29th November 2017
The US Ambassador to London
Dear Ambassador Johnson
This morning the President of the United States of America has validated one of Britain’s most obnoxious and hate filled extremist groups. By retweeting three tweets by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of street protest movement and self-styled political party Britain First, Donald Trump has shown us that that his office is supportive of the views of that organisation and the wider extremist right.
We recognise the tweets purportedly carry video of the actions of Isis and violent Muslims. They are unverified, and we understand the BBC has found them false, true, but we know these things happen. We condemn them unreservedly. However what Britain First do, and what the US President has now joined his support to, is use these to tarnish all Muslims and to identify them as supporters of terror. This is totally unacceptable.
Our condemnation of Britain First is a very personal one. As church leaders in Luton we have had a long story of direct engagement with them. This began as we sought to challenge their claims to represent a Christian cause prior to a demonstration in Luton. The story of our engagement and their being banned from Luton is told here on my blog.. As church leaders in Luton we wrote to them. We have met with them. We have worked to challenge their presence in our town. And we have reached out to those impacted by their hatred. We are appalled that now the President of the most powerful nation in earth has now allied himself with their agenda of hatred.
The impact of this is to invigorate far right extremism and the violence that too often stems from it. Perhaps more importantly it validates discrimination and hatred among many, resulting in increased levels of hate crimes. And this fuels the cycle of division. In towns like Luton the challenges posed by President Trumps latest outrage are very real.
We would ask you most strongly to inform President Trump of our repudiation of those he has endorsed, ask him to remove these tweets and make it very clear he repudiates the ideology and actions of groups like Britain First.
Peter Adams, Director, St Marys Centre for Peace and Reconciliation.
Rev Mike Jones, Vicar, St Marys Luton
Michael Singleton, Chair of Churches Together Luton
Tony Thompson, Pastor, Hope Church Luton.
On behalf of members of Churches Together in Luton
St Marys Centre for Peace and Reconciliation