World

Trump attacks British PM after criticism of anti-Muslim videos

Firestorm grows after US President retweets anti-Muslim videos

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump publicly upbraided British Prime Minister and ostensible ally Theresa May late on Wednesday, rebutting her criticism of anti-Muslim propaganda in a diplomatic row between the two leaders.

Plunging headlong into a high-profile spat with one of America's closest international partners, Mr Trump suggested that Mrs May focus on defending the United Kingdom rather than criticising him.

"@theresa-may, don't focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!" he tweeted, after an earlier tweet with the same message used the wrong Twitter handle for May.

Mr Trump had drawn fierce condemnation at home and abroad earlier in the day for retweeting three incendiary anti-Muslim videos posted by the deputy head of a British far-right group who has been convicted of a hate crime.

Mrs May said through a spokesman that Mr Trump was "wrong" to promote the "hateful narratives" of the group, Britain First.

Mr Trump's interventions in British politics have strained the so-called "special relationship."

He has infuriated British authorities with his tweets on terrorism in Britain, including highly publicised run-ins with London's Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan.

Mr Khan on Wednesday described Britain First as "a vile, hate-fuelled organisation whose views should be condemned, not amplified".

Before Mr Trump's latest missive, the White House had scrambled to limit the fallout, saying that even if the anti-Muslim videos were misleading, the President was pointing out a real problem.

"The threat is real, and that is what the President is talking about," said White House spokesman Sarah Sanders.

One of the videos falsely claims to show a Muslim beating up a Dutch boy on crutches.

The Dutch embassy in Washington took the unusual step of publicly criticising a sitting US president on Twitter.

"@realDonaldTrump Facts do matter. The perpetrator of the violent act in this video was born and raised in the Netherlands. He received and completed his sentence under Dutch law."

Another video is described as showing an Islamist mob pushing a teenager off a rooftop, without any context - it appears to be footage filmed during unrest in Egypt in 2013. A man was executed for his role in the teen's death.

The third video allegedly depicts a Muslim smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary. - AFP

WORLD