UK Muslims call for sacking of Telegraph editor

Britain’s largest Muslim group called yesterday for the sacking of the Sunday Telegraph newspaper’s editor over a series of articles attacking “the black heart of Islam”.

The author of four opinion pieces in the traditionally conservative newspaper described Islam as a “supranationalist army and state” and compared Muslims to dogs.

A media hunt for the author, who penned his views under a pseudonym, led to the communications office in London of the British Council, a state-funded body that aims to promote British culture abroad.

The British Council said yesterday it had sacked the author of the articles, Harry Cummins. The MCB, an umbrella body for over 400 Muslim groups, called for the Telegraph Group to follow suit by sacking editor Dominic Lawson.

“We are dismayed that the Telegraph Group have yet to take any action against the editor of the Sunday Telegraph,” said the MCB’s Abdul Bari in a statement.

One article said Britain feared Islam. “It is the black heart of Islam, not its black face, to which millions object,” Cummins wrote.

The articles, which the Telegraph published alongside other opinion pieces offering a more complimentary view of Britain’s 2 million Muslims, triggered scores of complaints.

British Muslims have reported increasing hostility and discrimination after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. Anti-terror raids on Muslim homes in Britain regularly make the headlines.

“We are quite certain that had Mr. Cummins written in the same sustained and repugnant terms about another minority, say the Jewish community, the Sunday Telegraph editor would have been dismissed from his position by now,” Bari said.

No comment was immediately available from the newspaper.

In January, politician and talk show host Robert Kilroy-Silk, caused outrage with an article in another paper that called Arabs “limb amputators”. Fallout from the piece forced him to quit his popular TV show.

The MCB said the Sunday Telegraph’s articles were clearly devised to provoke hatred of British Muslims. “This case demonstrates worryingly how Islamophobia is fast becoming a respectable vice in certain sections of the media,” said Bari.

Reuters, 2 September 2004

See also “MCB welcomes British Council decision, calls on Telegraph Group to follow suit”, MCB press release, 1 September 2004

Robert Spencer is outraged: “what did Will Cummins say that was actually false? Does Osama bin Laden not have a black heart? Does he not cloak all his actions in the mantle of Islamic doctrines and Qur’an quotations? And are not his views shared by millions…?”

Dhimmi Watch, 2 September 2004