13th January 2004
Mrs Nathan (Letters, 12th Jan) seems to have been distracted by one of the many red herrings that Mr Robert Kilroy-Silk has thrown into the air. It is true that the earlier version of the same Kilroy column in the Sunday Express on 6th April 2003 referred to �Arab countries� but that is because a Sunday Express sub editor had added the word �countries� in order to make Kilroy�s ignorant rant less inflammatory. In the version republished in the Sunday Express on 4th January 2004 � we got Kilroy�s original unadulterated and clearly racist polemic which denigrated all Arabs � not merely Arab countries.
The Arabs are a predominantly Muslim people. The Muslim Council of Britain represents Muslims from many ethnic backgrounds, including a substantial number of Arabs. As such, we made representations about Kilroy�s article to the BBC and others.
Another red herring that Kilroy and the editor of the Sunday Express raised was that of freedom of speech � which we all must value and cherish. Yet, by abusing his freedom of speech to vilify and demonise an entire group of peoples, Kilroy has shown an utter disregard for the law on incitement to racial hatred.
Mr Kilroy-Silk has besmirched the internationally renowned name and values of the BBC. We hope the BBC will now send a permanent and potent signal to all that it regards anti-Arab racism as no less reprehensible and no less odious than anti-Black or anti-Jewish racism.
Mr Inayat Bunglawala,
The Muslim Council of Britain
London E15 1NT