British Muslims Extol BBC for Acting Against Racism

16 Jan 2004

The Muslim Council of Britain expressed its relief at the news today that Robert Kilroy-Silk is to step down as the presenter of the Kilroy programme.

`We hope today’s BBC decision will send out a clear signal that anti-Arab racism is every bit as unacceptable, every bit as odious as any other form of racism. Robert Kilroy-Silk’s disgraceful column in the Sunday Express on January 4 was no slip of the pen,’ said Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain.

Commenting on Kilroy-Silk’s attempt to portray his racist anti-Arab views as an issue of freedom of speech, Mr Sacranie said:

`We, however, regret that Mr Kilroy-Silk continues to defend the indefensible and has used every excuse to exculpate himself from taking responsibility for the writing of his own breathtakingly racist words. He blamed the Sunday Express, his secretary, the BBC, the CRE and also the Muslim community itself. He also hid behind the noble principle of freedom of speech. Yet no responsible government allows unlimited freedom of speech, and especially not freedom to incite hatred of an entire people. Events in Nazi Germany during the second world war showed what can happen when we allow the demonisation of whole groups of people.’

They also applauded the BBC for taking a clear stand to uphold its internationally renowned values of impartiality and even-handedness.

[Ends]

Note for Editors:

1. The Muslim Council of Britain (www.mcb.org.uk) is the UK’s representative Muslim umbrella body with over 400 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools.

2. For MCB Documentation to BBC on Kilroy-Silk’s previous statements refer to http://www.mcb.org.uk/kilroy.pdf

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