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UKIP leader Gerard Batten has defended his remarks that Islam is a “death cult,” and said that a Ukip candidate’s rape tweet to a Labour MP was “satire.”
Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on BBC One, Mr Batten said that he does not like the “ideology” of the Islamic faith, which he called “worrying.”
The Ukip leader also defended his proposals that mosque building should be banned, and defended threatening remarks that Ukip European candidate Carl Benjamin made to Labour MP Jess Phillips on Twitter.
Mr Benjamin, who is known online as the far-right YouTube personality “Sargon of Akkad,” tweeted to Ms Phillips in 2016 that “I wouldn’t even rape you.”
Mr Batten said that “I think this was satire,” adding that Mr Benjamin is “not a bad person, as he is being portrayed.
“He is a proponent of free speech.
“The context that he said it was satire against the people he was saying it about.”
Ms Phillips estimates that she receives approximately 600 rape threats every day.
Stand Up to Racism organiser Michael Bradley told the Star: “Gerard Batten has once again proved that under his leadership, Ukip has become a far-right organisation.
“His defence of Carl Benjamin’s rape tweet at Jess Phillips as ‘satire’ is a disgrace.
“In the wake of the far-right terrorist massacre at Christchurch, his description of Islam as a ‘death cult’ adds fuel to the Islamophobic fire that is leading to violence against the Muslim community.
“Ukip’s links to fascist Tommy Robinson and the violent racist thugs of the DFLA [Democratic Football Lads Alliance] show that it’s time for the movement to mobilise against them.”
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