Jayda Fransen and Paul Golding, leaders of the far-right group Britain First, were found guilty Wednesday of religiously aggravated harassment after trying to promote Islamophobia during a trial last year.
President Donald Trump drew fierce condemnation after he retweeted a series of overtly Islamophobic videos shared by Fransen on Twitter last November. The videos purported to show violent crimes committed by Muslims, including one in which a boy beats another boy on crutches. All three videos were determined to have been taken out of context by Fransen.
Trump and his administration were unapologetic about the retweets. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders hailed the retweets as a way to raise awareness about “real threats we have to talk about.”
It took Trump until January of this year to say he could possibly apologize ― without apologizing outright.
“If you are telling me they’re horrible people, horrible, racist people, I would certainly apologize if you’d like me to do that,” he said in an interview with British television personality Piers Morgan. “It was done because I am a big believer in fighting radical Islamic terror.”
Britain First is widely known in the U.K. for spreading Islamophobic and racist videos, including many proven to be fake. The charges against Fransen and Golding stemmed from a trial last year during which three Muslim men and a teenager were convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl.
“It was a campaign to draw attention to the race, religion and immigrant background of the defendants,” Judge Justin Barron said in announcing the convictions of Fransen and Golding. He said their actions “demonstrated hostility” toward Muslims.
The two have been previously convicted of similar charges. In 2016, Fransen was found guilty of racially aggravated harassment for approaching a woman wearing a hijab and telling her that she kept her hair covered so that she wouldn’t get raped.