British National Party chairman, Nick Griffin, has criticized Islam and defended a Ku Klux Klan leader in an appearance on the BBC program, Question Time.
The BNP is a far-right British political party which only allows white Britons to become members. It won two seats in the European parliament in the May elections. The BNP already holds one of the 25 seats in the London assembly and a sprinkling of council seats around the country. However, the party does not have a representative in the UK parliament. Griffin told a largely hostile audience that Winston Churchill would be a BNP supporter if he were alive, and insisted: “I am not a Nazi”.
Before the airing of the Question Time program, the BBC had come under attack for inviting Griffin to its show. Many protesters gathered in front of the BBC building to show their opposition to Griffin’s appearance.
Griffin had been sentenced to a suspended jail term for spreading ethnic hatred prior to obtaining the BNP leadership.
Hundreds of anti-fascist demonstrators and leftwing campaigners gathered on Thursday afternoon at BBC Television Centre in west London, forcing Mr. Griffin to use a rear entrance and anti-fascist protesters scuffled with police outside the building.
Welsh Secretary, Peter Hain, said the BBC had legitimized the BNP’s “racist poison” by inviting its leader onto the show, but the corporation defended the move, saying it had a duty to be impartial.
During the program, the BNP leader described Islam as a “wicked and vicious faith”.
He was booed at the start of the recording and was accused of trying to “poison politics” as he was attacked by fellow panelists and the audience.