us, we had people spitting at us, and this was about the heinous crime of standing on a British pavement and filming. That's all we did. . . . Whose country is this? "

[Anti-Muslim group picks a fight in British Muslim neighborhood, and gets one]

In August 2016, the group's leaders were banned from entering all the mosques in England and Wales.

Later that year, Golding was imprisoned by violate that prohibition.

After his release from prison, he posted a chilling video in which he opposed the establishment, the liberals, the media and the "alien infidels." [19659002] Urges his followers to join him in the streets to prevent Muslims from raping British girls.

In the video, Golding threatens to "confront and oppose each traitor in this county."

As a condemnation of the "traitors" the short video shows images of the British Prime Minister wearing a headscarf and meeting young Muslims.

Golding said he was imprisoned because he had the courage and conviction to confront the hard-line Muslim cleric Ali Hammuda, the imam in a mosque in Cardiff, home to several Britons who joined the militant group of the Islamic State in Syria.

Golding and Fransen have had skirmishes with the law. Last year, a Luton court found Fransen guilty of verbally insulting a Muslim woman. Earlier this month, she was arrested for statements she made at a rally in Belfast.

"They have been quite provocative over the years, they come to provoke local youth and intimidate them, make them react, take video and then post it on their website and say:" Look how disgusting Muslims are . They are an openly anti-Muslim group, "said Dilowar Khan, director of finance and participation at the East London mosque.

Once, he said, members of Britain First entered the mosque with their shoes on, making sure to step on carpets. prayer, and then handed a Bible to the receptionist.On another occasion, he said, supporters of the group drank alcohol outside in the hope of provoking an answer.Again, supposedly blocked the entrance of the mosque with a large cross. Sometimes, Khan said, they simply appear outside, record a video and then leave.

"It is not appropriate for any politician to demonstrate direct or indirect support to openly anti-Muslim groups and trying to divide communities," he said.

Even Paul Joseph Watson of Infowars, far-right and conspiratorially minded, tweeted that giving Britain a megaphone first is not a good option for Trump.

"Yes, someone could I'd like to tell anyone who is running Trump's Twitter account this morning that retweeting Britain First is not a great optics, "Watson wrote.

Nick Ryan, a spokesman for Hope Not Hate, an antiterminist research organization, said it was surprising that the president of the United States deliberately retweeted the group's publications.

"A politician would have to be blind not to understand that this is a very disagreeable right-wing organization that has problems with the law, the electoral authorities and 98% of the population slanders it." He deserves to believe that Trump would share these things knowingly, "said Ryan.

Although Britain First only attracts a handful of people to its rallies, it has a large following online: its Facebook page has almost 2 million likes. But Hope Not Hate has questioned the legitimacy of online support.

"We think they may have bought a proportion of their followers," Ryan said.

[Analysis: Did a U.S. neo-Nazi group inspire the slaying of British lawmaker Jo Cox?]

In June 2016, Labor Party legislator Jo Cox was stabbed to death by an badailant who allegedly shouted "Great Britain first!" The leaders of the Great Britain First group said there were no ties between the attacker and his organization. The attacker had links with neo-Nazi groups.

On Wednesday morning, Cox's widower, Brendan Cox, tweeted: "Trump has legitimized the far right in his own country, now he's trying to do it in ours." The spread of hatred has consequences and the president he should be ashamed of himself. "

Britain First has tried to be part of the electoral politics, but has not been able to obtain any candidate in the position.

Golding was a candidate in the mayoralty of London election last year and made news when he turned his back in protest during the victory speech of the winner, Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim mayor of London.

Griff Witte in Berlin contributed to this report.

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