New leader of British far-right party condemned for ‘virulent Islamophobia’

Muslim Council of Britain condemns incendiary comments from UK Independence Party's Richard Braine

epa07443310 People carry banners and shout slogans during a protest against terrorist attacks on mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, outside the Parliament building in Rabat, Morocco, 16 March 2019. On 15 March 2019, 49 people were killed by a gunman, believed to be Brenton Harrison Tarrant, and 20 more injured and in critical condition during the terrorist attacks against two mosques in New Zealand during the Friday prayers. Tarrant was charged by one murder charge with more to follow as the investigation continues. Arabic banners read 'No to Islamophobia under any name'.  EPA/JALAL MORCHIDI

The new leader of the far-right UK Independence Party has been condemned for "virulent Islamophobia" after a video  showed him on the hustings insulting Islam and the Quran.

In footage that was revealed on Monday, Richard Braine said that some parts of the UK were no-go areas for non-Muslims.

Mr Braine said that British Islam had particular problems with welfare abuse, and he referred to jailed far-right anti-Muslim activist Tommy Robinson as a “political prisoner”.

In footage taken last month, he launched  a tirade against the Quran and said the people of Britain needed to be educated  on what it meant.

Mr Braine said that towns and cities in the UK “were becoming increasingly Islamic to the point where essentially, as a non-Islamic person, you’re simply not welcome there. And we’ve got to stop that".

Commenting on the footage, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain said: “Ukip’s continued descent into even greater depths of bigotry is only matched by its growing irrelevance and obscurity.

"Virulent Islamophobia was not a successful tactic under the previous Ukip leadership and will not be this time. Our nation knows better.”

Other British political parties have been linked to Islamophobia, including the ruling Conservatives and the Brexit Party.

On Monday, a closed Facebook group created by Brexit Party supporters, which is used to recruit activists, was rife with Islamophobic comments, The Times reported.

The group, which was removed by the social media site on Friday, had more than 8,400 members, including at least four prospective Brexit Party parliamentary candidates.