Ukip’s acting leader has defended labelling Islam a “death cult”.
Gerard Batten, who took the reins of the chaos-stricken party after Henry Bolton was ousted as leader on Saturday, claimed that a “significant minority” of Muslims are extremists who want to be martyred and insisted Islam “glorifies death”.
The London MEP said Muslims migrating to the UK should reject the “dark age ideologies which many of them bring with them” through a literalist interpretation of the Koran.
In the wake of the Westminster terror attack in 2017, Batten posted a blog in which he called Islam a “death cult”.
“The terrorist attack in Westminster was just the latest in a long line of atrocities committed internationally in the name of Islam,” he wrote.
Speaking on Sky News’s Sunday With Niall Paterson, Batten defended his comments, saying: “What I wrote there about Islam is factually and historically true.
“Anybody that cares to look at the history of Islam over the past 1,400 years will see that that is true.”
He added: “It glorifies death. They believe in propagating their religion by killing other people and martyring themselves and going and getting their 72 virgins.
“Not all of them – that’s not saying that all of them do believe that or do that – I’m saying that a significant minority believe that and they are the problem.
“But the trouble is they are justified in those beliefs by a literalist interpretation of their own so-called holy texts.”
Batten has previously also suggested that Muslims sign a special code of conduct rejecting violence and warned that it was a big mistake for Europe to allow “an explosion of mosques across their land”.
He told Sky News he wants Ukip to “adopt a policy that says no foreign money should be allowed to fund extremist mosques and imams -which is what we have allowed Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to do over decades”.
He added: “They have exported their ideology to us and we have to think that we are powerless to do anything about it.
“I don’t think we are and I think we should do something about it.”
Batten did not rule out running for permanent party leadership, while the party’ former deputy chairwoman, Suzanne Evans, also suggested she could launch a run for the leadership.
“I might very well, let’s see,” she told Sky News.
But she has also called for Nigel Farage to return to lead the party to clear up the “mess” he has created.