'I am not a Nazi,' National Party leader says on BBC

Nick_GriffinBritish National Party leader Nicholas Griffin denied Thursday in a controversial appearance on a popular BBC television program that he is a Nazi.

"I am not a Nazi, I never have been," the far-right political leader said on "Question Time" after describing himself as the son of a member of the Royal Air Force who fought during World War II.

He said the father of Labour Party leader Jack Straw, who also appeared on the program, had spent the war years "in prison for refusing to fight Adolf Hitler."

Griffin's comments came after Straw had drawn parallels between the BNP and the Nazi Party, which he described as "a party and an ideology based on race, just like another party represented here today."

But Griffin rejected the comparison. "I am the most loathed man in Britain in the eyes of Britain's Nazis," he said.

"There are Nazis in Britain and they loathe me because I have brought the British National Party from being, frankly, an anti-Semitic and racist organization into being the only political party which, in the clashes between Israel and Gaza, stood full-square behind Israel's right to deal with Hamas terrorists."

Griffin's reception was largely hostile.

"The vast majority of this audience find what you stand for to be completely disgusting," said one audience member to applause.

Other political parties "have a moral compass," Straw said. "Nazism doesn't and neither, I am afraid, does the constitution of the BNP."

"We only won the First World War and the Second World War because we were joined by millions of black and Asian people from around the world," he said to sustained applause.

Griffin denied that his party was racist, insisting it supported "indigenous people" without regard to the color their skin.

"The indigenous people of these islands are the English, the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish," he said. "Skin color is irrelevant, we are the indigenous people here."

Challenged to explain his description of Islam as a "wicked religion," Griffin said it did not support free speech or equal rights for women.

"If Muslims do stay in this country, it must be on the understanding that it must remain fundamentally a British and Christian country," he said, saying he sought a "truce with Islam."

Griffin's appearance came after about 500 demonstrators and police engaged in some shoving outside the gates of BBC Television Centre, and pictures broadcast on the BBC showed at least two of the protesters being dragged bodily from the building.

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