BBC Suspends Talkshow After Anti-Arab Row
Fri January 9, 2004 11:17 AM ET
LONDON (Reuters) - The BBC on Friday suspended a popular daily talkshow after its presenter made anti-Arab comments in a newspaper article.
Show presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk, a former parliamentarian with the ruling Labour Party, angered racial equality bodies with a column which asked whether Arab nations had contributed anything to civilization.
The BBC said it would suspend his daily "Kilroy" talkshow from Monday while it conducts an internal investigation into his article in the Sunday Express newspaper.
"The BBC strongly disassociates itself from the views expressed," the publicly-funded broadcaster said in a statement. "We stress that these comments do not reflect the views of the BBC."
The article, headlined "We owe the Arabs nothing," asked: "What do (Arabs) think we feel about them? That we admire them for being suicide bombers, limb amputators, women repressors?"
Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, a publicly-funded body which campaigns against racism, said it was "indisputably stupid."
"Our lawyers have considered the column and, in the light of widespread concern, we are referring the article to the police to consider whether it might constitute an offence under the Public Order Act," Phillips said on Thursday.
Iqbal Sacranie, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, complained to the BBC and the Press Complaints Commission.
"Kilroy" was launched on the BBC 15 years ago and attracts ratings of 1.2 million with audience discussions on topical issues. Kilroy-Silk was not available for comment.
If individuals are stifled by Islamic lobbyists for telling the truth thereâ€™ll be no way to stop their goal of world domination. The very laws that have helped build our civilization will help collapse it.