The BBC’s Arab problem

January 14, 2004

CONTENTS

1. "We are falling under the imam's spell" (By Mark Steyn, Daily Telegraph, January 13, 2004)
2. "We owe Arabs nothing," (By Robert Kilroy-Silk, Sunday Express, January 4, 2004.)
3. "Kilroy-Silk is right about the Middle East, say Arabs" (By Ibrahim Nawar, Sunday Telegraph, January 11, 2004)
4. "BBC chiefs accused of 'double standards' over TV presenter" (Sunday Telegraph, January 11, 2004).
5. "Kill-Roy!" (The Sun, January 14, 2004)



[Note by Tom Gross]

The row continues in Britain following the decision by the BBC to take off the air its daytime morning talk show hosted by Robert Kilroy-Silk, after Kilroy-Silk made remarks in the Sunday Express newspaper, which many regard as offensive to Arabs.

AMPUTATING LIMBS AND REPRESSING WOMEN

In his newspaper column, Kilroy-Silk, a former member of the British parliament for Tony Blair's ruling Labour Party, described Arabs as "suicide bombers, limb amputators and women repressors". Kilroy-Silk's secretary has said that she accidentally sent a draft version of the column to the Sunday Express, and that Kilroy-Silk had written "Arab governments" not "Arabs". Kilroy-Silk has publicly apologized for the column.

CALLS TO SEND KILROY-SILK TO PRISON

Despite this, there has been an onslaught of criticism directed at Kilroy-Silk from newspaper columnists, the BBC, the Muslim Council of Britain, the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain and others. Britain's quasi-governmental Commission for Racial Equality has referred Kilroy-Silk's article to the police and demanded he be prosecuted. If convicted, Kilroy-Silk faces up to 7 years in prison.

Robert Marshall-Andrews, a Labour MP, said: "I think it is the most loathsome and illiterate article I have ever read in a British newspaper... It may well be bordering on criminality."

VICIOUS CARICATURES

Cartoonists for both The Independent and The Guardian newspapers ran vicious caricatures of Kilroy-Silk.

The Guardian columnist Faisal Bodi wrote that Kilroy-Silk was a "hatemonger... suffice it to say that neither Kilroy-Silk nor anybody else would have been allowed to say the same thing about black people or Jews... The attorney general Lord Goldsmith must decided if a prosecution is warranted... [But the problem is Lord Goldsmith] is perceived as pro-Israeli."

The Independent's lead columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown wrote on Kilroy-Silk's "scurrilous attack... do we really want to relocate the Zionist paranoia which silences anyone who disapproves of the actions of the Israeli government."

TELLING THE TRUTH, AND TODAY'S DEADLY SUICIDE BOMB

None of these critics have mentioned that limb amputation and women repression are actually enshrined in the laws of several Arab states, and that suicide bombing of the kind we saw this morning that left four Israelis dead and many injured, has been strongly encouraged by officials of various Arab governments. As have actions like the murder in his car last night of Roi Arbel, 29, an Israeli father of five. (Both suicide bomb and the shooting attack were claimed by the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the armed wing of Yasser Arafat's Fatah.)

TOM PAULIN AND THE BBC'S DOUBLE STANDARDS

Many media commentators and politicians (including Trevor Phillips, head of Britain's Commission for Racial Equality) have said that "if anyone had made a rant against black or Jewish people there would be no question of temporary suspension – they would be out straight away."

This is in fact untrue. BBC Newsnight contributor (and Oxford and Columbia University poetry lecturer) Tom Paulin advocated the murder of Jewish settlers, and there was no question of suspending him. Quite the reverse: the BBC was happy for him to appear the following week. About Paulin, the BBC had only this to say: "[Paulin's] polemical, knockabout, style has ruffled feathers in the US, where the Jewish question is notoriously sensitive."

The BBC have also taken no action against Orla Guerin, a BBC reporter in Israel, who has given very hostile interviews about Israel to the London Evening Standard, or Will Self, who is a regular commentator on the BBC, and who has been accused of making anti-Semitic attacks in his newspaper columns.

MICHAEL MOORE SAYS "KILL WHITEY"

Compare also the treatment of Kilroy-Silk with that of Michael Moore, whose book, "Stupid White Men," contains a chapter titled "Kill Whitey", blaming white people for almost every earthly ill. The book has sold millions of copies in dozens of countries, without any outcry about offensive racial stereotyping by Kilroy-Silk's critics.

A GAY JESUS

Or the Catholic groups that complained about Terrence McNally's Broadway play "Corpus Christi" (in which a gay Jesus enjoys anal sex with Judas). Media commentators dismissed the Catholic groups as over-sensitive and told them to be more "progressive".

THE BRITISH PUBLIC HITS BACK IN DEFENSE OF KILROY-SILK

Even The Guardian, which has been at the forefront of attacks on Kilroy-Silk admitted in a news report today ("BBC hits back in Kilroy-Silk row," by Matt Wells, The Guardian, January 14, 2004) that "Opinion polls, phone-in programmes and newspapers yesterday reflected a wide feeling that the corporation had acted wrongly in taking the Kilroy programme off the air... The Daily Express yesterday claimed to have received 50,000 telephone calls, and thousands of letters and emails. The BBC said it had logged 7,000 calls to its viewer comment line, most in support of Kilroy-Silk."

SUMMARIES OF ARTICLES

I attach five articles, with summaries first:

1. "We are falling under the imam's spell" (By Mark Steyn, Daily Telegraph, January 13, 2004). "Let me see if I understand the BBC Rules of Engagement correctly: if you're Robert Kilroy-Silk and you make some robust statements about the Arab penchant for suicide bombing, amputations, repression of women and a generally celebratory attitude to September 11 – none of which is factually in dispute - the BBC will yank you off the air and the Commission for Racial Equality will file a complaint to the police which could result in your serving seven years in gaol. Message: this behaviour is unacceptable in multicultural Britain.

"But, if you're Tom Paulin and you incite murder, in a part of the world where folks need little incitement to murder, as part of a non-factual emotive rant, the BBC will keep you on the air, kibitzing (as the Zionists would say) with the crème de la crème of London's cultural arbiters each week. Message: this behaviour is completely acceptable.

"... Mr Paulin's style is only metaphorically knockabout. But, a few days after his remarks were published, some doughty Palestinian "activists" rose to his challenge and knocked about some settlers more literally, murdering among others five-year-old Danielle Shefi. In a touch of symbolism the critic in Mr Paulin might have found a wee bit obvious, they left her Mickey Mouse sheets soaked in blood.

"... But it's not really about Kilroy or Paulin or Jews, or the Saudis beheading men for (alleged) homosexuality, or the inability of the "moderate" Jordanian parliament to ban honour killing, or the fact that (as Jonathan Kay of Canada's National Post memorably put it) if Robert Mugabe walked into an Arab League summit he'd be the most democratically legitimate leader in the room. It's not about any of that: it's about the future of your "multicultural" society."

[The rest of this article, which you may well wish to read in full, is attached below.]

2. "We owe Arabs nothing," (By Robert Kilroy-Silk, Sunday Express, January 4, 2004). This is the original article, which sparked this controversy.

3. "Kilroy-Silk is right about the Middle East, say Arabs" (By Ibrahim Nawar, Sunday Telegraph, January 11, 2004). (Ibrahim Nawar, an Egyptian, is the Head of the Board of Management of Arab Press Freedom Watch, a non-profit organisation based in London that works to promote freedom of expression in the Arab world.)

"I fully support Robert Kilroy-Silk and salute him as an advocate of freedom of expression. I would like to voice my solidarity with him and with all those who face the censorship of such a basic human right. "I agree with much of what he says about Arab regimes. There is a very long history of oppression in the Arab world, particularly in the states he mentions: Iran, Iraq, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, as well as in Sudan and Tunisia... I would also agree with Mr Kilroy-Silk's comments on the oppression of women by totalitarian Arab states. Women in Saudi Arabia even have to struggle for the right to walk unaccompanied in the street or to drive a car."

4. "BBC chiefs accused of 'double standards' over TV presenter" (Sunday Telegraph, By Fiona Govan and Chris Hastings, January 11, 2004). "The BBC was accused last night of operating double standards over its suspension of Robert Kilroy-Silk for his comments about Arabs while it continues to use a contributor who has called for Israelis to be killed... Andrew Dismore, the Labour MP, said he found it hard to understand why the BBC had moved against Mr Kilroy-Silk but had not taken any action against Mr Paulin... Richard Shepherd, a Tory MP, said, "I think the reaction to the column brings into disrepute some major organisations: the BBC, the Commission for Racial Equality, which all felt the need to complain, and the Metropolitan Police, which feels the need to investigate."

... Ann Widdecombe, the former Conservative home office minister, said "I do agree with some of the points he made. It's quite reasonable for him to voice his opinions on the treatment of women and practices such as the severing of limbs. It is quite proper to speak out against such practices. I think that the BBC has crossed the line and engaged in active censorship."

5. "KILL-ROY!" (By Richard Littlejohn, The Sun, January 14, 2004). This is a parody on what a future "politically correct" BBC Kilroy-Silk program might resemble. Littlejohn is a leading columnist for the Sun, one of the two highest-circulation newspapers in Europe.

[Note that Mark Steyn, Richard Littlejohn and Trevor Asserson are all subscribers to this email list. My own article on Tom Paulin can be found at www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-gross111202.asp]

A DEBATE

Please note a debate on "The BBC's Role And Function" will take place in Jerusalem on February 9, 2004, at 8 PM, between Trevor Asserson, a London lawyer who produced 3 reports on the "biased reporting of the B.B.C." and Andrew Steele, the senior editor for Middle East News at the BBC's Jerusalem bureau. (Details at britisr@netvision.net.il)



FULL ARTICLES

WE ARE FALLING UNDER THE IMAM'S SPELL

We are falling under the imam's spell
By Mark Steyn
Daily Telegraph
January 13, 2004

Let me see if I understand the BBC Rules of Engagement correctly: if you're Robert Kilroy-Silk and you make some robust statements about the Arab penchant for suicide bombing, amputations, repression of women and a generally celebratory attitude to September 11 – none of which is factually in dispute – the BBC will yank you off the air and the Commission for Racial Equality will file a complaint to the police which could result in your serving seven years in gaol. Message: this behaviour is unacceptable in multicultural Britain.

But, if you're Tom Paulin and you incite murder, in a part of the world where folks need little incitement to murder, as part of a non-factual emotive rant about how "Brooklyn-born" Jewish settlers on the West Bank "should be shot dead" because "they are Nazis" and "I feel nothing but hatred for them", the BBC will keep you on the air, kibitzing (as the Zionists would say) with the crème de la crème of London's cultural arbiters each week. Message: this behaviour is completely acceptable.

So, while the BBC is "investigating" Kilroy, its only statement on Mr Paulin was an oblique but curiously worded allusion to the non-controversy on the Corporation website: "His polemical, knockabout style has ruffled feathers in the US, where the Jewish question is notoriously sensitive." "The Jewish question"? "Notoriously sensitive"? Is this really how they talk at the BBC?

Mr Paulin's style is only metaphorically knockabout. But, a few days after his remarks were published in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram, some doughty Palestinian "activists" rose to his challenge and knocked about some settlers more literally, murdering among others five-year-old Danielle Shefi. In a touch of symbolism the critic in Mr Paulin might have found a wee bit obvious, they left her Mickey Mouse sheets soaked in blood.

Evidently Kilroy's "polemical, knockabout style" is far more problematic. For what it's worth, I accept the BBC's right to axe his show. I haven't seen it in a decade and I thought they should have axed it then. I myself got fired by the BBC a while back and, although I had a couple of rough years sleeping in a rotting boxcar at the back of the freight yards, I crawled my way back to semi-insolvency. There's no doubt in my mind that, when the CRE, the BBC, the Metropolitan Police and the Muslim Council of Britain are through making an example of him, he'll still be able to find gainful employment, if not in TV then certainly in casual construction work or seasonal fruit-picking.

But it's not really about Kilroy or Paulin or Jews, or the Saudis beheading men for (alleged) homosexuality, or the inability of the "moderate" Jordanian parliament to ban honour killing, or the fact that (as Jonathan Kay of Canada's National Post memorably put it) if Robert Mugabe walked into an Arab League summit he'd be the most democratically legitimate leader in the room. It's not about any of that: it's about the future of your "multicultural" society.

One reason why the Arab world is in the state it's in is because one cannot raise certain subjects without it impacting severely on one's wellbeing. And if you can't discuss issues, they don't exist. According to Ibrahim Nawar of Arab Press Freedom Watch, in the last two years seven Saudi editors have been fired for criticising government policies. To fire a British talk-show host for criticising Saudi policies is surely over-reaching even for the notoriously super-sensitive Muslim lobby.

But apparently not. "What Robert could do," suggested the CRE's Trevor Phillips helpfully, "is issue a proper apology, not for the fact that people were offended, but for saying this stuff in the first place. Secondly he could learn something about Muslims and Arabs – they gave us maths and medicine – and thirdly he could use some of his vast earnings to support a Muslim charity. Then I would say he has been properly contrite."

Extravagant public contrition. Re-education camp. "Voluntary" surrender of assets. It's not unknown for officials at government agencies to lean on troublemaking citizens in this way, but not usually in functioning democracies.

When Catholic groups complain about things like Terrence McNally's Broadway play Corpus Christi (in which a gay Jesus enjoys anal sex with Judas), the arts crowd says a healthy society has to have "artists" with the "courage" to "explore" "transgressive" "ideas", etc. But, when Cincinnati Muslims complained about the local theatre's new play about a Palestinian suicide bomber, the production was immediately cancelled: the courageous transgressive arts guys folded like a Bedouin tent. The play was almost laughably pro-Palestinian, but that wasn't the point: the Muslim community leaders didn't care whether the play was pro- or anti-Islam: for them, Islam was beyond discussion. End of subject. And so it was.

Fifteen years ago, when the fatwa against Salman Rushdie was declared and both his defenders and detractors managed to miss what the business was really about, the Times's Clifford Longley nailed it very well. Surveying the threats from British Muslim groups, he wrote that certain Muslim beliefs "are not compatible with a plural society: Islam does not know how to exist as a minority culture. For it is not just a set of private individual principles and beliefs. Islam is a social creed above all, a radically different way of organising society as a whole."

Since then, societal organisation-wise, things seem to be going Islam's way swimmingly – literally in the case of the French municipal pool which bowed to Muslim requests to institute single-sex bathing, but also in more important ways. Thus, I see the French interior minister flew to Egypt to seek the blessing for his new religious legislation of the big-time imam at the al-Azhar theological institute. Rather odd, don't you think? After all, Egypt isn't in the French interior. But, if Egypt doesn't fall within the interior minister's jurisdiction, France apparently falls within the imam's.

And so, when free speech, artistic expression, feminism and other totems of western pluralism clash directly with the Islamic lobby, Islam more often than not wins – and all the noisy types who run around crying "Censorship!" if a Texas radio station refuses to play the Bush-bashing Dixie Chicks suddenly fall silent. I don't know about you, but this "multicultural Britain" business is beginning to feel like an interim phase.

 

WE OWE ARABS NOTHING

We owe Arabs nothing
By Robert Kilroy-Silk
(UK) Sunday Express
January 4, 2004

We are told by some of the more hysterical critics of the war on terror that "it is destroying the Arab world". So? Should we be worried about that? Shouldn't the destruction of the despotic, barbarous and corrupt Arab states and their replacement by democratic governments be a war aim? After all, the Arab countries are not exactly shining examples of civilisation, are they? Few of them make much contribution to the welfare of the rest of the world. Indeed, apart from oil – which was discovered, is produced and is paid for by the West - what do they contribute? Can you think of anything? Anything really useful? Anything really valuable? Something we really need, could not do without? No, nor can I. Indeed, the Arab countries put together export less than Finland.

We're told that the Arabs loathe us. Really? For liberating the Iraqis? For subsidising the lifestyles of people in Egypt and Jordan, to name but two, for giving them vast amounts of aid? For providing them w ith science, medicine, technology and all the other benefits of the West? They should go down on their knees and thank God for the munificence of the United States. What do they think we feel about them? That we adore them for the w ay they murdered more than 3,000 civilians on September 11 and then danced in the hot, dusty streets to celebrate the murders?

That we admire them for the cold-blooded killings in Mombasa, Yemen and elsewhere? That we admire them for being suicide bombers, limb-amputators, womenrepressors? I don't think the Arab states should start a debate about what is really loathsome.

But why, in any case, should we be concerned that they feel angry and loathe us? The Arab world has not exactly earned our respect, has it? Iran is a vile, terrorist-supporting regime – part of the axis of evil. So is the Saddam Hussein-supporting Syria. So is Libya. Indeed, most of them chant support for Saddam.

That is to say they support an evil dictator who has gassed hundreds of thousands of their fellow Arabs and tortured and murdered thousands more. How can they do this and expect our respect?

Why do they imagine that only they can feel anger, call people loathsome? It is the equivalent of all the European nations coming out in support of Hitler the moment he was attacked by the US, because he was European, despite the fact that he was attempting to exterminate the Jews – and Arabs.

Moreover, the people who claim we are loathsome are currently threatening our civilian populations with chemical and biological weapons. They are promising to let suicide bombers loose in Western and American cities. They are trying to terrorise us, disrupt our lives.

And then they expect us to be careful of their sensibilities? We have thousands of asylum seekers from Iran, Iraq, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries living happily in this country on social security.

This shows what their own people think of the Arab regimes, doesn't it? There is not one single British asylum seeker in any Arab country. That says it all about which country deserves the epithet loathsome. GEORGE GALLOWAY, the member of parliament for Baghdad Central, as his tormentors describe him, called the British and American troops "wolves" and called for the Arab countries to rise up and fight them and to cut off oil from the combatants. Later he called upon British troops to refuse to obey "illegal orders".He has, predictably, been vilified. His comments have been termed a disgrace, disgusting, outrageous and so on.

He has been called a loony, naive, gullible and a traitor. There have been demands that George's constituency party should deselect him, that his constituents should not vote for him at the next general election, and that he should be deported to Iraq. No one, as yet, has demanded that he be put in the stocks or burnt at the stake, though no doubt this will come.

But why all the fuss? Why is everyone getting into such an excitable lather over the predictable remarks of a no-mark?

Who with any sense cares an Iraqi dinar for what dear George thinks? Like Clare Short, George is a licensed court jester. He acts the buffoon while she's the straight part of the act, though she exaggerates her sanctimonious seriousness.

Neither are taken seriously. Both are totally discredited laughing stocks that add to the variety of political life. At least George is open, honest and sincere.

 

KILROY-SILK IS RIGHT ABOUT THE MIDDLE EAST, SAY ARABS

Kilroy-Silk is right about the Middle East, say Arabs
By Ibrahim Nawar
Sunday Telegraph
January 11, 2004

Ibrahim Nawar, an Egyptian, is the Head of the Board of Management of Arab Press Freedom Watch, a non-profit organisation based in London that works to promote freedom of expression in the Arab world.

"I fully support Robert Kilroy-Silk and salute him as an advocate of freedom of expression. I would like to voice my solidarity with him and with all those who face the censorship of such a basic human right.

"I agree with much of what he says about Arab regimes. There is a very long history of oppression in the Arab world, particularly in the states he mentions: Iran, Iraq, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, as well as in Sudan and Tunisia.

"These regimes are not based on democracy and their legitimacy comes from military dicatorships or inherited systems. The basic right of an individual to voice his or her opinion is not granted in any kind of form in the Arab world.

"In Saudi Arabia, for instance, there have been seven Saudi editors sacked from their jobs for criticising the regime since March 2002. In Algeria, we are currently fighting 70 defamation cases against journalists who spoke out against the state.

"I would also agree with Mr Kilroy-Silk's comments on the oppression of women by totalitarian Arab states. Women in Saudi Arabia even have to struggle for the right to walk unaccompanied in the street or to drive a car.

"It is worth remembering, however, that there are individual Arabs who do work hard to defend human rights and one cannot make a blanket generalisation about Arab people. We support Mr Kilroy-Silk's comments specifically in reference to Arab regimes because we are against the oppressive policies supported by rulers in the Arab world.

"I condemn the decision to axe his programme and call for the BBC to reinstate him forthwith. Indeed, the treatment of Mr Kilroy-Silk is very worrying because it indicates that censorship is now taking place in liberal, Western countries like the United Kingdom. These countries should instead be setting an example to the oppressive Arab regimes that violate freedom of expression on a daily basis."

 

BBC CHIEFS ACCUSED OF "DOUBLE STANDARDS" OVER TV PRESENTER

BBC chiefs accused of 'double standards' over TV presenter
Sunday Telegraph
By Fiona Govan and Chris Hastings
January 11, 2004

The BBC was accused last night of operating double standards over its suspension of Robert Kilroy-Silk for his comments about Arabs while it continues to use a contributor who has called for Israelis to be killed.

Tom Paulin, the poet and Oxford don, has continued to be a regular contributor to BBC2's Newsnight Review arts programme, despite being quoted in an Egyptian newspaper as saying that Jews living in the Israeli-occupied territories were "Nazis" who should be "shot dead".

Andrew Dismore, the Labour MP, said he found it hard to understand why the BBC had moved against Mr Kilroy-Silk but had not taken any action against Mr Paulin.

"I am not defending anything Mr Kilroy-Silk has said, but I was greatly upset by what Mr Paulin said, and I think the rules should apply to people equally," said Mr Dismore. "Mr Paulin said awful things about Israel and Jewish people. He should have been kept off BBC screens while his own comments were investigated. I was surprised that that did not happen. It smacks of double standards on the part of the BBC."

Mr Paulin made his comments in the Egyptian weekly newspaper Al-Ahram almost two years ago, saying that US-born settlers in the occupied territories should be shot dead. "I think they are Nazis, racists. I feel nothing but hatred for them," he said, adding: "I never believed that Israel had the right to exist at all."

Within days of the article appearing, a number of academic institutions, including Harvard, cancelled planned readings by the poet. The BBC, however, did not seek to remove him from Newsnight Review. Mr Paulin subsequently denied accusations of anti-Semitism.

By contrast, Mr Kilroy-Silk, a former Labour MP, was suspended by the BBC on Friday, five days after he wrote an article in the Sunday Express. He described Arabs as "suicide bombers, limb amputators and women repressors", and said they contributed nothing useful to the world – comments that outraged race campaigners and some Muslims and for which he later apologised.

The corporation said it was suspending his BBC1 weekday morning chat show, Kilroy, until it had "investigated the matter fully".

A number of MPs criticised the decisions yesterday, accusing the BBC of censorship. Richard Shepherd, a Tory MP who has been a friend of Mr Kilroy-Silk since their student days at the London School of Economics, urged the BBC to draw a line under the affair now that broadcaster had publicly apologised.

"Robert is a decent and honourable person with a passionate belief in the values of free speech," said Mr Shepherd. "He's also a polemicist and he raises issues that matter to him and are well within our national concept of freedom of expression.

"It is important to remember that we are a free society because we have free speech. What is happening to Britain? There was a time when things like this would be shrugged off. I think the reaction to the column brings into disrepute some major organisations: the BBC, the Commission for Racial Equality, which all felt the need to complain, and the Metropolitan Police, which feels the need to investigate."

Ann Widdecombe, the former Conservative home office minister, said Mr Kilroy-Silk had been unfortunate in his use of language, but she insisted that the BBC had no right to censor free speech.

"There is no doubt that some of his phraseology is over the top. You cannot say we owe the Arabs nothing. We owe them a great deal in terms of our prosperity," she said.

"But I do agree with some of the other points he made. It's quite reasonable for him to voice his opinions on the treatment of women and practices such as the severing of limbs. It is quite proper to speak out against such practices. I think that the BBC has crossed the line and engaged in active censorship.

"The key point to remember is that he did not make these comments on a BBC programme and that we have a law in this country that can deal with comments likely to stir up racial hatred. This is not an issue for the BBC."

Gerald Kaufman, the Labour chairman of the Commons culture, media and sport committee, said that while he could not support the comments made by Mr Kilroy-Silk, he felt that the ex-MP was being made a scapegoat by a BBC desperate to prove its piety.

He said: "The BBC has been found lacking again in the way it approaches its responsibilities as a public service broadcaster. The action taken has less to do with the column itself and more to do with the fallout from the Hutton inquiry. They are in a rush to demonstrate their own piety. They should have made it clear to people long ago that they can be BBC personalities or journalists - but not both."

Others, however, refused to support the ex-MP. Robert Marshall-Andrews, the Labour MP, said: "I think it is the most loathsome and illiterate article I have ever read in a British newspaper. The only conceivable purpose is to create ignorance and prejudice. I, and people in my section of the Labour Party, hope that Tony Blair will realise that we must not accept any more support from Richard Desmond, the proprietor of the Express. It may well be bordering on criminality."

A BBC official said the corporation was examining Mr Kilroy-Silk's case on its own merits and did not want to be drawn into making comparisons with Mr Paulin. She admitted that it was unclear whether the broadcaster's column in the Sunday Express had been subjected to regular BBC vetting. "That is why we are having an investigation," she said.

 

KILL-ROY!

kill-Roy!
By Richard Littlejohn
The Sun
January 14, 2004

The BBC has agreed to reinstate Robert Kilroy-Silk after suspending him for describing Arabs as "suicide bombers, limb amputators and women repressors".

But he has had to agree to new producer guidelines designed to prevent him causing offence to anyone. This column sat in on his comeback show.

KILROY: Good morning, everybody. Welcome to the show. Today we're talking about freedom of speech. My first guest this morning has had a tragic life.

He lost an eye and both hands while on missionary work in Afghanistan and has had to subsist on benefits ever since. Please welcome, from the Finsbury Park mosque, Captain Hook.

(Loud applause).

KILROY: I know this is difficult for you, so take your time. What would you like to say to us?

HOOK: Death to the infidel! Death to the Jews! Death to America! Death to the West!

(Even louder applause.)

KILROY: You're clearly very upset and that's understandable. I know what you must be going through. Did I mention I'm part Irish?

(AUDIENCE: Death to the infidel! Death to the Jews! Death to America! Death to the West!)

KILROY: I feel your pain, I really do. I'll come back to you later in the show. My next guest is from al-Muhajiroun. What would you like to say to the viewers, sir?

AL-MUH: September 11 2001 was a towering day in history – a mighty blow against the Great Satan. It is the duty of the faithful to rise up and join the jihad.

(Riotous cheering).

KILROY: I can tell emotions are running very high on this issue.

AL-MUH: The oppressor must be destroyed. The Jews must be driven into the sea!

(Audience goes berserk).

KILROY: Well, you're certainly entitled to your point of view. I'm sure many, many of the people watching will be able to relate to what you are saying.

AL-MUH: Can I just mention that we're holding a recruiting drive in Tipton on Tuesday?

KILROY: Of course you can. I'm from Birmingham, by the way. (Turns to camera). And don't forget, if you're watching at home, if you'd like to make a donation to Hezbollah In Need just ring the number at the bottom of your screen. Our operators are standing by.

(AUDIENCE: Death to Israel!)

KILROY: Let's welcome our next guest. It's a pleasure and a privilege to have on Kilroy, a leading QC, a champion of human rights, wife of the Prime Minister, the Wicked Witch herself, Cherie Booth QC.

(Polite hissing from audience)

KILROY: Cherie, thanks for coming in. I used to be an MP, too, you know.

Like me, you've got a bit of a reputation for being outspoken on the subject of human rights, haven't you?

WW: Yes, Robert, I have.

KILROY: And I think, also like me, you got yourself in a bit of hot water over something you said to the Saudi ambassador.

WW: All I said, Robert, was that Saudi Arabia had a pretty appalling image in the eyes of the world because of the disgraceful way they treat women.

KILROY: What, exactly, did you mean by that?

WW: Well, for instance, they won't let women drive, deny them the vote, deny them property rights. Women in the Arab world are second-class citizens.

KILROY: Steady on, Cherie. That's a bit harsh. I can fully understand why our audience might easily take exception. I'm surprised an intelligent women like you would rush to judgment without knowing all the facts.

(AUDIENCE: Death to the Wicked Witch!)

WW: What I actually meant to say...

KILROY: That's enough. I won't have such vile, offensive language on this show.

HOOK: I object to appearing alongside infidels and half- naked harlots. This is a deliberate insult to Islam.

KILROY: No offence, Captain. But we do live in a tolerant, multi- racial, multicultural society.

HOOK: Not where I come from, we don't.

KILROY: What, Finsbury Park?

HOOK: Infidel dog! (spits on studio floor).

KILROY: My next guest is a young man, Ali, from Salford. He's just volunteered to go to work in Jerusalem as a suicide bomber. That's an interesting career choice.

ALI: I've always wanted to travel and kill Jews.

(AUDIENCE: Death to Israel! Death to The West!)

KILROY: Good for you, Ali. So many young people are prepared to sit around on their backsides these days. Not like when I was a young, working class lad in the West Midlands, before I became a famous TV personality and newspaper columnist.

AL-MUH: We have thousands of martyrs like Ali waiting to bring death to the unbelievers.

(AUDIENCE: Kill, Kill, Kill!)

KILROY: And they say modern youngsters are only interested in sex, drugs and mobile phones. That's about all we've got time for. I'd like to thank all my guests, Captain Hook – good luck with the deportation appeal; al-Muhajiroun – hope the jihad goes well; Ali – come back and see us when you, er, perhaps not.

(Sound of sirens. Enter boys in blue.)

PLOD: You thought you'd got away with it, chummy, didn't you? Robert Kilroy-Silk, I am arresting you for possession of an offensive suntan. Now stand still while the sergeant chops your arm off.

KILROY: See you in the morning.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.