WASHINGTON – President Trump retweeted several videos on Wednesday purporting physical attacks carried out by Muslims, originally posted by the deputy leader of Britain First, a far-right political party that opposes immigration.
Jayda Fransen posted the videos, with the captions: "VIDEO: Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!"; "VIDEO: Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!"; "VIDEO: Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!"
Trump did not provide a reason or additional commentary on his tweets, though the president has previously criticized immigration policies in Europe and backed a travel ban to the United States from six Muslim-majority nations.
Trump's travel ban is currently the subject of federal lawsuits from plaintiffs who say Trump is seeking to constrain immigration from Muslims, rather than terror-probe countries.
London-based Reuters journalist Peter Thal Larsen tweeted that one of the incidents – the attack on a boy on crutches – happened in May, and that Dutch police promptly arrested two suspects.
Britain First is a far-right, anti-Muslim political organization that was formed in 2011.
In September, its leader Paul Golding, 35, and deputy Fransen, 31, were charged with causing religiously aggravated harassment after distributing leaflets and posting videos to social media during the gang rape trial of three Muslim men and a teenager who were later convicted of rape and imprisoned.
While there are some British news reports that Golding stepped down from the organization for family reasons, his Twitter account still describes him as the group’s leader.
Golding saluted Trump's retweets of Fransen's videos, saying in all capital letters: "DONALD TRUMP HIMSELF HAS RETWEETED THESE VIDEOS AND HAS AROUND 44 MILLION FOLLOWERS! GOD BLESS YOU TRUMP!"
Last year, police won an injunction in the High Court to ban Britain First campaigners from all mosques in England and Wales for three years after they were accused of causing community tensions in Luton, a town north of London.
Last year, Britain First distanced itself from the murder of British lawmaker Jo Cox on June 16, 2016, a week before the nation’s referendum to leave the European Union.
The killer, Thomas Mair, 52, repeatedly shouted "Britain first” as he shot and stabbed Cox, the court in London heard during his trial.
“We had nothing to do with it, we would not condone actions like that,” Golding said in a video posted on Facebook. “I hope the person who carried out this heinous crime will get what he deserves."
Trump's critics immediately condemned what they called the president's anti-Muslim bias.
Brian Klass, author of The Despot's Apprentice: Donald Trump's Attack on Democracy, tweeted: "Neo-Fascists in the UK celebrating Trump giving them a platform, just as neo-Nazis at the Daily Stormer celebrated Trump's comments at Charlottesville."