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Media turned hate-mail into Islamophobic bean-feast

PUBLISHED: 15:26 12 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:37 05 October 2010

Dear Editor, THE hate-mail and death threats made to John Williams, a senior and very good Tower Hamlets council officer, are truly shocking. I hope the perpetrators are caught and suitably punished. However, a considerable share of the responsibility for this must be taken by the hysterical and inflammatory reporting of this issue by the national press, including the BBC

Dear Editor,

THE hate-mail and death threats made to John Williams, a senior and very good Tower Hamlets council officer, are truly shocking (East London Advertiser website).

I hope the perpetrators are caught and suitably punished.

However, a considerable share of the responsibility for this must be taken by the hysterical and inflammatory reporting of this issue by the national press, including the BBC.

They blew up what the Advertiser and the council have shown was a misunderstanding about what was being asked of councillors into an Islamophobic bean-feast.

The fact is that we should give due respect to the deeply-held religious convictions of all who have such beliefes, no matter what their religion.

But no Muslim demands that non-Muslims should fast during the holy month of Ramadan and no Muslim objects to non-Muslims eating in front of them. Indeed, the temptation of food is treated by many as a test of faith.

What this sorry tale should tell us is that both politicians and press have a duty to address issues and report stories responsibly—and not in a way that will inflame community tension.

I am pleased to see at least the Advertiser seems to have observed this principle.

Judy Cox

Gascoigne-place, Bethnal Green

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