Times columnist calls for “Islamists” to blow themselves up in Tower Hamlets

The right-wing columnist Rod Liddle has called for “British Islamists” to blow themselves up in Tower Hamlets.

Liddle made the comments in an article for The Sunday Times about the release of Anjem Choudary from prison.

Tower Hamlets has a large Muslim population and is home to London’s second biggest mosque, East London Mosque.

Liddle wrote: “Anjem and I fervently agree on one issue, though. He has urged British Islamists to leave the country and blow themselves up. 

“Me too. Actually, I don’t 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.”

The article was immediately condemned by the Muslim Council of Britain and Tower Hamlets Council.

The MCB said it has taken the matter up with the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper.

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The MCB said: “Rod Liddle has a history of Islamophobic comments in national newspapers but this statement goes beyond bigoted satirising of Muslim minorities and appears to be inciting violence here in the U.K. It is shocking and totally unacceptable.

“Given he has previously called Tower Hamlets the “holy caliphate,” and given his longstanding bigotry against Muslims, it appears that he is specifically inciting violence against Muslims.”

Meanwhile, Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs called for an apology.

He said: “This is an utterly appalling column from Rod Liddle. Anjem Choudary’s incitement of hatred has no place in our society and neither does such a divisive and insensitive article.

“To allow a Sunday Times columnists to advocate that people should ‘blow themselves up somewhere a decent distance from where the rest of us live. Tower Hamlets, for example’ is outrageous.

“It is deeply insulting to Londoners and particularly those who lost loved ones in the Canary Wharf bombing in 1996, or have been affected by other violent acts.

“The kind of politics being peddled here is polarising and extremely dangerous. 

“The ‘us and them’ language is not acceptable and not befitting of mainstream media in 2018, or any time.

“And what ‘us and them’ is he talking about? Tower Hamlets is proud to have residents from more than 200 different countries. We are a place where the majority of our residents gets along well with one another, and a borough that is the third largest contributor to the U.K. economy with some of the nation’s biggest economic centres, historic landmarks and visitor destinations.

“On behalf of my residents I will be asking the Sunday Times for a full apology and to consider whether someone with these views should be writing for them at all.” 

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