At the weekend the former UKIP leader Nigel Farage said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that Donald Trump “wouldn’t have an earthly clue who Britain First were”.
This was in response to the US President retweeting posts from the far-right organisation, which were deemed inflammatory and anti-Islamic and which have provoked a backlash from UK-based politicians with many calling for Mr Trump’s invitation for a state visit next year to be rescinded.
I suppose nothing that Mr Farage says should surprise anybody but to excuse the US President for disseminating this misinformation on the basis that “of course he doesn’t research everything” beggars belief.
The very fact that he is the US President should dictate that thorough research is undertaken before he endorses political propaganda as he is doing untold damage to international relations with his inflammatory rhetoric and confrontational outbursts.
A modicum of research would have revealed what Britain First stands for and from where it originates. It was formed in 2011 by former members of the British National Party, is led by a former BNP councillor and stands on a platform of far-right ideologies.
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In November this year it was statutorily deregistered as a party by the Electoral Commission. The group attracted condemnation from major Christian denominations and organisations after it held “Christian patrols” last year in an area of Luton where many Muslims live.
The accusation was made that it was “hijacking the name of Jesus Christ to justify hatred and spread fear”.
Of course, spreading fear and hatred plays right into the hands of those whose goal is to divide communities on the basis of culture and religion, and provides succour to murderous groups and individuals who attempt to justify their terrible actions by using religion.
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Ignorance is no excuse and when Mr Trump rebroadcasted the three offending Islamophobic videos, he was spreading the kind of propaganda that you would expect a man in his position to condemn.
One of the videos, called ‘Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches’, was nothing of the kind. Although it claimed to show an assault by a Muslim migrant the Dutch Government said that the assailant was “born and raised in the Netherlands” with a police spokesman adding “he is not a Muslim or a migrant”. The other two videos show footage from the Syrian civil war in 2013 and the violent unrest in Alexandria, Egypt.
While it is undeniable that Isis or Daesh are guilty of perpetrating shocking atrocities on a horrifying scale and must be defeated, many commentators accuse Mr Trump of adding a dimension that is equally as unwanted as it is unwarranted.
If the President of The United States feels he can act with impunity by peddling such pernicious material through social media, then we have reached an altogether different level of US politics.
That Mr Farage seeks to flippantly explain away Mr Trump’s actions is to be expected – “birds of a feather” and all that!