Board of Deputies letter to BBC demands apology over imam coverage

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Board of Deputies letter to BBC demands apology over imam coverage

The Jewish group has accused the BBC of "dismissing" the allegedly antisemitic views of the imam who appeared in the Tory leadership debate

Imam Abdullah Patel
Imam Abdullah Patel

The Board Of Deputies has written to the BBC to demand an apology over the broadcaster’s coverage of comments made by the imam Abdullah Patel.

A letter from the Board to the BBC’s head of news Fran Unsworth sent yesterday laments their use of “anti-Israel” instead of “antisemitic”, describing the coverage as “deeply problematic”.

It reads: “We are deeply concerned by an apparent editorial decision across the BBC to term the tweet ‘anti-Israel’: on the BBC news website, on Wednesday’s BBC News at Ten and by two journalists on that night’s Newsnight.

“They did so without mentioning the offensive content of the tweet. This is deeply problematic.

“The struggle against antisemitism is hampered by legitimate concerns of the Jewish community being dismissed as mere political disagreements about Israel, and not recognised as actual antisemitism. The BBC’s reporting has added to that problem.”

The letter comes as Ofcom received 31 complaints about Our Next Prime Minister.

Meanwhile The BBC has said it will consider “additional steps” in its vetting process for guests following a debate between Conservative leadership candidates.

A spokesperson for the Corporation said: “We have a long history of producing successful debate programmes and this was no different.

“We did however, adopt a different format for this programme and we will look at whether there are additional steps we might take on vetting and transparency should we repeat it in the future.”

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