A UKIP MEP has come under fire after tweeting a cartoon that depicts a group of Calais migrants on a school bus with the caption “Allahu Akbar”.
Roger Helmer, MEP for the East Midlands said that he was making an “amusing” point by publicising the image, which suggested that refugees allowed into the UK could “commit terrorism or sex attacks”.
He added that “recent history” suggests that some of those being allowed into Britain from ‘The Jungle’ camp “may be” terrorists or rapists.
The cartoon shows Theresa May driving a yellow bus full of youths photographed in Calais, with the caption “The children on the bus sing Allahu Akbar”.
The ‘God is great’ phrase appeared to be a jibe at the shout of Islamist suicide bombers.
Chuka Umunna, leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign, told HuffPost UK: “Britain’s proud history of providing sanctuary to children fleeing conflict seems to have escaped the notice of Roger Helmer.
“This kind of xenophobic garbage on social media fans the flames of hatred, which have led to the alarming recent rise in hate crimes.
“As an elected representative of the British people, Roger Helmer should delete this vile tweet and apologise.”
Some on Twitter picked up on the Open Britain attack.
But when challenged about his retweet, Helmer was unrepentant, denying that he was “bigoted” or “Islamophobic”.
He added that “I thought it was an amusing and relevant comment on the immigration debate and migrant issue”.
The MEP then insisted that he wasn’t directly accusing those allowed in from Calais, but said that “some” of them “may be” sex attackers or terrorists because “the UK doesn’t know who it is letting in”.
The ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais was being cleared today by the French authorities, as the first child refugees tried to find homes in the UK.
Up to 1,300 foreign nationals were bussed away from the makeshift site to locations across France.
At least 7,000 people have been living in the refugee camp in squalid conditions, some for years.
Migrants queued peacefully to be processed, and half of the 60 coaches lined up to will carry them to migrant centres across France have now left.
Protestors gathered outside the Home Office to call for better treatment of the unaccompanied minors.
Home Affairs Commitee chairwoman Yvette Cooper warned that child refugees risk slipping into the hands of smugglers.