The President of the USA, Donald Trump, just retweeted three anti-Muslim videos posted by far right activist group Britain First to his 43.6 million followers.
The tweets were originally shared by Jayden Fransen, deputy leader of the organisation, who first posted them yesterday. The videos are titled "VIDEO: Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!", "VIDEO: Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!" and "Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!" Two of them feature acts of violence allegedly carried out by Muslims.
The video titled "Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!" was originally shared by Dumpert – a Dutch video-website – who removed the video at the request of the police and the victim, when the perpetrator was named in the comments and arrested. The maker of the video was also arrested following the incident. There is, however, nothing on this original site to indicate that the perpetrator was either Muslim or a migrant. Since Donald Trump’s retweet, GeenStijl – the Dutch right-leaning blog that owns Dumpert – have also commented on the retweets, claiming the perpetrator was "not a Muslim, let alone a migrant, but just a Dutch guy".
In their words: "No Muslim. No migrant. #FakeNews."
The video "Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!" dates back to 2013, when a young man was pushed from the roof of a building in Alexandria, Egypt. It was part of the bloody summer of violence which followed the overthrowing of president Mohamed Morsi. The perpetrator, Mahmoud Ramadan, was hanged for the murder in 2015.
The final video, "Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!", depicts pretty much exactly what the title indicates. It is perhaps worth noting that in the first three months of this year, acts of violence, vandalism and aggression towards mosques in the US doubled compared to the same period in 2016.
In the past few years, Britain First have graduated from a fringe BNP offshoot to becoming one of the UK's more organised far-right groups. In the wake of the English Defence League’s collapse, Britain First reached notoriety when they set up a "Christian Patrol" in response to Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary’s Muslim Patrol in east London. VICE had a run-in with the group earlier this year, at a protest they held in Westminster after the terror attacks there in March. However, they are perhaps best known for their online presence, both on Twitter and Facebook, where they make and share a range of memes and images – ranging from relatively innocuous poppy-baiting to the sort of violently anti-Muslim content the president just retweeted.
Paul Joseph Watson, an editor at conspiracy theory channel Infowars and Trump cheerleader, wasn't particularly gushing about the move, denouncing it as "not great optics".