Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party (BNP), scored the biggest publicity coup in his group's history on Thursday when 8 million people in the UK turned in to watch him participate in an incendiary debate on the BBC's "Question Time" program.
In the face of hostile questioning, Mr. Griffin inisted he was not a "Nazi," defended a past leader of the Klu Klux Klan, and laid out his vision of a whites-only England. On Friday, he kept the publicity train rolling at a press conference in which he accused the BBC of assembling a "lynch mob" to attack him and complained that the format of the popular talk show was "twisted" to make it impossible for him to fairly defend his views.
Who is Nick Griffin and what does the BNP want?
The party, formed in 1982, is a far-right political party with a “whites-only” membership policy. It wants an immediate stop to immigration and deportation of all British citizens of “foreign descent.”
Nick Griffin became leader of the BNP in 1999, one year after his conviction for distributing material that would incite racial hatred. In recent years, Griffin has distanced himself from earlier anti-Semitic and Holocaust denial statements as part of an effort to broaden the appeal of the BNP.
Edgar Griffin, his father, was expelled from Britain’s Conservative Party for his extremist views. He took his son, Nick, to his first National Front meeting at age 15. After graduating from Cambridge University, Griffin became the national organizer for the National Front in 1978.
In his 1997 trial for inciting racial hatred, when asked about the Holocaust, he said: “Orthodox opinion also once held that the world is flat.... I have reached the conclusion that the ‘extermination’ tale is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lie, and latter witch-hysteria.”
In 2004, according to The Telegraph, Griffin was filmed by the BBC describing Islam as a “wicked and vicious faith.” He claimed gangs of men were drugging and raping white girls as part of an Islamic plot to take over Britain. In 2006, he was cleared of charges of giving race speeches about Islam.
Nick Griffin's Oct. 22 appearance on the BBC's flagship political TV show prompts outrage