Richard Braine, the new Ukip leader, has been accused of whipping up religious tensions and anti-Muslim prejudice after leaked emails showed he argued that people should no more want Muslims to settle in their country than Nazis.
Braine, who won the leadership after a campaign in which he expressed anti-Islam views, also suggested that non-Muslims needed to help Muslims to “cast out their demon” and argued there was no such thing as “moderate Muslims”.
One email reads: “The nonsense of the moderate Muslim is trotted out repeatedly by so many people with good intentions, but wilful ignorance of Islamic teaching. There is no moderate Islam. Get used to it. It’s a fact. When people talk about moderate Muslims they are making an error. It is like saying Hitler wasn’t such a bad fellow, quite a laugh actually, an entertaining speaker, a patron of the arts – he loved Wagner – he made the trains run on time, and just look at his smart uniforms. It is to ignore completely the ideology to which the person is religiously wedded.”
He added: “You should no more apologise for a moderate Muslim, and wish him to settle in your country, than you should a moderate Maoist or Nazi.”
The emails to associates were leaked to the Guardian from within Ukip because of alarm among some left in the dwindling party about its continued links with the far-right figure Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon.
Matthew McGregor from the anti-fascist campaign group Hope Not Hate said Ukip was now “the party of Tommy Robinson and anti-Muslim prejudice”.
“Despite all the chaos around Brexit, the party is mired at 1% in the polls. They’re seeking to stoke tension in communities in the desperate hope of regaining relevancy. It’s time for them to join previous failed far-right parties in the dustbin of history,” he said. Read more