President Donald J. Trump caused controversy in Britain after retweeting anti-Islamic videos by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of British political party Britain First, on November 29. As GFM reported earlier, Miss Fransen was arrested under Northern Irish law on November 18 for an anti-Islamic speech she had there in August, thereafter presumably having been released. Both British Members of Parliament (MoP) and the Prime Minister Theresa May took offence to the president for retweeting something by a member of a party commonly known as being “far-right”.
Theresa May commented that this was the “wrong thing to do.” She also proclaimed that the “British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far-right which is the antithesis of the values that this country represents: decency, tolerance and respect.” The Telegraph reports that Trump had scheduled a “working visit” to Britain in January, but, amid all the controversy of these retweets, it were cancelled, without any replacement date.
The problems of immigration and of Islamic terrorism can surely be controversial, but what this controversy is really about is whom was being retweeted, not what the tweet consisted of.
One may say the video misrepresent their religion or their actions as a collective, and they’d have to raise good arguments to have merit in that stance, but what is clear from this occurrence is that it wasn’t the ideas which the battle was about, but the persons. A “bad person” said something, and therefore it is bad to forward their idea, no matter how much merit it may have. In a culture where we highly value freedom of speech, this does not seem to be a good sign. The collectives count, seemingly, not individuals, in raising and denouncing arguments about how a country ought to be controlled. May’s position is now clear as day, and not much to disagreement with London Mayor Sadiq Khan. How Britain’s future now looks, can not be foreseen, but it seemingly lies on a Road to Serfdom.
Donald Trump responded to Theresa May on November 30, saying:
This statement hit Theresa May as it brought attention to the crime statistics. According to UK crime statistics, crime is at an all-time high in densely populated Muslim areas. Nobody is wanting to speak out for this statistic because of the fear of being branded a racist and potentially losing his/her job.
Although President Trump shared three videos, which only two of which were factually backed, the videos themselves were dismissed almost immediately. The factual videos showed Islamic Terrorists throwing a homosexual off a roof and an Islamic Terrorist smashing an ancient statue of the Virgin Mary. President Trump had no idea who Britain First were, or that the leaders are former British National Party members (a party that is considered far right and anti-semitic), but he had shared the videos out of concern for the United Kingdom. The biggest mistake Trump made was that he made zero background checks on the Britain First party and their history.
What makes Britain First so extreme is not always the message itself, as Milo Yiannopoulos criticises Islam yet he has a massive international backing, however it is the way Britain First deliver their message. Last year, a member of Britain First murdered MP Jo Cox whilst shouting the exact words ‘Britain First’. Members often rally in large numbers and sometimes publicly attack houses of suspected Jihadists. Not only is this unjust, these actions do not result in any kind of gain whatsoever for the British Public – in fact it may only make the Jihadist occupant even angrier. An appropriate form of action would be to have the Jihadist deported, not have stones thrown at his house. Some go as far as to say that Britain First mirrors ANTIFA in the means of political violence.
Britain First has been appealing more to Populists simply over their censorship, as the deputy leader, Jayda Francen, is now facing prison over criticising Islam over the verses in the Quran that say that unbelievers should be killed. According to multiple polls, even some by the BBC, an estimate of between 33% and 52% of Britons see Islam as a threat to them. This adds fuel to Britain First’s movement. However, not all that see Islam as a threat decide to act violently in the exact same way that not all Muslims will take the Quran word for word and start slaughtering non believers. Again, many of those who support Britain First may not have extreme or violent views but may just be fed up with those who say that Islam is peaceful and Sharia Law is great.