Nigel Farage slammed for 'race-baiting' after claiming British Muslims do not share 'UK values'

Nigel Farage slammed for 'race-baiting' after claiming British Muslims do not share 'UK values'
The right-wing figure claimed that British Muslims do not share 'UK values' in an interview with Sky News on Sunday morning.
3 min read
26 May, 2024
Nigel Farage was a key figurehead during the Brexit referendum and has long campaigned on an anti-immigration agenda [archive/GETTY]

Right-wing broadcaster and former politician Nigel Farage has sparked a backlash after making derogatory comments about British Muslims and claiming that they do not support the country's values.

Speaking on Sky News on Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips TV show, Farage said: "We have a growing number of young people in this country who do not subscribe to British values."

When he was asked by Phillips who he was referring to, Farage responded: "I think we see them on the streets of London every Saturday."

Phillips then asked for clarification if "we are talking about Muslims here," to which Farage responded: "We are".

Farage was referencing the near-weekly pro-Palestine demonstrations in London which have taken place since the start of the Gaza war in October.

Hundreds of thousands of people from different ethnic backgrounds and nationalities have come out to call for an end to the fighting and in solidarity with Palestinians. 

But the Conservative-led government has sought to ban the marches which some politicians and commentators have dubbed as "hate marches" as part of a wider culture war.

Farage who is the honorary president of Reform UK, a right-wing populist minority party established in 2018, then proceeded to blame the UK's Muslim population for the country's problems and claimed that they are at odds with British values.

His remarks were denounced online with some X users calling them "racist" and "revolting".

Farage, who hosts a talk show on right-wing broadcaster GB News, is not running in the July 4 general election but is leading his party's campaign on an anti-immigration agenda seeking to gain votes from traditional Tory voters.

Speaking in his first election interview, the populist attempted to distinguish migrant groups in the UK by saying that immigrants from the West Indies integrated because they had a shared heritage with the UK, whereas Muslims did not.

In response, Phillips challenged Farage: "Can you imagine how offensive that is to a British Muslim?"

The exchange became heated after Phillips' raised his own West Indies heritage and said that his ancestors were forcibly converted from Islam to Christianity by slave owners.

Farage did not push back after Phillips sought clarification by asking: “Is this the thrust of the reform campaign that immigration means our values are threatened and particularly we are unhappy about Muslims? because that is a pretty incendiary proposition.”

The former Brexit party leader concluded by saying: "The biggest single problem this country faces is the population explosion."

Farage's derogatory comments about British Muslims shocked the show's studio guests who appeared in a segment afterwards.

Labour peer Baroness Ayesha Hazarika said the interview showed Farage's "true colours" as "a nasty race-baiting character".

Hazarika went on to talk about her own ethnicity as "a proud Indian, Scottish, British Muslim and I just swore my allegiance to king and country on the Quran," referring to part of the procedure for gaining UK citizenship.

"The idea he perpetuates that Muslims can’t be trusted, that Muslims are somehow dangerous is so divisive, he does this a lot," Hazarika said.

Farage has been a long-time figure on the British political scene, regarded as a political maverick who has wielded a huge influence on government without ever being a member of parliament.

The controversial figure was a key player in the Leave campaign during the 2016 Brexit referendum and he has been regularly accused of making divisive and incendiary comments related to race and immigration in the UK.

He has previously blamed bad traffic on immigrants and said he would not want to live next to Romanians.