President Donald Trump has been castigated by leftists, Democrats, and defenders of Islam for retweeting several videos this week that depicted violence at the hands of Muslims in Europe and the Middle East.

The English originator of the videos, Jayda Fransen -- who is a leader in the Britain First movement in the UK --  issued a video appeal on Thursday asking Trump to intervene with the British government, which has charged her with religiously aggravated harassment and for using threatening and abusive language. After thanking the president for retweeting her videos, Fransen said: "On behalf of myself and every citizen of Britain and for every man and woman who has fought and died for us to have freedom of speech, I am appealing to you for your help. I'm appealing for your intervention before I am thrown in jail."

According to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump was not aware that the videos were connected to a group designated as "far-right" in the United Kingdom. Speaking on Thursday, when she was asked whether Trump was aware of the connection, she said: “No, I don’t believe so," adding, "But I think he knew what the issues are, and that is that we have a real threat of extreme violence and terrorism, not just in this country but across the globe, particularly in Europe." Sanders said that Trump sought to "elevate the conversation" around terrorism.

The 31-year-old Fransen is currently on bail. The British government is conducting a probe into the distribution of Britain First leaflets and videos during a trial in May. She is also scheduled to appear in Northern Ireland to face charges of using threatening and abusive language during a speech she made there in August where she condemned Muslim terrorism.

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Trump retweeted videos tweeted by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, a British nationalist political group, that depict Muslims committing various crimes. In one case, a young man is seen being thrown off the roof of a building and then beaten to death.

Another video shows a Muslim gang beating a boy in the Netherlands, while a third video shows a Muslim man smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Reports out of the Middle East have been rife over recent years that members of the Islamic State terrorist organization have carried out murders of suspected traitors and homosexuals by hanging or throwing them from buildings. The teachings of Islam express abhorrence of Christian art. Historically, from the time of Mohammed in the 600s and to the present day, Muslims have destroyed Christian icons, statuary, churches, and cemeteries.

On Thursday, Trump responded to remarks British Prime Minister Theresa May made in the wake of the tweets. He tweeted: “Theresa May: don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!” May said that Trump was “wrong” to retweet the videos, while a spokesperson declared, “British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far right which is the antithesis of the values that this country represents – decency, tolerance and respect.”

Joining leftists and Muslims in the United Kingdom, Muslims in the Detroit area rebuked President Donald Trump after he retweeted videos on Wednesday that they found objectionable. News media have reported on the resulting controversy in condemnatory tones. On CNN, an article wrote of Trump: “But he has seldom shared messages as offensive and explosive...the retweets were immediately met with outrage in the United Kingdom and resulted in a rare rebuke from the British government toward its American ally.”

Several community activists in the Detroit area denounced the tweets as an “international assault” on Muslims. Among them was Ahmad Abuznaid of ACCESS’ National Network for Arab American Communities, according to the Detroit Free Press. Nearby Dearborn, Michigan, has the largest concentration of Muslims and Americans of Arab origin. Abuznaid said if the tweets were about border security, arguing that Trump seemed to be saying that Muslims were the “root cause to terrorism.” Abuznaid said that the retweets instigate “propaganda and Islamophobia,” which he said constitutes a “threat” from the White House.

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The ACLU said in a statement that Trump is engaging in “politics of fear, adding, “These aren’t just retweets, they are part of a calculated effort to justify discrimination against Muslims,” according to the statement. “We all have a responsibility to challenge speech and actions from our elected officials that single our community members out based solely on their religion or heritage.”

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders explained this week that Trump’s retweets were an appeal to engage political discussion on the issue of “border protection.” Imam Ibrahim Kazerooni of the Islamic Center of America said that he was astonished by the concern expressed by the White House over border security. His is the largest mosque in the United States.

WATCH: Jayda appeals for Donald Trump's help

Posted by Britain First on Wednesday, November 29, 2017




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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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