UK

Donald Trump: Britain First Applaud Presidential Candidates' US Muslim Ban, Call For Petition To 'Let' Him Into UK

09/12/2015 12:30 GMT | Updated 09/12/2015 13:59 GMT

While Donald Trump's plans to ban Muslim immigration in the US prompted calls for him to be banned from the UK, he has received somewhat predictable support from a British political party whose supporters want to start a petition to "let him" into the UK - even though he is free to travel here.

Trump has been widely condemned for comments he made Monday calling for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" in the wake of terror attacks including Paris - on November 13 - and in San Bernadino, California, where a Muslim couple, believed to have been radicalised, killed 14 people at a health centre.

The Republican presidential candidate later fanned the Islamophobic controversy to London, claiming parts of the city were "so radicalised the police are afraid for their lives". London Mayor Boris Johnson responded by saying the "ill-informed comments are complete and utter nonsense".

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Britain First have endorsed Donald Trump's calls for a 'complete shutdown' on Muslims entering the US

The remark prompted a think-tank, which focuses on immigration, to urge Theresa May to ban Trump from the UK. A petition has since been launched, and has been gained over 100,000 signatures.

After Trump made the call, Britain First - who at their national conference last month passed a policy to ban Islam and all associated practices from the UK - endorsed his policy on their Facebook page, writing 'Vote for Trump in 2016'. The post received over 900 likes.

Then on Wednesday the far-right party posted a Daily Mail article in which David Cameron responded to Trump, captioning it, 'We stand with Donald Trump'.

In a comment under the post, Nick Ingles wrote: "We should start a petition to let Donald Trump into the UK. Lets see who would win!". In under an hour the remark was liked 152 times.

Trump is not presently forbidden from entering the UK.

Ingles later added that a petition should in fact be started to "invite" Trump to the UK, a comment that prompted several others to join the conversation.

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The comments on Britain First's Facebook page suggesting a petition be launched to let him into the UK

Michelle Griffies also commented on the posted Daily Mail article, headlined, 'Trump is 'divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong,' says Cameron', telling the British Prime Minister to lay off Trump. She wrote: "David cameron look after your own backyard before you go slagging off Donald Trump. Davide Cameron couldn't organise a shag in a brothel, far less manage the enormous Islamic problem in the UK."

The party also wrote about calls to ban Trump from the UK on their website, where one commentator, Anthoy Puzzo noted Trump was "beginning to sound presidential to me".

In an separate Facebook post on Wednesday Britain First called US President Barack Obama "an Islamist snake".

Earlier this week Britain First tried to piggyback on publicity around the Leytonstone Tube stabbing, after a comment, 'You're no Muslim bruv', caught on a mobile phone recording of the incident, went viral, and trended as a hashtag on Twitter. The alleged offender, Muhaydin Mire, had been heard yelling "this is fro Syria" as he attacked a 56-year-old man from behind with a knife. The party posted on their Facebook page - #HeWasMuslimBruv.

Sunder Katwala, the director of think tank British Future, which started the petition to ban Trump, labelled the billionaire's comments a "real low in electoral politics" and said it was "hugely irresponsible for a prominent figure like Trump to fan the flames of prejudice in this way".

He said: "The UK Home Office has set out clear guidelines which have led to the exclusion of preachers of hate from the UK if their presence here would not be conducive to the public good.

"Theresa May has excluded extreme Islamists on these grounds, and also kept out those who have fanned extreme anti-Muslim prejudice, such as the bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. Trump’s statements are more extreme than theirs."

Katwala said unless Trump were to retract his comments - which he has stood firm on - there is a "good case" for banning him from the UK.

Katwala, said Trump's proposals were "ludicrous and unconstitutional" as well as a "gift to Isis propaganda, playing into the idea of a 'clash of civilisations'".

"It is important that the UK government makes very clear that this extreme view is rejected and repudiated in the strongest possible terms," he said.

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"It would ban well over a million British citizens from visiting the US simply because of their faith background, including our business secretary Sajid Javid and our Olympic hero Mo Farah, among countless others people in business, academia, politics, sports, science and civic society."

It is not the first anti-Muslim statement Trump has made in his quest to secure the Republican nomination for president. He has previously claimed to have watched footage of American Muslims cheering after the September 11 attacks on New York, despite no TV station being able to find any such film.

One US tabloid newspaper led the charge against Trump, splashing on news of his policy proposal with a picture of him with his arm raised, captioned: "The new furor".

A similar editorial tack was chosen by the Times of Israel.

Trump's call to bar Muslim immigration is just the latest in a series of anti-Islamic statements he's made.

He previously suggested shuttering certain mosques in the US and claimed he saw footage of American Muslims cheering after the 9/11 attacks - footage no television network has been able to find.

There is some evidence that such anti-Muslim rhetoric has support among Republican Party voters.

According to Public Policy Polling, which has regularly polled voters on their attitudes toward Muslims, a significant portion of GOP primary voters in North Carolina, where Trump made his speech on Monday, believe Islam should be outright illegal in the United States.

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