Imam on BBC Tory leadership debate called for relocation of Israel to US
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Imam on BBC Tory leadership debate called for relocation of Israel to US

Presenter Nicky Campbell apologised after Abdullah Patel, who had accused politicians of being on 'Zionists' payroll', questioned prime ministerial hopefuls

The BBC has acknowledged a research oversight led to an antisemitic imam question Tory leadership contenders about Islamophobia.

Presenter Nicky Campbell, who invited Abdullah Patel onto his BBC Radio 5 Live the morning after the live debate, said the imam had made “extremely disturbing” remarks on Twitter, and that he was “sorry” the BBC had not checked his background sufficiently beforehand.

In tweets unearthed by the Guido Fawkes website, Patel wrote: “Every Political [sic] igure on the Zionist’s [sic] payroll is scaring the world about Corbyn. They don’t like him. He seems best suited to tackle them!”

He also shared an image endorsing the relocation of Israel to the US as a way of solving the Israel/Palestine conflict. It was the identical image Labour MP Naz Shah shared in 2106, leading to her apology and suspension from the party.

Patel has since taken down his Twitter account but previous social media posts from @AbdullahPatel94 published by the Spectator include accusing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance of either “lying about wanting to protect freedom of speech, or they simply wish to undermine @jeremycorbyn”.

In one message Patel also reportedly wrote: “How long are the Zionists going to hide behind the Holocaust cry? It was a tragedy, but Gaza today is a repeat of the oppression.”

The BBC’s press team tweeted out the following statement in wake of the incident: “We carried out background research into the online social media profiles of all our questioners for last night’s debate. Following the debate, one individual reactivated a public twitter account he had previously deactivated, whose tweets were not visible during our research period. Had we been aware of the views he expressed there he would not have been selected.”

Rob Burley, who edited the programme, said: “It was AFTER the show that Mr Patel reactivated his account revealing his tweets.

“We wouldn’t have put him on the programme if these were public before broadcast, but they were not. We also carried out a number of other routine checks which didn’t uncover anything untoward.”

Campbell tweeted: “I would like to apologise. We had the Imam from the BBC Tory leadership debate on our programme this morning.

“His social media comments have been extremely disturbing. We should have checked. We didn’t. I’m sorry.”

Jonathan Goldstein, chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, said: “This is disappointing from the BBC. A serious point being lost due to the vitriol of the questioner. Racism against all is unacceptable.”

Following revelations about his comments, the Chair of Al-Madani Educational Trust announced that Abdullah Patel had been suspended as Deputy Head of the school.

In a statement, he said: “Following some of the comments attributed to Patel in the media this morning, the Trust has decided to suspend him from all school duties with immediate effect until a full investigation is carried out.”

“The ‘school’ and ‘Trust’ do not share the views attributed to him.”

Jewish News has contacted Patel for comment.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments