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September 01, 2004

British Council sacks ‘Islamophobic’ press officer

British Muslims Wednesday praised the decision by the British Council to sack its press officer for writing a series of Islamophobic articles for the Sunday Telegraph under a pseudo name but questioned why similar action had not been taken against the newspaper’s editor, according to the information received by The Muslim News exclusively.

The Muslim Council of Britain said it “welcomes today’s decision by the British Council to terminate the employment of Mr Harry Cummins, following the results of their internal investigation which found that he was the true author.” It said it “always insisted that there is a world of difference between simply criticising a faith and actually inciting hatred of its followers” and that Cummins had “clearly crossed the line.” His comments were “clearly designed to provoke readers of the Sunday Telegraph into hating British Muslims and their faith,” the MCB said.

In four separate articles for the Sunday Telegraph in July, Cummins hurled such abuse as “all Muslims, like dogs, share characteristics.” He described Islam as having a “black heart” and that Christians are the “original inhabitants and rightful owners of almost every Muslim land and behave with a humility quite unlike the menacing behaviour we have come to expect from the Muslims who have forced themselves on Christendom, a bullying ingratitude that culminates in a terrorist threat to their unconsulted hosts."

“We commend the British Council for initiating their investigation as soon as it was alleged that one of their own employees was the author of these rabidly anti-Muslim pieces,” Dr Abdul Bari, Deputy Secretary General of the MCB, told The Muslim News. “They have acted swiftly and honourably to distance themselves from the poisonous hatred espoused by Mr Cummins,” he said.

But the MCB contrasted the behaviour of the British Council, which acts as the cultural arm of the Foreign Office, with the Sunday Telegraph. “We are, however, dismayed that the Telegraph Group have yet to take any action against Dominic Lawson, the editor of the Sunday Telegraph,” Dr. Bari said. “We are quite certain that had Mr Cummins written in the same sustained and hateful terms about another minority, say the Jewish community, Mr Lawson would have been dismissed from his position by now,” he said. The MCB said the case “demonstrates worryingly how Islamophobia is fast becoming a respectable vice in certain sections of the media.”

For further information contact us on 020 7608 2822 or 077 68 241 325. Please acknowledge The Muslim News when using the press release

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