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Ukip's Romford-based MEP Gerard Batten defends calling Islam a 'death cult'

PUBLISHED: 07:49 23 February 2018

UKIP's Gerard Batten outside his new Romford office (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

UKIP's Gerard Batten outside his new Romford office (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

Archant

London’s Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and interim leader of the Ukip party, says his beliefs of Islam being a “death cult” are “factual”.

Harold Hill-born Gerard Batten has been scrutinised after his comments on his personal blog following the Westminster attack last year came to light.

In his blog, he said that Islam is a “death cult, born and steeped in 1,400 years of violence and bloodshed, that propagates itself by intimidation, violence and conquest”.

His views were highlighted after he took over as temporary leader of the Ukip party at the weekend when Henry Bolton received a vote of no confidence 867 votes to 500.

Defending his statement, Mr Batten said: “My comments are factual and based on evidence.

“I speak about the ideology not individuals and we should be free to criticise an ideology without fear.

“For example, I would say that Communism is a disastrous and hateful ideology that has been responsible for the suffering, death and misery of millions.

“Should I not say that for fear of upsetting communists?

“Not all communists were bad people, but their ideology inevitably leads to bad things happening.

“I think the same of Islam.”

Referring to Mr Batten and his comments on Twitter, Nick Lowles, founder of advocacy group Hope Not Hate, described him as “extreme” and “clueless”.

A spokesman of advocacy group Hope Not Hate said: “Gerard Batten has essentially become Ukip’s funeral director, nailing the lid on the party’s coffin.

“His extreme comments, while shocking, are not surprising.

“Such views drive a wedge between communities and promote an us-and-them narrative that both jihadi as well as far-right terrorists want to encourage, and at a time when hate crimes and suspicions and prejudice towards Muslims have been rising.”

Ukip has seen a number of people take on the leadership role of the party following the departure of Nigel Farage after the EU referendum in 2016.

Before becoming the interim leader, Mr Batten, who is based in Romford, did not rule out standing for the next leadership election which is due to take place in the next few months.

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