Stratford MP urges US president to rethink far-right retweets

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Nadhim Zahawi, MP for Stratford-on-Avon.

Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi has written to Donald Trump urging the American president not to provide a platform for far-right groups on twitter.

The letter follows President Trump’s decision to retweet inflammatory videos by far-right group Britain First on his twitter account, which is followed by 43.6million people.

The president’s actions have prompted an international row between the British and American governments after a spokesperson for the Prime Minister said President Trump was wrong to have retweeted the videos.

The president then responding by warning Theresa May to focus on “the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom” rather than on him.

Mr Zahawi’s letter to the US president reads:

I am writing to register my strong discontent over your decision to retweet three videos posted on Twitter by Jayda Fransen, a convicted racist and deputy leader of Britain First, an extreme right-wing and hateful political organisation.

The videos you have chosen to distribute to your 43.6 million Twitter followers seek to conflate all Muslims into one skewed and twisted stereotype in the hope of inciting religious hatred towards the Islamic community. Whether the videos are valid or not. The individuals within them do not represent the overwhelming majority of those who adhere to the many forms of the Islamic faith.

Terrorist groups like Daesh work by dehumanising those they seek to destroy, making it possible for their followers to commit the atrocities they do. Both the UK and the USA have worked tirelessly to eradicate such groups in the Middle East, and at home both our countries continue to root out domestic terrorist activity and combat the radicalisation that leads to it. I fear that your actions today have put in jeopardy some of the hard work done by our state bodies, making it easier for terrorist groups to portray our countries as their enemies and stoking the flames of radicalisation further. This is precisely what groups like Daesh want, and this makes it so much more vital that we do not now allow our actions to play into their hands.

You are soon due to visit the United Kingdom. When you are here I believe you would find enlightening the experience of visiting our beautiful cities live Coventry, Birmingham, Manchester and London. In them you would see how our Muslim communities live peaceably alongside others, enrich their local areas and contribute so much to society. They are so far removed from the stereotypes that the videos of Britain first try to portray.

In June 2016 a British Member of Parliament, Jo Cox, was viciously murdered by a right-wing extremist as she arrived for an advice surgery she was holding for her constituents. Among other acclamations, the murderer shouted “Britain first” as he attacked Jo, words that correspond to the name of the organisation you have given a platform to on Twitter.

I know you take your role as President very seriously. I therefore urge you to delete the retweets and do all you can in future to resist courses of action that play into the hands of those who seek to destroy us and our way of life.

  • RJH

    Depends on the definition of what ‘far-right’ is and it also depends on who gets to make that decision. Having a ‘far-right’ opinion today generally means having an opinion at odd with the globally accepted narrative.

  • wicked messenger

    “I know you take your role as President very seriously.”
    What a pity that Mr Zahawi doesn’t adopt the same approach to his own role as our MP