Fury after Rod Liddle tells Islamists to blow themselves up in Tower Hamlets
- Credit: Archant
The mayor has demanded an apology from Sunday Times columnist Rod Liddle after he told British Islamists to blow themselves up in the borough.
Journalist Rod Liddle made the comments in this week’s edition of the News UK run title in response to radical preacher Anjem Choudary’s release from prison after he was jailed for calling on people to support te Islamic State militants.
He wrote: “[Choudary] has urged British Islamists to leave the country and blow themselves up.
“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. Tower Hamlets, for example”.
Mayor John Biggs said the comment was outrageous describing the 180 word column as utterly appalling.
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“Anjem Choudary’s incitement of hatred has no place in our society and neither does such a divisive and insensitive article.
“It is deeply insulting to Londoners and particularly those who lost loved ones in the Canary Wharf bombing in 1996, or who have been affected by violent acts,” he said.
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The London Docklands bombing was on February 9, 1996, when provisional Irish Republican Army terrorists detonated a truck bomb in South Quay.
Mayor Biggs went on to attack the Sunday Times for peddling an “extremely dangerous” kind of politics.
“The ‘us and them’ language is unacceptable and not befitting of the mainstream media,” he said before demanding the weekly newspaper apologise and consider sacking Mr Liddle.
And he stood up for Tower Hamlets describing the borough as a proud, economic powerhouse where 304,000 people from more than 200 different countries got along well.
Canary Wharf’s Cllr Andrew Wood said that as a Tower Hamlets resident he did not want any more terrorist bombs but he agreed with Mr Liddle’s call for Mr Choudary to leave the country.
“He does not share our values and we would all be better off if he left. He might then realise the advantages of living in a democratic, open and tolerant society after he has left,” Cllr Wood said.
The borough’s Liberal Democrat chairman, Ed Long, echoed Mayor Biggs’s call for an apology.
Mr Long said: “There is simply no excuse for the Sunday Times to allow this level of casual racism and inhumanity to appear in their paper – whether it’s supposed to be a joke or a deliberate provocation.
“Along with the mayor, I look forward to seeing a full print apology from the paper. Liddle’s column manages to both insult the memory of those killed and injured in the Docklands bombing just over 20 years ago and treat residents of the borough today, who contribute so much to London’s social, economic and cultural life, as disposable.
“I hope the Times thinks very carefully before publishing anything from him again.”
News UK did not respond to a request for comment.