Ex Britain First member denounces group, visits mosque to apologise

Former Britain First member, Matthew Lester with a worshipper from Crayford Mosque.

A former member of Britain First has denounced the far right organisation and visited a mosque to apologise to the Muslim community.

Matthew Lester, 25, joined the group six months ago to protest against radical Muslim preachers but soon became disillusioned with the group.

He told the Huffington Post: “I thought it was for the people but found out it was more about publicity. Basically it was publicity stunts more than getting anything done and tackling issues.

bf2“They’re not just going after extremists, they’re going after Muslims.”

To make amends Lester visited Crayford Mosque to apologise.

He said: “I went in there and took my shoes and hat off and they said Allah knows what’s in your heart and we can tell by the way you came down here and apologised.”

The experience has spurred him to further action and he has plans about to how to make an even bigger difference.

He said: “I want to speak to Sikhs, Hindus and Jews now to show that we’re all united together.

“We’re all human and we all have separate beliefs and that’s fine.”

Lester’s turn-around has received a lot of praise on social media.

 

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.

Paul Golding (left) holding a Jim Dowson cardboard cut-out in Belfast November 2013
Paul Golding (left) holding a Jim Dowson cardboard cut-out in Belfast November 2013

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.

 

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