Kelvin Mackenzie, the right-wing columnist for The Sun, has caused outrage after he called Islam a “violent religion” and questioned whether it was appropriate for Channel 4 News to be presented by a hijab-wearing journalist on the day that Nice was “attacked by a Muslim.”
His comments have prompted Muslim organisations to urge the public to complain to the press watchdog Ipso, which is thought to have already received over 100 complaints.
Mackenzie wrote: “Anxious to know more about the Nice lorry massacre, I did something on Friday night I try to avoid: I watched Channel Four News.
“After Jon Snow had conducted a poor interview with a young man who had come perilously close to death the action switched back to the London studio, where I could hardly believe my eyes.
“The presenter was not one of the regulars — Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Matt Frei or Cathy Newman — but a young lady wearing a hijab. Her name is Fatima Manji and she has been with the station for four years.
“Was it appropriate for her to be on camera when there had been yet another shocking slaughter by a Muslim? Was it done to stick one in the eye of the ordinary viewer who looks at the hijab as a sign of the slavery of Muslim women by a male- dominated and clearly violent religion?
“Would the C4 editor have used a Hindu to report on the carnage at the Golden Temple of Amritsar? Of course not. Would the station have used an Orthodox Jew to cover the Israeli-Palestine conflict? Of course not.”
He added: “With all the major terrorist outrages in the world currently being carried out by Muslims, I think the rest of us are reasonably entitled to have concerns about what is beating in their religious hearts. Who was in the studio representing our fears? Nobody.”
Following the column’s publication the Muslim Council of Britain’s Miqdaad Versi called it “disgusting bigotry.” He asked how what a woman wears is relevant to the stories she covers, and called the story “trash reporting.”
MPACUK’s Raza Nadim urged people to complain to The Sun on Twitter and said that the newspaper had “helped make British society much more intolerant which leads to more attacks on Muslims on our streets, support for illegal wars and approval of draconian laws which hurt us all.”
And Baroness Warsi tweeted: “When xenophobia becomes this acceptable we should all be ashamed. This comment piece is gutter journalism.”
Mackenzie is the former editor of The Sun and has often been accused of xenophobia. He is most infamous for slandering Liverpool fans after he ran a falsified story claiming some fans urinated on police and had picked the pockets of the dead during the Hillsborough tragedy.