Washington/London: US President Donald Trump hit back at British Prime Minister Theresa May after she criticised him for re-tweeting anti-Muslim Twitter posts from a far-right group, Britain First.
“Theresa, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!” Trump tweeted late Wednesday.
Trump re-posted the tweet minutes later as his first tweet went to the Twitter account of a woman Theresa Scrivener.
May led British leaders in attacking Trump after he shared three posts by Jayda Fransen, leader of Britain First which is known for its anti-Islam and anti-immigration stance.
May’s spokesman said Britain First seeks to divide communities by their use of hateful narratives. People of Britain believe in tolerance and respect and they reject the rhetoric of the far right, the spokesman said.
Of the three videos Trump re-circulated, the first one (2013) reflects the mood in Egypt after the army overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Moresi’s government. It shows members of Muslim Brotherhood group chasing their opponents in Alexandria and throwing one of them from a rooftop.
The second video (2013) is on war-torn Syria’s Idlib Province. It shows a Sharia law judge destroying a Virgin Mary statue by saying only Allah deserves to be worshipped.
The third video (2017) shows a ‘Muslim migrant’ beating a Dutch boy on crutches. The credibility of this video is being questioned since Dutch police and media never mentioned the attacker was a Muslim immigrant.
Fransen thanked Trump for sharing the three posts with his 40 million followers.
Brendan Cox, husband of MP Jo Cox who was allegedly killed by a member of British First, said: “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.”
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, said the British government should condemn Trump’s far-right retweets which are abhorrent, dangerous and a threat to society.
Chuka Umunna, the Labour MP, said the state visit invitation to Trump should be withdrawn. May’s spokesman, however, rejected this demand saying the invitation for his state visit has been extended and accepted.
TV presenter and journalist Piers Morgan tweeted to Trump whom he considers as a friend: “What the hell are you doing? Please STOP this madness & undo your re-tweets.”
The Muslim Council for Britain asked the government to distance itself from the comments.
In the meantime, Fransen will appear at Belfast Magistrates’ Court on December 14 for inflammatory speeches she made in Belfast.
Last year, she was fined for hurling abuse at a Muslim woman wearing a hijab.
Fransen’s fringe group has only 1,000 active members and its efforts to win elections have not succeeded. She got just 56 votes in a 2014 by-election to parliament.