UKIP leader Nigel Farage has warned that there’s rising public concern about immigration partly because people believe there are some Muslims who want to form “a fifth column and kill us.”
Farage also said that race and other anti-discrimination legislation should be abolished, arguing that it was no longer needed in the United Kingdom, in an interview with former equality and human rights commissioner Trevor Phillips for Channel 4.
Farage said the emergence of British-born Islamist extremists was an “especial problem”, with some Muslim immigrants who do not want to integrate prompting wider public concern.
During the interview, the UKIP leader said: “I think perhaps one of the reasons the polls show an increasing level of concern is because people do see a fifth column living within our country, who hate us and want to kill us.
“There is no previous experience, in our history, of a migrant group that fundamentally wants to change who we are.
“So don’t be surprised if there isn’t a slight increase in people’s worries and concerns. You know, when you’ve got British, when you’ve got people, born and bred in Cardiff, with British passports, going out to fight for ISIS, don’t be surprised if there isn’t an uptick in concern. There has been an uptick in concern, but does it make us a prejudiced people? No.”
In contrast, he said, previous waves of immigration by Huguenots, Jews and Ugandan Asians became integrated in society while often maintaining private observance of their faiths and traditions.
“There is an especial problem with some of the people who’ve come here and who are of the Muslim religion who don’t want to become part of our culture. So there is no previous experience, in our history, of a migrant group that comes to Britain, that fundamentally wants to change who we are and what we are. That is, I think, above everything else, what people are really concerned about.”
With UKIP polling at around 15% and immigration consistently cited as one of the top concerns of voters, the Channel 4 programme interviewed Farage to explore whether the UK’s “attempt to embrace a multi-ethnic Britain has led directly to the rise of the party”.
A YouGov poll found last week that 75% of people think immigration has been too high and only 2% think it has been too low. ComRes and ITV research last month found UKIP was more trusted than the other parties on the issue of immigration but 48% said it did not have sensible policies.
Things We Won’t Say About Race That Are True, Channel 4, 9pm, 19 March