Shock as Trump retweets British far-right activist

US President Donald Trump

United States President Donald Trump has sparked shock and outrage on social media after sharing videos posted by a British far-right activist, known for her anti-Muslim rhetoric, on Twitter.

The US leader shared three videos by Britain First deputy leader Jayda Fransen, purporting to show Muslims carrying out beatings or acts of vandalism.

One of the tweets shows a video of a teen boy beating up a another teen boy on crutches. The incident happened in May this year in the Dutch town of Monnickendam.

After the video was posted on Dutch social media in May, police arrested a two Dutch teens from Monnickendam and neighbouring town Edam-Volendam in connection to the beating. It was never confirmed the suspect was Muslim or a migrant.

Britain First’s Fransen, who in 2016 was convicted by a British court for harassing a woman wearing a hijab, is banned by court order from entering mosques in the UK.

Together with other activists from the far-right group, Fransen, took part in regular mosque “invasions”.

Thomas Mair, the killer of British MP Jo Cox is reported to have shouted the group’s name after stabbing the Labour Party politician.

Many on social media voiced anger that the holder of such a high office would share material from a far-right activist.

“Trump sharing Britain First. Let that sink in. The President of the United States is promoting a fascist, racist, extremist hate group whose leaders have been arrested and convicted. He is no ally or friend of ours. (Donald Trump) you are not welcome in my country and my city,” British Labour Party MP David Lammy tweeted.

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Brian Klass, an academic at the London School of Economics, wrote: “Here in the UK, Britain First is (correctly) seen as a neo-Fascist hate group. They are beyond the fringe extremists. Their leaders have been arrested and convicted for inciting hatred, including the horrible racist woman that Trump re-tweeted multiple times.”

Wednesday’s retweets is not the first time Trump has shared or made comments that are considered racist.

On Monday, speaking to a group of Native American veterans, Trump referred to US Senator Elizabeth Warren, who claims Native American ancestry as “Pocahontas”, after a historic Native American figure.

Trump also campaigned on a platform of banning Muslim entry to the US and the surveillance of mosques in the country.

Shortly after taking office, he signed an executive order banning nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. After court challenges, the ban was revised and now includes restrictions on citizens from six Muslim-majority countries, as well as North Korea and Venezuela.

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