via Washington Post:
President Trump on Wednesday shared three inflammatory anti-Muslim videos on Twitter posted by a far-right British activist, drawing backlash from across Britain, including a sharp rebuke from the British prime minister’s office.
The videos — whose authenticity could not be independently verified — were first shared by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, which bills itself as a political party but has been widely condemned as an extremist group that targets mosques and Muslims.
Britain First has previously posted a number of misleading videos, and the three Trump shared were provocatively titled “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!,” “Muslim destroys a statue of Virgin Mary!” and “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!”
Fransen, 31, who lives in a London suburb, was convicted of religiously aggravated harassment in November 2016 after abusing a woman wearing a hijab.
Fr. James Martin, SJ responded:
I’m not a political person by nature, but I must say this: It is disgraceful that President Trump has retweeted images of Muslims committing violent acts and desecrating Christian statues. You could just as easily find videos of Christians doing equally reprehensible acts. It is a base attempt to make Muslims into the “other,” which is precisely the tactic taken by Nazis towards the Jews, and by all such regimes that seek to increase division and foment hatred. By making a person or group into the “other” and further dehumanizing them, it makes exclusion of these groups, and violence against them, more “acceptable” since they are gradually seen as not truly “like us” or even truly “human.” It is also deeply unchristian. Because for Jesus there was no “us” and “them.” And there was no one who is considered the “other.” Finally, it is manifestly sinful, because it tramples on the dignity of individuals and groups, increases the misery of minorities and stirs up hatred, violence and, ultimately, leads to death.
Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star reminds us that this is not the first display of Trump’s anti-Muslim bigotry, tweeting:
– Trump has been an open anti-Muslim bigot since the beginning of the campaign. He has uttered or shared at least six separate fake stories about Muslims. 1/
– Trump has: – Made up fake story about Muslims not reporting San Bernardino killers – Made up fake story about Pershing massacre with bullets dipped in pig blood – Made up fake stories about refugees being ISIS – Made up fake story about a terror attack “last night in Sweden” 2/
– Falsely claimed botched Manila robbery was terror attack – Now shared fake video of not-Muslim hurting Dutch kid 3/3
Brendan Cox, whose wife, MP Jo Cox, was murdered by someone who shouted “Britain first,” tweeted:
Trump has legitimised the far right in his own country, now he’s trying to do it in ours. Spreading hatred has consequences & the President should be ashamed of himself.
Jonathan Chait notes the impact on the GOP:
Since he emerged as a national candidate, Donald Trump has collapsed the political and ideological space between the Republican Party and the fascist right. The latest manifestation of this change is Trump’s retweeting a series of snuff videos by Jayda Fransen, leader of the far right Britain First Party….
It would be inaccurate to suggest that the Republican Party is on the main a fascist party. The bulk of Republicans are, as they have been for a generation, primarily dedicated to reducing regulation of business and taxation on the wealthy. Trump has aligned that long-standing orientation with a new openness to fascist and nakedly racist politics.