Ukip have again been criticised for their attitudes towards Muslims after a blog post by one of its MEPs calling Islam "death cult" came to light after the party's controversial "integration policy" was announced earlier this week.
Ukip's Brexit spokesman Gerard Batten wrote an explosive opinion piece on his website in the wake of the Westminster terror attack on 23 March where he said non-Muslims had a "perfectly rational fear" of the faith.
The 63-year-old politician said "the terrorists are the vanguard of Mohammedanism" and that the religion was "steeped in 1,400 years of violence".
His blog post was revealed in the wake of Ukip's so-called "integration policy" which would include a ban on wearing face coverings in public places and schoolgirls undergoing annual compulsory medical examination of their genitals at school, if they are viewed as being of high risk of suffering FGM by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
Ukip MEP James Carver resigned as the party's spokesman on foreign affairs in protest over the controversial general election pledges.
The Guardian reported that Ukip leader Paul Nuttall was asked twice about Batten's views at the launch of Ukip's election campaign on Friday (28 April) but declined to say whether he agreed or not.
Nuttall has also announced on Saturday that he will stand in Tory-run Boston & Skegness in 8 June's general election.
The party has faced criticism after the selection of Anne Marie Waters, an activist from the anti-Islam Pegida movement, who has in the past praised the far-right leaders Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders.
In his blog post , Batten said Islam should be referred to as "Mohammedanism – the cult of Mohammed – because that is what it is".
He wrote: "[Islam] is a death cult, born and steeped in 1,400 years of violence and bloodshed, that propagates itself by intimidation, violence and conquest.
"The terrorists are the vanguard of Mohammedanism. They set out to cow the non-Mohammedan population, so that the 'moderate Muslims' can get on establishing sharia courts, forcing halal food in school and works canteens, and making the authorities look the other way regarding criminal activities for fear of being called racist and Islamophobic.
"A phobia is an irrational fear. A normal non-Mohammedan should have a perfectly rational fear of 'Islam'."
His words were described by the Lib Dems and the Greens as "hateful" and "the gutter of British politics".
The Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake said according to the Guardian: "[Nuttall] must stop turning a blind eye to this blatant Islamophobic language and make clear it will not be tolerated.
"Ukip's lurch towards Islamophobia is a desperate attempt to stay relevant after Theresa May has taken over their hard Brexit agenda. This kind of hateful language has no place in a UK political party."
While Greens' co-leader Caroline Lucas said to the newspaper: "Ukip's descent into the gutter of British politics is continuing. Their leadership and spokespeople have lurched even further to the right as the Tories do their Brexit work for them.
"The deep prejudice within this hollowed out party is being exposed – and the Green Party will continue to challenge this bigotry every time it rears its ugly head."
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