People have reported an article in the Sunday Times to the press regulator IPSO. In the column, the paper’s Rod Liddle said he ‘doesn’t really mind’ if “British Islamists” blow themselves up in the UK, as long as it’s “a decent distance from where the rest of us live”.
Liddle also suggested a London borough with the highest child poverty rate in the UK for any would-be suicide bombers: Tower Hamlets.
The Sunday Times columnist wrote the article following Anjem Choudary’s prison release. Choudary went to jail in 2016 for encouraging support of Daesh (Isis/Isil). Liddle’s article was titled Chip in and we’ll help Choudary on his way to Paradise. In the piece, the columnist claimed he’s in agreement with Choudary on one particular issue:
Anjem and I fervently agree on one important issue… He has urged British Islamists to leave the country and blow themselves up. Me too. Actually, I don’t really mind if they don’t leave the country, so long as they blow themselves up – somewhere a decent distance from where the rest of us live.
Liddle’s article received ample criticism following its release:
Wow this for real?! Rod Liddle wanting bombs to go off in Tower Hamlets? He is encouraging violence in thinly guised 'satire'
— Azad Ali (@azadaliCCM) October 21, 2018
Did the Murdoch-owned @thesundaytimes really run a column by Rod Liddle yesterday encouraging "British Islamists" to "blow themselves up" in Tower Hamlets? And not just call for a suicide bombing there but suggest Tower Hamlets is a place where "the rest of us" don't live?
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) October 22, 2018
The @MuslimCouncil is shocked at the totally unacceptable language used by Rod Liddle in the @thesundaytimes. We have already written to the Managing Editor and await a response. pic.twitter.com/XkI9nPGe6K
— MCB (@MuslimCouncil) October 22, 2018
— Anna Turley MP (@annaturley) October 23, 2018
The kind of politics being peddled here is polarising and extremely dangerous. The ‘us and them’ language is unacceptable and not befitting of mainstream media in 2018, or at any time.
Meanwhile, Dr Zubaida Haque of the Runnymede Trust, a race equality thinktank, rounded on the Sunday Times and IPSO:
What’s particularly deplorable is how Rod Liddle has been continuously allowed to write his racist bile without any censoring. Is the message from IPSO (and The Sunday Times) that racism and racist violence against Muslim people is acceptable and permissible?
According to i News, IPSO is currently processing the more than 10 complaints it’s received.
As Mehdi Hasan pointed out, however, there’s also something very bizarre about Liddle’s effective call to arms:
I’d love to know how many Times and Sunday Times employees live in Tower Hamlets and how they feel about Rod Liddle publicly and casually calling for their deaths in their own paper. https://t.co/SKeKuPDcFc
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) October 22, 2018
The Tower Hamlets borough is in the throes of gentrification, not least because it includes London’s second financial centre, Canary Wharf. So, by encouraging suicide bombers to let loose in the borough, he’s effectively “calling for” the deaths of his own colleagues and/or people working and living in the UK’s financial institutions.
Clearly, no one’s safe from the dangerous combination of Liddle’s “racist bile” and his stupidity.
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