Press Complaints Commission
We would like the Press Complaints Commission to urgently look into our complaint below about an article written by the BBC1 presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk for his weekly column in the Express on Sunday on January 4th 2004.
It is truly galling to see an Islamophobic hatemonger like Kilroy given a platform to propagate his clearly racist views in a respected mainstream newspaper.
Kilroy-Silk is � as you must know - a man who positively revels in airing his anti-Arab and anti-Muslim views. We wonder what the Press Complaints Commission would think if a mainstream newspaper proper were to give the same kind of prominence to a columnist who was so openly anti-black or anti-Jewish?
In last Sunday�s paper Kilroy surpassed all his previous efforts and produced a gratuitous anti-Arab rant.
As you can see in the following extract (�We Owe Arabs Nothing�) from the Express on Sunday, Kilroy-Silk appears unable (or unwilling) to distinguish between the terrorists who perpetrated the Sept 11 atrocities and the ordinary Arab peoples who constitute a population of over 200 million.
�We're told that the Arabs loathe us. Really?� What do they think we feel about them? That we adore them for the way they murdered more than 3,000 civilians on September 11� That we admire them for the cold-blooded killings in Mombasa, Yemen and elsewhere? That we admire them for being suicide bombers, limb-amputators, women-repressors?�
Note that Kilroy doesn�t attack the actions of a particular few � but �the Arabs� as a whole. This seems to be a clear case of indiscriminate generalisation and as such, blatantly racist. The Press Council upheld a complaint against The Sun for publishing similar comments about �the Arabs� in 1987.
The Muslim Council of Britain considers Kilroy�s remarks quoted above to be ignorant, extremely derogatory and indisputably racist.
We now urge the Press Complaints Commission to take urgent and firm action on this extremely serious matter to reassure the Muslim and Arab communities in Britain and abroad that you will not in any way accept the demonisation of entire peoples.
Certainly, if the word �Jews� was substituted for �Arabs� in the Kilroy quotes above it seems to us that the PCC would not tolerate any delay before it took substantive action against the Express on Sunday.
Please note that this is not the first time that Kilroy-Silk has made similar remarks. On Monday 16th January 1995, Kilroy-Silk wrote the following in the Daily Express:
�Moslems everywhere behave with equal savagery. They behead criminals, stone to death female � only female � adulterers, throw acid in the faces of women who refuse to wear the chadar, mutilate the genitals of young girls and ritually abuse animals. Nor are non-Moslems immune to their depravity. They conspired to kill the Pope, placed a death sentence on Salman Rushdie for writing things they did not like, murdered several of his supporters, threatened the life of a Moslem author who said, rightly, Islam treats women as second-class citizens, and indiscriminately murdered Western holiday-makers in Algeria, Egypt and elsewhere � just because they were Westerners.�
Mr Inayat Bunglawala,
The Muslim Council of Britain,
London E15 1NT