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Jayda Fransen’s speech was ‘intended to stir up hatred and arouse fear’

A former deputy leader of far-right group Britain First has been convicted of stirring up hatred towards Muslims in Northern Ireland.

Jayda Fransen (33), was found guilty over a speech she made at a rally in Belfast as well as separate comments at a peace wall in the city.

Britain First leader Paul Golding (37), and two other English men, John Banks and Paul Rimmer, were all acquitted on similar charges.

Convicting Fransen, of Moat Avenue in Donaghadee, Co Down, District Judge George Conner said her public expressions amounted to “a general, vehement attack against a religious group”. She was told to return to Belfast Magistrates’ Court for sentencing in May.

All four defendants were on trial over their addresses to the Northern Ireland Against Terrorism event in August 2017. They were accused of using threatening, abusive or insulting words intended to stir up hatred or arouse fear.

Demonstrators had gathered on the same day as a republican march to mark the introduction of internment without trial by the British army at the height of the Troubles in 1971. During the trial defence lawyers argued each of the accused were entitled to freedom of expression — no matter how offensive their speeches may be.

The court heard Fransen told those gathered there was no moderate version of Islam, and stated: “These people are baying for our blood.”

Claiming the religion represented the biggest threat to civilisation, she went on: “Islam says every single one of you wonderful people here today deserves to be killed.”

Those attending the rally were then told it was time for the world to come together against “the one common enemy”.
Fear

Judge Conner ruled: “I’m satisfied these words were intended to stir up hatred and arouse fear.”

He also found her guilty over a separate, filmed incident at a Belfast peace wall in December 2017. On that occasion, the court heard, Fransen declared that the “Islamification” of Britain will lead to similar walls to separate the two sides. She claimed the country was “descending into civil war” and said it was time to “rise up against the biggest threat against the entire world”.

Confirming a conviction for that episode, the judge said: “I’m satisfied the words were menacing in nature.”

Mr Golding, of Beeches Close in Anerley, London, allegedly referred to a mosque in Newtownards as part of his claims about Islam’s colonisation.

In his speech he said: “We have got a problem with one religion and one religion only, that is Islam.”

Mr Rimmer, of Modred Street in Liverpool, allegedly told the crowd Muslims were colonising and taking over British cities. The 56-year-old, who once stood for mayor in his native city, was said to have warned about “a wolf coming down the track”.

He claimed, however, that he spoke about love and friendship.

Dismissing the case against Mr Golding, Mr Rimmer and 61-year-old Mr Banks, of Acacia Road in Doncaster, south Yorkshire, the judge said some of their speeches were “ugly” but had not crossed the line into being illegal.

As the three men left the dock supporters in the public gallery applauded and shouted: “Go on.”

Irish Times

Kelli Best was devastated when ­daughter Skylah was stillborn at 25 weeks amid a ­campaign of intimidation by the far-right group – banned from Facebook last week

Kelli Best with her daughter Skylah, who was stillborn at 25 weeks (Image: SWNS)

Kelli Best with her daughter Skylah, who was stillborn at 25 weeks (Image: SWNS)

Kelli Best was devastated when ­daughter Skylah was stillborn at 25 weeks.

The tragedy happened amid a ­campaign of intimidation by the far-right group – banned from Facebook last week.

Its founders Jayda Fransen and Paul Golding harassed Kelli and her two young sons while her Muslim partner was ­remanded in custody awaiting trial for rape.

The pair filmed 23-year-old Kelli, abused her at home and handed out leaflets about the case to neighbours.

Britain First deputy leader Jayda Fransen

Britain First deputy leader Jayda Fransen

One night the mum was bathing her two young sons when they arrived at her house and shouted through the letterbox: “Dirty Muslim rapist.”

Kelli recalled: “My son kept saying, ‘I’m not dirty Mummy. I’ve just got out of the bath.’

“I was so scared. I didn’t know what they were going to do. I thought they were going to come in and attack me.

“It was just me and my boys. I took them into the back room and we hid in the dark.”

Just 36 hours after the attack, Kelli – who was six weeks pregnant at the time – suffered a haemorrhage.

She said: “I had three panic attacks within an hour of them leaving.

“My whole body was shaking ­uncontrollably. It must have been under immense pressure. I’ve had two healthy children and no complications before.”

After being given a police panic alarm she was in and out of hospital and suffered repeated bleeding before Skylah was stillborn last September.

She said: “Even the day I gave birth I was convinced she was still alive. “The funeral took a long time to arrange so I went to see her for two weeks every day.

“When she was born I kissed her head. She was a beautiful angel and was buried in a white coffin.

“I carried her into the church.”

Her boys have been left scarred by Britain First’s thuggish harassment at their home in Ramsgate, Kent.

Kelli said: “My son still gets scared if anyone knocks at the door.

“He tells everybody about the naughty people that came to the house. He would say, ‘I’m not dirty,’ for a long time. He still has nightmares.” Kelli dumped her partner, Tamin Rahmani, 38, a pizza boss, when he was convicted at Canterbury crown court and jailed for 14 years last September.

The Afghan – who is the father of her two boys – raped a 16-year-old white girl above his takeaway in Ramsgate with two other Muslim pizza workers and an ­unnamed youth.

Kelli said: “I got back home after a weekend away to see the police had raided my home. I didn’t know what was going on.

“I couldn’t believe it when I heard what he’d done.”

The case attracted the ­attention of Britain First founders Jayda Fransen and Paul Golding. They handed out leaflets and posted online videos about the case and were jailed by Folkestone magistrates earlier this month for religiously aggravated harassment.

Fransen, 32 – who is Britain First’s deputy leader – was sentenced to 36 weeks. ­The group’s co-founder and leader Golding got 18 weeks.

Kelli gave evidence behind a ­curtain during the case because she was ­petrified to be in the same room.

Kelli said: “Jayda just wanted people to hate me and be in fear for my life.

“She posted leaflets round the street with a picture of my ex-partner explaining the crimes along with my address.

“He didn’t even live there. She was knocking on people’s doors to get a witch hunt going. But I was a victim. I didn’t do anything wrong.

“Me and my boys are innocent. They are babies.”

Kelli has been too scared to leave her home for fear of being killed and is ­moving house. She said: “I’m constantly worried someone will break in. I have to check every room in the house to make sure no one is there. I try not to go out on my own.

“I get panic attacks just picking up my son from nursery.” Kelli was horrified when US President Donald Trump ­catapulted Fransen to fame by sharing her notorious Twitter posts with his 23 million followers in November.

She said: “Trump gave her a platform to millions of people. That scared me even more. When I saw Trump had retweeted her on the news I was shocked.

“I thought with his backing I would be harassed even more. It felt like everyone was on her side.”

Fransen and Golding founded Britain First in 2011 and run it from their £400,000 home in Penge, South East London. Last Wednesday Facebook banned the group from using the site to spread its messages of hate and racism.

Its Facebook page – which included a picture of its leaders captioned “Islamaphobic and proud” – had more than two million likes.

Prime Minster Theresa May welcomed the ban, which came after the group ­repeatedly posted twisted anti-Muslim videos despite repeated warnings.

There have been calls for Britain First to be listed as a terror organisation.

Kelli said: “Jayda and Paul should have been locked up for longer.

“But no matter how long they got, it would never be enough.

“That day has changed me forever. Jayda had the opportunity to say sorry but she didn’t. She just wanted fame.”

Britain First leader Paul Golding has begged governors to move him to the SAME unit for vulnerable prisoners as the Muslim rapists he protested against.

Golding, 36, feared for his life when he arrived at HMP Elmley, Isle of Sheppey, Kent, earlier this month, said a source.

But the three rapists were already in the segregated unit so his request was turned down over fears they could attack him.

And last Wednesday, less than a week after he arrived, two other lags beat him up and broke his nose in the main prison.

The source said: “As soon as Golding arrived at the jail he requested to be housed in the vulnerable prisoner unit.

“With around 100 Muslims here, the last thing Golding wanted was to be put on one of the ordinary wings. He would rather mix with sex offenders and other vulnerable inmates. He really fears for his life.”

Golding, who is serving 18 months for religiously aggravated harassment, has decided to stay in his cell.

Tamin Rahmani, 38, Shershah Muslimyar, 21, and Rafiullah Hamidy, 24, and a boy of 17 got a total of 49 years for rape.

Daily Mirror

Leader and deputy leader Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen were found guilty of religiously-aggravated harassment.

Far-right group Britain First leader Paul Golding (front right), and deputy leader Jayda Fransen at Folkestone Magistrates' Court on 7 March PA

Far-right group Britain First leader Paul Golding (front right), and deputy leader Jayda Fransen at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on 7 March PA

Supporters of far-right group Britain First hurled abuse at a “left-wing” press and justice system as their leaders were jailed for launching a “political campaign” in which Muslims were branded paedophiles and rapists.

Leader and deputy leader Paul Golding, 36, and Jayda Fransen, 32, both of Penge, south east London, were found guilty at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday of religiously-aggravated harassment.

They were arrested on May 10 last year in an investigation into the distribution of leaflets and online videos during an on-going trial at Canterbury Crown Court.

Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen with Britain First supporters (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen with Britain First supporters (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Three Muslim men and a teenager were later jailed for raping a 16-year-old girl in a flat above the 555 Pizza takeaway in Ramsgate, Kent.

Judge Justin Barron, jailing Fransen for 36 weeks for three charges and Golding for 18 weeks for one charge, said the crimes were “deliberately planned against targeted victims”.

The court descended into chaos as he attempted to continue, but Fransen, dressed in a black suit, spoke over him and said: “This is a very sad day for British justice. Everything I did was for the children of this country and they are worth it.”

This caused cheers and applause to erupt from the public gallery as the pair were led away and Judge Barron temporarily left the court room before concluding his directions.

As supporters left the court room, they hurled abuse at court staff and members of the press, branding the proceedings a “shambles” and shouting: “Left-wing twats, scumbags, no surrender” and adding: “If we say anything these days we get sent to prison.”

The pair visited the 555 Pizza takeaway on May 5. Golding was filming while Fransen banged on the windows and doors, screaming “paedophile” and a “foreigner” as two children played in the middle of the shop and Jamshed Khesrow, a friend of the owners, was inside.

Mr Khesrow said Fransen was shouting: “Come out you paedophile. You’re a rapist. Come outside, I want to talk to you.”

He said he was “so scared” and she was “aggressive and angry”.

Later, she shouted out: “I’m not scared of the police. I don’t care about the police.”

Mother-of-two Kelli Best blamed Fransen for her daughter being stillborn after she was subjected to racist abuse in her home.

Fransen shouted through the front door of defendant Tamin Rahmani’s home when Miss Best, who was pregnant, was alone with their two children – aged three and 18-months-old – on May 9.

Giving evidence from behind a screen, she said: “She (Fransen) was making racist remarks: ‘Dirty Muslim rapist, come out, we’re not going to leave until you’re gone, come out. Dirty scumbags’.

“It was directed at Tamin because she thought he was in there but he wasn’t.”

She said two days later she started to bleed heavily and her daughter was stillborn, adding: “I blame Jayda Fransen because there was no other reason for it to happen.”

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Miss Best said she was “traumatised” by the ordeal and had panic attacks. She said her three-year-old son was still scared when someone came to the door and would follow her around the house.

Judge Barron said it was “impossible” to find Britain First responsible for the stillbirth based on the evidence he saw, but accepted their actions caused further stress to those associated with the defendants who had been on trial at the time.

Ikram Safai was told to move house by social services after Fransen mistakenly targeted his home, believing it to be that of Sershah Muslimyar – another defendant in the trial.

Mr Safai, originally from Afghanistan, found a video on the Britain First website which showed Fransen knocking on his door, identifying it as the home of Muslimyar – but he had moved out some two years earlier.

In the video she shouted: “Come out dirty Muslim. Rapist Muslim. Come out and speak to me face-to-face if you’re man enough.”

The group distributed leaflets wrongly identifying Faiz Rahmani, the brother of defendant Tamin Rahmani, as Muslimyar.

Golding was cleared of his involvement in this incident.

Judge Barron said their words and actions “demonstrated hostility” towards Muslims and the Muslim faith, adding: “I have no doubt it was their joint intention to use the facts of the case [in Canterbury] for their own political ends.

“It was a campaign to draw attention to the race, religion and immigrant background of the defendants.”

Restraining orders were granted to stop the pair contacting victims and witnesses in the case. Fransen was ordered to pay £2,000 in compensation to those affected and Golding was told to pay £500.

Another charge against the pair, based on allegations Fransen told Faiz Rahmani that Muslims were “bastards and rapists” when approaching him outside Canterbury Crown Court, was dismissed.

Belfast Telegraph

The leaders of far-right extremist group Britain First have been jailed for anti-Muslim hate crimes after targeting people they incorrectly believed were involved in an ongoing rape trial.

Far-right group Britain First leader Paul Golding (front right), and deputy leader Jayda Fransen at Folkestone Magistrates' Court on 7 March PA

Far-right group Britain First leader Paul Golding (front right), and deputy leader Jayda Fransen at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on 7 March PA

Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen were convicted on several counts of religiously-aggravated harassment following a trial at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court, which heard their actions could have caused rapists to walk free.

Fransen was sentenced to 36 weeks imprisonment and Golding for 18 weeks.

Judge Justin Barron said their words and actions “demonstrated hostility” towards Muslims and Islam, adding: “I have no doubt it was their joint intention to use the facts of the case for their own political ends.

“It was a campaign to draw attention to the race, religion and immigrant background of the defendants.”

The judge said the court had received a number of emails both in the defendants’ support and against them, but the verdict was based ”solely on admissible evidence heard in court”.

Golding, 36, was convicted of one count of religiously aggravated harassment and acquitted on two others.

His deputy, 31-year-old Fransen, was found guilty of three counts of the same offence and cleared of one.

They were arrested in May after distributing leaflets and posting of videos during a rape trial at Canterbury Crown Court, where three Muslim men and a teenager were later convicted and jailed.

In one incident, Fransen went to the home of one of the defendants, Tamin Rahmani, and shouted racist abuse through the front door.

His pregnant partner Kelli Best was alone with their two children, aged three years and 18 months, at the time of the incident on 9 May.

In a video played in court, Fransen could be seen banging on the door and shouting: “Come out and face me you disgusting rapist, come on.”

Prosecutors said it was one of several incidents of Fransen and Golding “filming and harassing people” they incorrectly believed were involved in the trial.

“In each case, they instead targeted innocent members of the public,” a spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

“They filmed the abuse and then released it on social media and through the Britain First website.

“They also posted offensive leaflets through the letterboxes of houses in the area where the rape trial defendants lived.”

Fransen denied all charges and claimed she did not use the phrase “Muslim bastards”, or say that all Muslims are rapists.

Golding also denied the charges and said he was only acting as Fransen’s cameraman.

The defendants, both of Beeches close in Penge, will be sentenced later in the afternoon.

Their actions endangered the trial of three men and a 17-year-old boy who were jailed in September for raping a drunk 16-year-old girl who had asked them for directions, after taking her to a flat above a kebab and pizza restaurant in Ramsgate.

Jaswant Narwal, from the CPS, said: “The prosecution case demonstrated these defendants were not merely exercising their right to free speech but were instead aiming religiously-aggravated abuse at innocent members of the public.

“The victims suffered the distress of the abuse followed by additional stress when the footage was uploaded to the internet.

“This offending also related to an ongoing criminal trial and the actions taken by Fransen and Golding could easily have derailed the justice process.”

The “campaign” was one of a series of similar stunts by Britain First, which selectively highlights crimes it believes to be convicted by defendants from Muslim backgrounds.

The group gained international notoriety when Donald Trump shared several of Fransen’s Twitter posts last year, sparking a diplomatic row after Theresa May condemned the action.

Both Fransen and Golding have since been banned from Twitter in a crackdown on extremism and hate speech, but Britain First continues to have a large following on Facebook, were its official page is “liked” by more than 2 million people.

They are due to stand trial in Northern Ireland next month over separate allegations of inciting hatred at the “Northern Ireland Against Terrorism” rally in Belfast.

Britain First, which started as a splinter group from the British National Party, is believed to have fewer than a hundred active members.

It has forged links with extreme nationalist movements across Europe, seeing Fransen attend a march in Poland where she called Islam a “cancer moving through Europe”, adding: “Our children are being bombed, our children are being groomed and our government does nothing.”

The Finsbury Park terror attacker, Darren Osborne, read Britain First posts before his attempted massacre of Muslim worshippers, while neo-Nazi Thomas Mair repeatedly shouted the group’s name while murdering Labour MP Jo Cox.

Britain First is among the organisations perpetuating the idea of a cultural “war against Islam”, a report found last week after police revealed that four far-right and 10 Islamist terror plots have been foiled in the last year.

“Fascist organisations are growing, particularly when mainstream politicians such as Trump and others in Europe ape far right rhetoric,” said Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of Unite Against Fascism. “It is high time that they be held responsible for hate speech.“
The Independent

Prosecutors say harassment could have let rapists walk free by endangering ongoing trial

Far-right group Britain First leader Paul Golding (front right), and deputy leader Jayda Fransen at Folkestone Magistrates' Court on 7 March PA

Far-right group Britain First leader Paul Golding (front right), and deputy leader Jayda Fransen at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on 7 March PA

The leaders of far-right extremist group Britain First have been found guilty of anti-Muslim hate crimes after targeting people they incorrectly believed were involved in an ongoing rape trial.

Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen were convicted on several counts of religiously-aggravated harassment following a trial at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court, which heard their actions could have caused rapists to walk free.

Judge Justin Barron said their words and actions “demonstrated hostility” towards Muslims and Islam, adding: “I have no doubt it was their joint intention to use the facts of the case for their own political ends.

“It was a campaign to draw attention to the race, religion and immigrant background of the defendants.”

The judge said the court had received a number of emails both in the defendants’ support and against them, but the verdict was based ”solely on admissible evidence heard in court”.

Golding, 36, was convicted of one count of religiously aggravated harassment and acquitted on two others.

His deputy, 31-year-old Fransen, was found guilty of three counts of the same offence and cleared of one.

They were arrested in May after distributing leaflets and posting of videos during a rape trial at Canterbury Crown Court, where three Muslim men and a teenager were later convicted and jailed.

In one incident, Fransen went to the home of one of the defendants, Tamin Rahmani, and shouted racist abuse through the front door.

His pregnant partner Kelli Best was alone with their two children, aged three years and 18 months, at the time of the incident on 9 May.

In a video played in court, Fransen could be seen banging on the door and shouting: “Come out and face me you disgusting rapist, come on.”

Prosecutors said it was one of several incidents of Fransen and Golding “filming and harassing people” they incorrectly believed were involved in the trial.

“In each case, they instead targeted innocent members of the public,” a spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

“They filmed the abuse and then released it on social media and through the Britain First website.

“They also posted offensive leaflets through the letterboxes of houses in the area where the rape trial defendants lived.”

Fransen denied all charges and claimed she did not use the phrase “Muslim bastards”, or say that all Muslims are rapists.

Golding also denied the charges and said he was only acting as Fransen’s cameraman.

The defendants, both of Beeches close in Penge, will be sentenced later in the afternoon.

Their actions endangered the trial of three men and a 17-year-old boy who were jailed in September for raping a drunk 16-year-old girl who had asked them for directions, after taking her to a flat above a kebab and pizza restaurant in Ramsgate.

Jaswant Narwal, from the CPS, said: “The prosecution case demonstrated these defendants were not merely exercising their right to free speech but were instead aiming religiously-aggravated abuse at innocent members of the public.

“The victims suffered the distress of the abuse followed by additional stress when the footage was uploaded to the internet.

“This offending also related to an ongoing criminal trial and the actions taken by Fransen and Golding could easily have derailed the justice process.”

The “campaign” was one of a series of similar stunts by Britain First, which selectively highlights crimes it believes to be convicted by defendants from Muslim backgrounds.

The group gained international notoriety when Donald Trump shared several of Fransen’s Twitter posts last year, sparking a diplomatic row after Theresa May condemned the action.

Both Fransen and Golding have since been banned from Twitter in a crackdown on extremism and hate speech, but Britain First continues to have a large following on Facebook, were its official page is “liked” by more than 2 million people.

They are due to stand trial in Northern Ireland next month over separate allegations of inciting hatred at the “Northern Ireland Against Terrorism” rally in Belfast.
The Independent