Few people outside of the UK would have ever heard about the Britain First street movement were it not for President Donald Trump’s controversial retweet. The @realDonaldTrump has close to 49 million followers and his Twitter feed is daily fodder for the international media.
‘Britain First leaders jailed for anti-Muslim hate crime’, reported British newspaper The Independent in its headline today.
Paul has been sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment & Jayda has been sentenced to 36 weeks. They have been given these sentences for exposing a gang of Muslim pedophiles.THEIR ONLY CRIME IS LOYALTY!
Britain First describe themselves on their Facebook – refer above – as a “political party in Swanley”. They are an offshoot of the far right British National Party, better known by its acronym BNP.
The head of Britain First, Paul Golding, was yesterday sentenced to four months in prison. His deputy Jayda Fransen was sentenced to more than eight months’ jail for “religiously aggravated harassment”.
Among other offences, Golding and Fransen are being punished for distributing leaflets and uploading videos online deemed to be anti Muslim.
The leaflets and videos had been disseminated last year during a criminal trial at Canterbury Crown Court in Kent where three Muslim men and a teenager were later convicted of gang raping a 16-year-old girl.
Magistrates’ Court judge Justin Barron who sentenced Fransen said the purpose of her harassment was “to draw attention to the race, religion and immigrant background of the [Muslim] defendants”.
Thus, Fransen’s words and actions, according to the judge, had “demonstrated hostility” towards Muslims and Islam.
Chief Crown Prosecutor Jaswant Narwal told the court also that the “victims suffered the distress of the abuse followed by additional stress when the footage was uploaded to the Internet”.
The victims referred to by the prosecutor included the pregnant “partner” of one of rapists Tamin Rahmani who had been inside Tamin’s house when Fransen shouted abuse through the letter box; another victim was the innocent occupant of a house which Fransen had mistaken for the current address of one of rapists, Sershah Muslimyar.
In short, Fransen had behaved like a vigilante ahead of due process for the Muslim defendants.
— Daily Express (@Daily_Express) January 31, 2016
A self-described Christian crusaders group
Previously in November 2016, Fransen had been convicted of racially aggravated harassment and fined £1,900. Her fine was for verbally abusing a hijab-wearing woman during a Britain First ‘Christian patrol’ in January that year.
The Britain First members had marched in Luton carrying giant crosses as well as distributed their movement’s mock newspaper to passers-by. Its front page read: “World War Three has begun – Islam against the world”.
And the Britain First Christians believe God is on their side.
Fransen told the hijab-wearing woman who had rejected a copy of the mock newspaper that moreover “this is a Christian country”.
Earlier in 2015, Bedfordshire police barred Fransen and Golding for three years from entering any mosque or Islamic centre without permission. Prior to that in 2014, Britain First gained notoriety for their “mosque invasions” in Bradford where the movement’s members handed out Bibles.
“Britain First members describe themselves as Christian, are fiercely opposed to Islam and are often in the media,” explained a Feb 4 news report titled ‘What is Britain First and who are Jayda Fransen and Paul Golding?’
Jaida Fransen: DONALD TRUMP, HAS RETWEETED THREE OF DEPUTY LEADER JAYDA FRANSEN'S TWITTER VIDEOS! DONALD TRUMP HIMSELF HAS RETWEETED THESE VIDEOS AND HAS AROUND 44 MILLION FOLLOWERS! GOD BLESS YOU TRUMP! GOD BLESS AMERICA! OCS @JaydaBF @realDonaldTrump https://t.co/VJMzyEQvky
— Tangofoxtrox (@hitango666) November 29, 2017
Nativist Christian group that wants Islam banned
Britain First received an unexpected publicity boost last November when Fransen’s tweets linking to three video clips of atrocities (alleged by critics as “Islamophobic”) were retweeted by Trump.
“It is wrong for the president to have done this,” said a statement issued by a spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May.
Fransen herself responded to the president with a tweet saying, “God bless you Trump! God bless America!” and signing off with the abbreviation ‘OCS’, meaning Onward Christian Soldiers.
Her Twitter account @JaydaBF has since been suspended.
“We want Islam banned in the UK,” Fransen had once told a journalist from Australian news network ABC on .
Recently in January, Trump apologized on British television for the retweets, saying that he did not know who Britain First were. However, by this time Fransen and her street movement had already gained a measure of exposure worldwide thanks to his inadvertently ‘introducing’ or bringing attention to them.