British anti-immigrant party officials face retrial on race hatred charges

[JURIST] The retrial of two British National Party (BNP) [party website; BBC profile] officials on charges of inciting racial hatred began Wednesday in the UK, with hundreds of supporters protesting outside the Leeds Crown Court. BNP leader Nick Griffin [Wikipedia profile] and senior aide Mark Collett face two race hate charges based on speeches in West Yorkshire in 2004, taped by the BBC, that showed Griffin calling Islam a "wicked, vicious faith" and Collett referring to those seeking asylum as "a little bit like cockroaches." Griffin insists the speeches are legitimate political dialogue [BNP backgrounder, PDF; Griffin trial blog]. In February, the two men were cleared of similar charges of inciting racial hatred, but the jury failed to reach a verdict on all charges [BBC report], leading to a second trial.

The British National Party, formed in 1982, requires that all members must be of British or kindred European ethnic descent [BNP membership materials]. It has called for an immediate stop to all non-white immigration to the UK and for the voluntary resettlement of non-whites to the lands of their ethnic origin. The party has failed to garner widespread support, winning only thirty-three council seats [list, PDF] nationwide in May's local elections. AP has more.

 

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