Trump retweets anti-Muslim videos from far-right British party
U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
WASHINGTON/LONDON – U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday posted anti-Islam videos on Twitter that had originally been posted by a leader of a far-right British party convicted earlier this month of abusing a Muslim woman.
As a candidate, Trump called for “a Muslim ban” and, as president, has issued executive orders banning entry from some citizens of multiple countries, although courts have partially blocked them from taking effect.
Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of the anti-immigrant Britain First group, posted the videos on Wednesday, saying that they showed a group of people who are Muslim beating a teenage boy to death, battering a boy on crutches and destroying a Christian statue.
Reuters was unable to immediately verify the videos. Fransen herself said they had come from various online sources which had been posted on her social media pages.
“I’m delighted,” Fransen, who has 53,000 Twitter followers, told Reuters. “The important message here is Donald Trump has been made aware of the persecution and prosecution of a political leader in Britain for giving what has been said by police to be an anti-Islamic speech.”
Britain First is a fringe group which has attracted a few hundred protesters to its regular street demonstrations around the country.
It says on its website it is a “loyalist movement”, opposed to all mass immigration with a “proven track record of opposing Islamic militants”, but critics say it is racist organisation.
Fransen was fined earlier this month after being found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment for shouting abuse at a Muslim woman wearing a hijab.
Last week, she was charged by the police in Northern Ireland with using threatening, abusive or insulting words in a speech at a rally in Belfast in August.
Along with the group’s leader, she was charged in September with causing religiously aggravated harassment over the distribution of leaflets and posting online videos during the court trial involving the case of a number of Muslim men accused and later convicted of rape.
Opposition Labour Party politicians in Britain called on Prime Minister Theresa May’s government to condemn Trump.
“I hope our government will condemn far-right retweets by Donald Trump,” opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote on Twitter. “They are abhorrent, dangerous and a threat to our society.”
There was no immediate response form May’s office. Fransen said Trump’s re-tweets showed his outrage at her treatment.
“He (Trump) stands for free speech and he won’t be deterred by any petty left-leaning journalist in Britain saying he shouldn’t be re-tweeting any individual,” she said.