The newly-elected leader of the UK Independence Party (Ukip) has been condemned for "Spiteful Islamophobia” after footage emerged of him arguing it should be illegal to publicly distribute the Quran in the UK and that some British towns are no-go areas for non-Muslims.
Speaking to Ukip members at hustings, Richard Braine also claimed that British Islam has particular problems with bigamy and welfare abuse, and referred to the jailed far-right anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson as a “political prisoner”.
Braine, a former chair of Ukip’s west London branch, was previously relatively unknown outside the party but won more than half the votes in a four-way leadership ballot.
Ukip’s national executive had hoped the successor to Gerard Batten would move the party on from Batten’s increasingly far-right, anti-Islam views. However, Braine was backed by Batten and seems set to continue his legacy.
“We have laws against incitement, and yet there are people handing out Qurans in Leicester Square off a table – a book which tells people to kill us to please God. We’ve got to stop incitement in public places like that.”
The issue of Islamophobia has deeply divided Ukip which has slumped in the polls and is struggling for relevance in the face of the rise of the Brexit party, founded by Nigel Farage after he quit Ukip over Batten’s anti-Islam views and links to Robinson.