The leader of the British National Party (BNP) has told a court that neither he nor his party are racist. Nick Griffin, 47, told Leeds Crown Court that in the early 1990s “the party could be described as racist” and himself “to a certain extent”. But he said this was no longer the case and said a speech in which he described Islam as a “wicked, vicious faith” was not intended to stir racial hatred.
The married father-of-four said he had studied the Koran for many years, and his research had led him to the conclusion that the problems he perceived in local communities were not racial, but cultural and religious.
The jury was shown extracts from the Koran, books on Islam and reports about the religion, which Mr Griffin used to claim support for his view of Muslims. He said the Koran provided an excuse for terrorists and radical Muslims, such as Egyptian-born cleric Abu Hamza. “He’s not a crazy extremist who is perverting Islam. He is getting this from the book.”