PRESS RELEASE: Cautious welcome for BBC action over Kilroy

Islamic Human Rights Commission

9th January 2004

PRESS RELEASE: Cautious welcome for BBC action over Kilroy
BBC Still has to address Islamophobia

IHRC cautiously welcomes the BBC decision to suspend the ‘Kilroy’ programme after the presenter’s latest prejudiced outburst in a national newspaper.

Robert Kilroy-Silk’s anti-Arab comments were clearly racist and action needed to be taken. However his vitriolic demonisation of others is nothing new. In a previous article for the Daily Express, Kilroy-Silk described Muslims as ‘backward and evil,’ adding, ‘and if it is being racist to say so then I must be and happy and proud to be so.’

This outrageous statement was made in 1995 and many more have issued forth since. However as the targets of his venom are usually Muslims, no action was taken. It is only now that he has crossed the line and embarked on racial rather than religious abuse has anything been done.

IHRC Chairperson, Massoud Shadjareh said today:

“Whilst we are pleased to see Kilroy-Silk off the air, the BBC’s actions have highlighted the fact that Islamophobia is still not being taken as seriously as racism.

“If anti-Muslim hatred was seen in the same light, Muslims and indeed the British public, would have been spared at least some nine years of ‘Kilroy’.

“More seriously we have had many years of unchecked demonisation of Muslims from not only from this flagship television programme but various sectors of society. This type of vilification and demonisation has seen its precedent in the former Yugoslavia and in the Europe of the 1930s. It’s time that we understood as a society the road we are on.”

Last year IHRC campaigners nominated Kilroy-Silk for the ‘Most Islamophobic Media Personality’ at the Annual Islamophobia Awards.

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