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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Saturday, January 20, 2018

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Trump sparks global outrage, retweets inflammatory videos

Sparking global outrage

Share on Facebook November 30, 2017, Reporter : BNN, Reader : 404

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LONDON, U.K. - Sparking global outrage, the U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday retweeted a series of inflammatory anti-Muslim videos posted by an ultranationalist British group.

On Wednesday morning, Trump retweeted some videos posted by an ultranationalist British group that accuses Muslims of indiscriminate violence.

The videos were originally posted by the deputy leader of far-right Britain First, the ultranationalist British lawmaker, Jayda Fransen, who has previously been charged in the United Kingdom with “religious aggravated harassment” using “threatening, abusing or insulting words or behavior” in speeches and leaflets at events in September and November in three cities in England.

The videos portrayed Muslims committing acts of violence on Twitter, images that are likely to fuel anti-Islam sentiments popular among the president’s political base in the United States.

The videos were titled, ‘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!’

Responding to the retweet, Fransen thanked Trump for promoting her message on Twitter.

The video purporting to show a Muslim migrant beating a Dutch boy was also retweeted by a conservative commentator, Ann Coulter.

Fransen celebrated Trump sharing the videos and a tweet from her account, which is verified as authentic by Twitter, she said, "The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has retweeted three of deputy leader Jayda Fransen's Twitter videos! Donald Trump himself has re-tweeted these videos and has around 44 million followers! God bless you Trump! God bless America!!

Britain First has campaigned against the "Islamicifaction" of the U.K. since it was founded in 2011 by former members of the British National Party and the group has organised a number of public allies in cities across the U.K.

However, not everyone was in a celebratory mood post the incident.

Brendan Cox, the widower of MP Jo Cox, responded in a tweet, saying, "Trump has legitimised the far-Right in his own country, now he’s trying to do it in ours. Spreading hatred has consequences & the President should be ashamed of himself."

Later in the day, Trump’s retweeting also drew a sharp rebuke from the British prime minister, Theresa May, whose spokesman said it was “wrong for the president to have done this.”

May’s spokesman has accused Britain First of seeking “to divide communities through their use of hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions.”

He added, “British people overwhelming reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far right, which is the antithesis of the values which this country represents — decency, tolerance and respect.”

May, who initially embraced the U.S. president, partly in the hope of a rapid post-Brexit trade deal, has now made comments that become arguably her strongest criticism of Trump since he took office in January. 

Further, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the U.K. opposition Labour party, called it “abhorrent, dangerous and a threat to our society.”

Trump, who has been accused of pandering to white nationalists in the U.S. since the early days of his presidential campaign, has previously declined to renounce an endorsement from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. 

Then, recently, he said there were “very fine people” protesting alongside neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, against the removal of a Civil War statue.

Late on Wednesday, the White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the President’s social media postings, arguing that it fit with his agenda of increasing security at home.

She said, “Whether it’s a real video, the threat is real. His goal is to promote strong border security and strong national security.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s move to share the anti-Muslim Twitter posts by Britain First gave the far-right extremist group the biggest publicity boost ever.

The organisation, founded in 2011 is a spin-off of the British National Party which enjoyed limited electoral success between 2000 and 2010 as it edged away from its neo-Nazi roots.

The group has an estimated 1,000 members and bolsters its anti-Islamic, anti-immigration agenda with Christian symbolism, mixing the spectre of the uncontrolled Islamisation of the U.K. with references to the crusades. 

Trump's critics too have condemned what they called the president's anti-Muslim bias in reposting the videos.

Brian Klass, author of The Despot's Apprentice: Donald Trump's Attack on Democracy, said on Twitter, "Neo-Fascists in the U.K. celebrating Trump giving them a platform, just as neo-Nazis at the Daily Stormer celebrated Trump's comments at Charlottesville."  

The president's retweet controversy has come as the White House is working with Senate Republicans to pass tax reform. 

They also come less than a day after North Korea conducted its first missile launch in two months.

 

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