Posted on May 29, 2024

Nigel Farage Under Fire After Saying Muslims Do Not Share British Values

Aletha Adu, The Guardian, May 26, 2024

Nigel Farage has come under fire for using his first election interview to “spout Islamophobia, hatred and divisive comments” after he said a growing number of Muslims do not share British values.

The honorary president of the Reform UK party drew heavy criticism on Sunday after claiming Rishi Sunak had allowed “more people into the country who are going to fight British values” than any UK leader before him.

Speaking on Sky News’ Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips, the former Ukip leader said: “We have a growing number of young people in this country who do not subscribe to British values, [who] in fact loathe much of what we stand for.”

When asked if he was talking about Muslims, Farage responded, “We are. … And I’m afraid I found some of the recent surveys saying that 46% of British Muslims support Hamas – support a terrorist organisation that is proscribed in this country.”

Plaid Cymru and Momentum, Labour’s grassroots campaign group, described his comments as an example of “outright Islamophobia”.

Rhun ap Iorwerth, leader of Plaid Cymru, said: “Nigel Farage should not be allowed to spout Islamophobia and hatred on our television screens. He is an extremist who has been allowed to corrode our politics for far too long.

“Plaid Cymru reaffirms our commitment to eradicating all forms of Islamophobia, antisemitism, racism, and intolerance. We encourage all parties in this election to campaign on policy and ideas, not on fears and prejudices.”

The Liberal Democrat deputy leader, Daisy Cooper MP, said: “This a grubby attempt to divide our communities in a desperate attempt for attention. It’s no surprise Nigel Farage has lost at the ballot box seven times over.

“Rishi Sunak must condemn these divisive comments and rule out Farage rejoining the Conservative party.”

Zara Mohammed, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said Farage was doing what he did best, expressing “horribly Islamophobic, racist and hate-filled rhetoric of misinformation”.

In the same interview, Farage said he still had “one more big card to play” and confirmed that he plans to stand as an MP candidate in the future, despite feeling “extremely disappointed” at Sunak’s decision to call a snap election on 4 July.

He made it clear that the Reform party would be centring its campaign on their bid to reduce immigration.

Farage went on to compare how much more integrated people who had come from the West Indies were in British society than Muslims, claiming the former group had “shared history, shared culture and shared religion” in many cases.

He agreed that most of the West Indian community spoke English, but added: “I can take you to streets in Oldham where literally no one speaks English.”

A Labour source said the Conservatives and the Reform party were “two sides of the same broken coin, ramping up the rhetoric without offering any real solutions”.

Farage stood as a candidate for the UK Independence Party (Ukip) at five previous general elections and two byelections. His most recent campaign was in the South Thanet constituency in 2015, where he picked up more than 16,000 votes.

Reflecting on his decision not to stand at this election, Farage told GB News: “I’ve chosen I want to be part of the national debate, not just in a constituency, and I will be that, and believe you me, I’m going to do my best to expose some of the absolute nonsense that are being discussed over immigration and economics.”