Britain First founder quits over mosque invasions which attract ”racists and extremists”
Former church minister and British National Party member Jim Dowson told the Mirror the raids are “provocative and counterproductive”
The founder of ultra-right Britain First has quit the group over its “unchristian” paramilitary-style “mosque invasions”.
Former church minister and British National Party member Jim Dowson told the Mirror the raids are “provocative and counterproductive”.
He added that they were attracting “racists and extremists” to the organisation, which has taken over from the British National Party and the English Defence League as the biggest far-right threat in the UK.
Mr Dowson, 49, from Belfast, left the BNP in 2010 to form a “Christian” group opposing the rise of radical Islam.
Formed from other former BNP and EDL members, Britain First made headlines this year by invading mosques in England and Scotland and threatening imams.
Men in the group’s paramilitary-style uniforms this month pushed their way into a mosque in Crayford, Kent, to complain about separate entrances for men and women.
Mr Dowson said he had pulled the plug on the group’s funding, closed their office in Belfast and severed all links.
He described the mosque invasions as “unacceptable and unchristian”, adding: “Most of the Muslims in this country are fine.
“They are worried about extremists the same as us. So going into their mosques and stirring them up and provoking them is political madness and a bit rude.”
He criticised another Britain First leader, Paul Golding, who runs the self-styled “defence force” behind the Britain First invasions.
These actions see uniformed men descend on mosques to hand leaflets and Bibles to Muslim worshippers.
During one, in Yorkshire, Britain First members were filmed wearing flat caps and jackets bearing the motto “Taking our country back”.
Footage showed one Muslim being told to “reject the false prophet Muhammad and read the Bible”.
Mr Dowson said: “No matter how many times I told him [Golding] I did not want decent Muslims intimidated, he just continued doing it.
“I have come to the conclusion that no matter how hard I tried, you cannot escape from the fact that the group is being overrun with racists and extremists.
“I think he is fooling himself and lots of people that Britain First is a Christian group. Sadly, it has just become a violent front for people abusing the Bible.
“I think they’re becoming as much a problem as [Muslim activist] Anjem Choudary who they claim to oppose. They are just as bad as each other.”
Matthew Collins, of anti-fascist campaign group Hope Not Hate, welcomed news of Mr Dowson’s resignation, describing him as a “key player” in the British far-right.
But he added: “Dowson may have been reined in by other Christians, but we need to make sure Britain First is finished before we move onto the next problem Dowson could create.”
Mr Golding last night denied Britain First is racist.
He said: “Some people who invade these mosques with us are mixed race themselves. Britain First is, as far as right-wing organisations go, relatively scandal-free.”
He disagreed with Mr Dowson over mosque invasions and said they were a short-term campaign.
Strictly Come Dancing star Craig Revel Horwood was recently duped into posing for a snap used as propaganda on Britain First’s Facebook page.
Craig tweeted: “To let all my followers know that I in no way support Britain First! Photo taken during photos and autographs for fans.”
Liveraf Comment. Well “Great balls of fire!”, as Scarlett O’Hara was wont to say. Nick Griffin one week and Jim Dowson the next. Of course splits and factions have been the curse of the far right for about as far back as you can go. Indeed, with such solid unity and comradeship, it’s a wonder they haven’t capsized the entire lifeboat and drowned – every last one of them. But you know what Rhett Butler would say if they ever did? “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!”