LISTEN: Ukip leadership hopeful Raheem Kassam said 'serious case' for Muslim migration ban
Ukip leadership hopeful Raheem Kassam said this year there was a “strong case to be made” for banning all Muslim immigration to the UK for five years, PoliticsHome can reveal.
Earlier this year Mr Kassam – who served as a top aide to Nigel Farage until May 2015 – said migration issues in Europe were convincing him Britain should “pull up the drawbridge”.
The comments echo those of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, whose calls for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the US were widely condemned.
They are also at odds with interim Ukip leader Mr Farage, who said Mr Trump's plan was “wrong” and “not a very positive message”.
But Mr Kassam told PoliticsHome the stance was "not something that's in my policy platform" for the Ukip leadership.
Mr Kassam was talking to the Jon Gaunt Show on Talk to Me Radio in January, discussing the New Year's Eve Cologne attacks for a show entitled 'The truth about migrant rape gangs'.
As many as 1,000 women were reported to have suffered sexual assaults at the German city's central train station, with many of the perpetrators said to have been of North African or Arab descent.
Asked whether he agreed with former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson that there should be a five-year ban on Muslims coming to the UK, Mr Kassam said:
“I think there is as serious case to be made. And Donald Trump in the United States has been making this point as well that actually there may need to be some sort of break while we investigate this.
“Because, as you see, the career politicians have said for years 'oh, there’s no problem, they are just like us, they can come here and there will be no problems' - there are massive bloody problems.”
Mr Kassam lamented that Britain had “sadly” signed up to various rights-protecting treaties – a stance he admitted he “might take some flak” for.
He called for immediate withdrawal from the Geneva convention and the European Court of Human Rights in a bid to “stop any more of the mass migrant invasion into Europe”.
He added: “I’m actually coming around to the idea that we do want to pull up the drawbridge now - because this is utterly insane what is going on.
“Bear in mind this isn’t just happening in Cologne, this isn’t an isolated incident, this has been happening in Hamburg, in Zurich in Salzburg in Paris.”
A source from a rival Ukip leadership camp told PoliticsHome: “What will his next plan be? Build a wall around Birmingham?”
'NOT MY POLICY PLATFORM'
Asked by PoliticsHome if he stands by his claim about a “strong case” for a ban on Muslim immigration, Mr Kassam said:
“It's not something that's in my policy platform as you can see.”
He added: “I think we are better off banning foreign funding of religious institutions to protect Muslim Communities from radicalisation.
"If the foreign funding ban doesn't work we will have to look at the root causes of the problem but I have examined this carefully and I think it will work and Muslim parents will sleep easier knowing their kids aren't being radicalised."
Asked about Mr Trump's migrant ban in December, Mr Farage told US channel CNBC: "I think Trump was wrong to go as far as he did, but the basic point that we in the West should not be importing terrorism is the right one.
He added: "Being very careful about who you let in and vetting people [is fine] but just shutting up shop is not a very positive message."