Anti-fascist campaign group Hope Not Hate has launched a crowd-funding campaign to sue Nigel Farage after he referred to them as “extremists” who “masquerade as being lovely and peaceful but actually pursue violent and very undemocratic means”.
The organisation’s director, Nick Lowles, announced on Twitter it had written to the former Ukip leader demanding he withdraw the claims or face legal action.
Mr Farage made the comments during a scathing attack on Brendan Cox, the husband of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox.
The row came after Mr Cox criticised the Ukip MEP for blaming German Chancellor Angela Merkel for a terrorist attack on a Christmas market in Berlin.
Hope Not Hate has now launched a public fundraising website to cover the costs of taking Mr Farage to court.
It said: “Nigel Farage's allegations against Hope not hate on LBC today are a political smear, which is why our lawyers have written to Mr Farage demanding that he retracts and publicly apologises for his remarks, or face further legal action.
“Hope not hate is a well-respected, civil society organisation whose more than 200,000 supporters come from all political persuasions. They are united by a common desire to combat racism and to do so using lawful, peaceful means.
“That Nigel Farage made his remarks in the context of a discussion about Jo Cox, who was so brutally murdered earlier this year, makes them all the more poisonous and hateful.
"As is well known, Hope not hate was one of three entities chosen by Jo’s widow, Brendan Cox, as the recipient of donations from the public who wished to show their solidarity with the family.”
A source close to Mr Farage told The Independent: “It’s quite funny, in an ironic way, that an organisation in receipt of a huge sum of money from the Jo Cox Fund is now crowd-sourcing an attempted legal action.
On the issue of Mr Cox’s comments, the source said: “There are many ways to jump on a bandwagon.
"Brendan Cox and his children have suffered a great deal this year, but equally there are people in Germany suffering right now.”
The row began after Mr Farage tweeted: “Terrible news from Berlin but no surprise. Events like these will be the Merkel legacy.”
Mr Cox, whose wife was shot dead by right-wing extremist Thomas Mair shortly before the EU referendum, responded by saying: “Blaming politicians for the actions of extremists? That's a slippery slope Nigel."
Mr Farage then uses a radio interview to launch an attack on Mr Cox.
He told LBC: “Well, of course, he would know more about extremists than me, Mr Cox, he backs organisations like Hope Not Hate, who masquerade as being lovely and peaceful but actually pursue violent and very undemocratic means.”
Hope Not Hate describes its aims as “[to] challenge and defeat the politics of hate and extremism within local communities, [and] building resilience against the politics of hate and fear, at a national and grassroots level”.
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