Jayda Fransen, the front woman for Britain First, organizes “Christian patrols” to march through predominantly Muslim neighborhoods in Great Britain, bearing crosses and railing against sharia law. “They’ve got a dead prophet who waged war and, you know, took sexual slaves,” she says of Islam’s patriarch, Muhammad. “A pedophile.” She believes wholeheartedly that Barack Hussein Obama submits to Islam: “I have no doubt in my mind that this man is a Muslim. I have no doubt in my mind.”
She also thinks Donald Trump is the future of white people in America and Europe. “I think he’s fantastic,” she says. “Vote Trump.”
As part of “Radicals Rising,” our hourlong documentary investigation into the spread of right-wing and Islamist extremism in Europe, Fusion’s investigative team made contact with more than a dozen leaders of white nationalist, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim groups on the European continent. As excited as they are about right-wing, nativist political gains in countries like France and Germany, they saved some of their highest praise for Trump, the billionaire tycoon whose U.S. presidential run has sounded a clarion call for fed-up white folks.
“I think he’s honest,” British longtime anti-immigration activist Tommy Robinson says of Trump, whose claims have been listed as 76 percent false by Politifact.
“Ah, I love Trump,” says Kroc Blanc, a white nationalist rapper from Paris known for spitting rhymes against Muslim immigration to his native France. “Because he says he won’t take any more Muslims in America. It’s so, so nice.”
On the heels of terror attacks in Paris and Brussels and a refugee crisis deepened by civil war in Syria, Europe’s far right has enjoyed a microburst of popularity. They’re vying for a larger role in mainstream politics, notably with Marine Le Pen’s Front National in France, the U.K. Independence Party in Britain, and the quasi-fascist National Democratic Party of Germany, among others.
But plenty of grassroots organizations and lone voices are leading rowdy, often racially fraught street-level campaigns against immigrants and Muslims — as similar forces have aligned with Trump’s campaign in the States.
Few in Europe are as committed to that struggle as Robinson, the founder of the right-wing English Defence League and current leader of the U.K. chapter of PEGIDA, a growing anti-immigrant network whose street picketers carry signs claiming “NAZISM = ISLAMISM” and “TRUMP IS RIGHT.”
To hear Robinson tell it, Trump is a truth-telling godsend, sounding an alarm about the specter of Islamic terror. “You got loads of lunatics in your country who want — who are hell bent on enforcing their backward way of life and their backward law upon the rest of society,” Robinson says of Islamists. “That’s the worry there, not what Donald Trump says.”
Trump, Robinson says, “has moved the debate forward. So I’m grateful for him doing it.”
Thus far, though, that debate has been dominated by shrill voices like Robinson’s and Fransen’s.
“Trump has a fortune that he can be sitting on very comfortably in a remote island somewhere, without worrying about the fact that you currently have, you know, a corrupt president who in my opinion is a Muslim, but at the very least is a Muslim appeaser,” Fransen told Fusion.
“I’m not American, but we’re all brothers and sisters, and we’re in a common battle, okay?”
To learn more, watch The Naked Truth: Radicals Rising, Fusion’s hourlong investigative documentary on right-wing and Islamist extremists battling for Europe, on Sunday, March 27 at 8 p.m. EDT on Fusion.