Britain First's deputy leader, Jayda Fransen, has just been retweeted three times by Donald Trump, leader of the free world. But who is she, and why is this such a problematic action by the president?

The ultranationalist group Britain First, which describes itself as a "patriotic political party" but is no longer officially recognised as a political organisation, was formed in 2011 by disenfranchised former members of the British National Party (BNP). It has been described by critics as "far-right," "racist" and a front for "fascists" – all descriptions denied by the group. Yet they want to completely ban Islam in the UK.

One of the group's founding fathers, former BNP member Jim Dowson, said in a 2014 interview that Britain First activists were part of a "holy war" and "crusade". The group has also described Islam as a "cancer of the world".

However Britain First insists it "rejects" racial hatred and claims on its website: "British ethnic minorities regularly attend our events and activities. Britain First opposes Islamic extremism and mass immigration because they are a danger to the British people. Britons from all backgrounds are welcome to join our struggle to put British people first."

Other Britain First policies include ending the "foreign health tourism" that they say is draining the NHS, introducing a ban on the word "racism" in the media, scrapping the entire foreign aid budget, restoring capital punishment for paedophiles, terrorists and murderers, and withdrawing from the United Nations.

In recent years, the group has targeted areas with significant Muslim communities, taking part in "Christian patrols", "mosque invasions" (where activists hand out anti-Islam leaflets to Muslims during prayer) and national protest rallies. Britain First leader Paul Golding was previously jailed for eight weeks in December 2016 for breaking a court order banning him from entering mosques or encouraging others to do so.

According to numerous witnesses, Thomas Mair shouted "Britain First" as he fatally shot and stabbed MP Jo Cox outside her constituency office in June 2016. Following the murder, Louise Haigh, Labour MP for Sheffield Heeley, wanted the House of Commons to debate whether Britain First should be proscribed as a terrorist organisation.

jayda fransen paul golding
Britain First leader Paul Golding (left) and deputy leader Jayda Fransen (centre) have been accused of leading 'provocative' anti-Islam marches in the past Getty

Jayda Fransen

Jayda Fransen has been deputy leader of the group since 2014 and has said in previous interviews she is willing to die for her cause. She also claims to put her faith in God to choose the time of her death. She has 54,000 Twitter followers, to whom she frequently posts videos with an anti-Muslim message.

Fransen previously stood for parliamentary election in a Rochester and Strood by-election in 2014, after Britain First was active nearby in opposition to a planned mosque. The seat was won instead by UKIP; Britain First received just 56 votes (0.14%), coming ninth out of 13 candidates.

Fransen and Golding were both arrested in May and later charged with causing religiously aggravated harassment, following an investigation relating to the distribution of leaflets and the posting online of videos during a trial involving three Muslim men and a teenager who have since been convicted of rape. They have pleaded not guilty.

Just this month, Fransen was arrested and charged over a speech she made at the Northern Ireland Against Terrorism Rally in August. She was charged with threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour and is due in court on 14 December.

Anti-Muslim videos

Trump's retweets were of three videos posted by Fransen, titled "Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches," "Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!" and "Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!" Yet numerous anti-Muslim angled videos and captions posted by Britain First have previously been debunked: