Theresa May Calls Out Trump For Retweeting Anti-Muslim Videos

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U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday posted anti-Islam videos on Twitter that had originally been published by a leader of a fringe, far-right British party who was convicted earlier this month of abusing a Muslim woman.

Donald Trump talking with Theresa May

Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of the anti-immigration Britain First group, posted the videos on Wednesday which she said showed a group of people who were Muslims beating a teenage boy to death, battering a boy on crutches, and destroying a Christian statue.

Trump’s decision to re-tweet the videos prompted criticism from both sides of the Atlantic.

“I hope our government will condemn far-right retweets by Donald Trump,” Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, wrote on Twitter. “They are abhorrent, dangerous and a threat to our society.”

Reuters was unable to immediately verify the videos and Fransen herself said they had come from various online sources which had been posted on her social media pages.

However, it was later revealed that at least one of the videos was debunked. The clip was erroneously described as depicting a Muslim boy with dark hair beating up a Dutch boy with blonde hair. As it turns out, both of the boys in the clip were Dutch and neither of them is Muslim. 

“I‘m delighted,” Fransen, who has 53,000 Twitter followers, told Reuters, saying it showed the U.S. president shared her aim of raising awareness of “issues such as Islam”.

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.

BAN ON ISLAM

Britain First is a peripheral political party which wants to end all immigration and to bring in a comprehensive ban on Islam, with anyone found to be promoting the religion’s ideology to be deported or imprisoned.

The group, which attracts a few hundred protesters to its regular street demonstrations, states on its website it is a “loyalist movement” but critics say it is simply racist.

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 also charged in September with causing religiously aggravated harassment over the distribution of leaflets and posting online videos during a court trial involving a number of Muslim men accused and later convicted of rape.

Politicians in Britain called on Prime Minister Theresa May’s government to condemn Trump while the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest U.S. Muslim civil rights organization, said it was an incitement to violence.

“These are actions one would expect to see on virulent anti-Muslim hate sites, not on the Twitter feed of the president of the United States,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement.

May eventually issued a statement denouncing Trump's endorsement of these dangerous videos. 

"It is wrong for the president to have done this," she said, according to NBC News

"This causes anxieties to law abiding people," May added. "The British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudice rhetoric of the far-right, which is the antithesis of the values that this country represents; decency, tolerance and respect."

Despite condemning Trump's actions, his invitation to the U.K. in 2018 still stands, according to May's office. 

David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, praised Trump for his posts.

”He’s condemned for showing us what the fake news media won‘t," Duke wrote on Twitter. “Thank God for Trump! That’s why we love him!”

There was no immediate response from May’s office, and Fransen said Trump’s re-tweets showed his outrage at her treatment by the media and the authorities.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

Trump's reckless retweets not only endangered Muslims everywhere, but — whether intentionally or otherwise — they expressed support for a fascist, racist, and extremist hate group. His actions are the equivalent of May retweeting a post from Duke or notorious white supremacist Richard Spencer.

Adding insult to injury, Trump didn't even bother to confirm the validity of these clips before sharing them, which is completely and utterly irresponsible, particularly of a powerful world leader.

It would appear that the president is either totally oblivious or downright apathetic to the irreparable damage his hateful rhetoric is capable of. 

Banner/thumbnail credit: REUTERS/Kevin Coombs & REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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