Far-right group Britain First (BF) has been advertising “fight clubs” on its Facebook page to train supporters for physical combat with Muslims on the streets.
It follows the revelation last month that the group has been recruiting former English Defence League (EDL) members and training them boxing and martial arts.
A Facebook post appearing on the group’s page appears to encourage vigilante violence stating:
“Are you capable of defending your loved ones?
“Can you handle yourself in a tight spot? Things are bad and will only get worse so don’t you think it’s time to get in shape and learn how to protect the ones you love…and yourself?
“We don’t want ‘shouters’ Britain needs FIGHTERS!”
In another online advertisement it said:
“Things are bad and will only get worse.
“Don’t you think it’s time to learn how to protect the ones you love – and yourself?”
It adds that the fight clubs, which have been named after Brad Pitt’s 1999 film, will be run across the UK free of charge.
In another section, the BF page states: “We feel this is a vital part of building a real movement for the future struggle to take back our country.”
Mathew Collins of Hope Not Hate said: “They have been booking mixed martial arts gyms so they can fight among themselves, training for confrontations with Muslims.”
Vicky Burns of Show Racism the Red Card Scotland added: “Britain First’s brand of racism and prejudice simply is not welcome here.”
The BF Facebook page contains numerous Islamophobic and pro-military memes such as “Save Your Country (UK) BAN HALAL” and “this is England – love it or leave it” and pictures of members holding “No more mosque” banners outside council buildings.
BF has a considerable online following, a Facebook crowd that significantly outnumbers the mainstream political parties. While the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats have “likes” between 98,400 – 228,000, UKIP on 225,000, Britain First has just over 495,000 Facebook “likes”.
Who are Britain First?
Britain First is a far-right Christian nationalist movement which was formed in 2011 by former member of British National Party (BNP), Jim Dowson.
Dowson was a close associate of BNP leader Nick Griffin and a major fundraiser for the far-right party, but he quit over claims that he groped a female party activist.
He then founded Britain First with Paul Golding, an old ally and former BNP councillor.
They campaign against mass immigration and against what they perceive as the “Islamification” of Britain, claiming to advocate “Christian social conservatism” to counter the rise of radical Islam.
The group is influenced by Ulster loyalism and has a vigilante wing called the “Britain First Defence Force”.
BF rose to prominence by carrying out “Christian patrols” in East London as a response to the Muslim Shariah patrols in the Whitechapel area.
They are also infamous for “invading” empty mosques across the country, handing out Army Bibles to elderly worshippers and telling them to stop Muslim men grooming young girls for sex.