US President Donald Trump has re-tweeted anti-Islam videos originally posted by Jayda Fransen, a leader of a far-right British party convicted earlier in November of abusing a Muslim woman.
Fransen is deputy leader of the anti-immigrant Britain First group. Here are some details about her organisation:
Britain First was founded in 2011 by leader Paul Golding with a membership of three individuals. It describes itself as a “patriotic political party and street movement,” although critics denounce it as a far-right, racist organisation.
“Britain First is committed to preserving our ancestral ethnic and cultural heritage, traditions, customs and values,” it says on its website.
It wants to deport all illegal immigrants, halt all further immigration, and introduce “a comprehensive ban on the religion of Islam” with headscarves being outlawed in public. “Anyone found to be promoting the ideology of Islam will be subject to deportation or imprisonment,” its policy platform states.
It holds protests across the country, usually attended by a couple of hundred supporters at most, many of whom hold white crosses because the group argues Christianity in Britain is being threatened by immigration and the growth of militant Islam.
Golding was a former senior figure in the far-right British National Party and was elected a local councillor in 2009. In his biography on the group’s website it says he was “sent to prison in 2016 for confronting a Muslim hate preacher who was secretly recorded saying it’s okay for Muslims to keep sex slaves.”
Golding stood for election as London mayor in May 2016, winning 31,372 votes, 1.2% of all cast.
Fransen, who was elected deputy leader in 2014, was convicted of religiously aggravated harassment in November 2017, and both she and Golding are facing further similar charges.
The group gained prominence in June 2016 when Labour lawmaker Jo Cox was shot dead on the street by a Nazi-obsessed loner who witnesses said had been shouting “Britain first” during the attack. Fransen told Reuters the killer had nothing to do with her group.