UPDATE: Syed Kamall, leader of Britain's Conservative MEPs, has delivered a letter to the (empty) desk of his fellow London MEP Gerard Batten in the Strasbourg Parliament chamber (letter below).
A Ukip MEP has reiterated his belief that British Muslims should sign a declaration denouncing certain parts of the Qur’an, having previously bemoaned the EU for allowing an "explosion of Mosques" across the European homeland.
Revealed to the Guardian on Tuesday, Gerard Batten’s suggestion is just the latest embarrassment for party leader Nigel Farage in what must feel like a daily flogging as the seemingly endless parade of colourful characters from Ukip’s varied membership speak out.
British European deputy Gerard Batten in Strasbourg in 2010
Batten, who is a member of the party's executive, commissioned the "charter of Muslim Understanding" in 2006 however told the Guardian on Tuesday that he still endorses the idea. Within the document Muslims are asked to reject passages in the Qur’an that promote jihad as "invalid" and "non-Islamic", a move Batten said would not be an issue for "any reasonable, normal person".
The MEP, who represents London in Strasbourg, added that some Muslim texts also required updating, particularly those bits Batten claims say "kill Jews wherever you find them".
"If that represents the thinking of modern people, there's something wrong, in which case maybe they need to revise their thinking," he told the Newspaper. "If they say they cannot revise their thinking on those issues, then who's got the problem –us or them?"
Batten had previously given a video interview during his 2010 run for London mayor in which he said he would end the building of mosques in the capital until such a time when there was the building of a non-Muslim place of worship in Mecca.
Labour’s shadow London minister Sadiq Khan was quick to condemn Batten's suggestion, saying he was "appalled at the ignorance that Gerard Batten appears to have shown when speaking about the faith that I and hundreds of thousands of British Muslims practice".
Rehman Chishti, the Tory MP for Gillingham and Rainham, said that Batten’s position was "shocking", adding: "If Nigel Farage had any credibility, he would quite clearly not allow this individual to stand for office in Ukip."
On Wednesday, Syed Kamall, leader of Britain's Conservative MEPs, delivered a letter to the desk of his fellow London MEP Gerard Batten in the Strasbourg Parliament chamber. It read:
I read with interest your intervention on the subject of Islam, seeking written pledges from Muslims that they will not commit acts of violence or indulge in terrorist rhetoric.
Do you have a form I can sign already? I am anxious to assure you that I have no intention of mounting any attacks on unsuspecting infidels, nor of attempting to radicalise you or anyone else.
If the forms aren't ready yet, perhaps you would take this note as my guarantee? My wife and family would be most reassured to know you will allow me to stay in Britain, especially since I was born here.
Please feel free to drop into my office to discuss this over a cup of tea. I promise you will be entirely safe.
Leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament
Syed Kamall delivering the note on Wednesday
Tuesday's interview is just the latest publicity headache for Farage ahead of the European elections in May, following revelations that a Ukip councillor blamed the flooding on gay marriage, and the myriad faux pas of Godfrey Bloom, most notably his demand that Britain should stop sending aid to "bongo bongo land".
On Monday, a Newsnight report revealed that the man who served as UKIP's Commonwealth spokesman for more than a year is the former head of a kidnapping gang in Pakistan.
TOP STORIES TODAY