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« Palestinian medical fundraiser | Main | Hitching a ride »

Sunday, January 11 2004

Islamophobia at BBC

The BBC has suspended a TV program host for making an anti-Arab commentary:

Robert Kilroy-Silk
The Kilroy programme will be taken off air immediately following comments made by Robert Kilroy-Silk in a newspaper article, the BBC has announced.

The presenter branded Arabs "suicide bombers, limb amputators, women repressors" and asked what they had given to the world other than oil.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) described the piece written by the discussion show host in last week's Sunday Express as a "gratuitous anti-Arab rant".

Mr Kilroy-Silk's article included comments saying the toppling of despotic regimes in the Middle East should be a war aim, and questioned the contribution of the Arab nations to world welfare and civilisation.

He said Arabs "murdered more than 3,000 civilians on 11 September" and then "danced in the streets" to celebrate.

Interesting how quickly and decisively the BBC reacted to criticism from Muslim groups. The BBC defines 'Islamophobia' as the growing problem of 'fear or intolerance of Muslims because of their religion.' If Kilroy-Silk expressed intolerance, BBC just showed its fear.

Kilroy has now apologized for his comments. British Libertarian Perry de Havilland asks the right question:

my point is not to defend Kilroy-Silk, of whom I am not a particular fan but rather to wonder why it is that Robert Fisk and John Pilger can make equally sweeping and egregiously collectivist statements about Israel and the United States without so much as a murmur from the Guardian reading classes?

It seems that vilifying Israel is always fair game for mainstream-to-leftist British reporters, but make a derogatory statement about Arabs and media execs will show you the door. That's what passes for enlightened journalism in those UK circles these days.

(Hat tip: Tim Blair)



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