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Anti-Islam UKIP leadership candidate 'demonised'

Anti-Islam UKIP leadership candidate 'demonised'
From BBC - August 15, 2017

A controversial anti-Islam campaigner running for the UKIP leadership has been "demonised", according to the party's leader in the assembly.

Anne Marie Waters, who called Islam evil, said she had faced an "avalanche of lies and smears" and "the party's establishment is terrified I will win".

Neil Hamilton said he did not think Ms Waters looked "out of the ordinary".

But North Wales UKIP AM Michelle Brown urged members to reject "what she stands for".

Ms Waters was allowed to take part in the leadership contest last week.

She proposes a ban on the burka, the closure of all sharia councils and a temporary freeze on all immigration and is one of 11 candidates taking part.

She had predicted she would be prevented from standing, as had Mr Hamilton's assembly colleague David Rowlands, who said her views were "too extreme".

Mr Hamilton said: "I just think that Anne Marie Waters has been demonised because it's easy to paint her in sort of technicolour colours, by virtue of remarks that had been taken out of context from, in some cases, many years ago."

Mr Hamilton said he did not think it was likely she would win, adding: "I have looked at her website and I do not agree with everything on it.

"It's part of the debate on issues which are very important to lots of people, fundamentalist Islam, etcetera."

But the Mid and West Wales AM said he did not want UKIP "to be stigmatised as being excessively dominated by Islamic issues".

"I have already said it was a mistake to propose in the last general election campaign that we should ban the burka, not that I think that is totally unacceptable", he said.

Mr Hamilton said he would not endorse or criticise any leadership candidate and would work with whoever won.

Wales MEP Nathan Gill said he would leave UKIP if Ms Waters won the contest, which was called after the resignation of Paul Nuttall.

'Smear tactics'

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