An Orthodox Jewish candidate for mayor of Manchester apologised after burning what he called a “missionary bible” and posting images of it on social media.
Shneur Odze, who is a candidate for the UK Independence Party, or UKIP, on the eve of Passover found the Hebrew-language New Testament produced by a proselytising Christian group in his synagogue.
He took it out into the street and set it alight, according to reports. He then posted photos of the book burning and wrote on Twitter: “Grateful to whoever put a missionary bible amongst our synagogue’s books. Was wondering what I’d burn my Chametz with.” The post has since been removed from his Twitter feed though it appears on other places on Twitter.
When criticised on Twitter by a user who said “burning a bible is completely unacceptable”, Odze replied: “absolutely agree. IF I had burned a bible….”.
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Odze is running against former Health Secretary, Labour’s Andy Burnham for Manchester mayor. “While we understand the act, it was ill-advised to put a picture of it on social media which was also provocative and likely to be misunderstood,” A UKIP spokesman told The Daily Mail, which reported the incident.
Odze told the newspaper that he felt he had no choice but to burn the book because he did not want to pass on what he believes is false religion to someone else and said that throwing a religious text in the garbage was distasteful, especially because it also contains the Five Books of Moses.
Odze, a member of Chabad-Lubavitch, is a former city councilman for north London for the Conservative Party.
Odze raised hackles in 2014 as a candidate for the European Parliament from the UKIP party, after refusing to shake women’s hands while campaigning.