BBC Under Fire for Giving Radical Cleric Airtime After Woolwich Attack

BBC Under Fire for Giving Radical Cleric Airtime After Woolwich Attack

Two U.K. politicians have called out the BBC for interviewing an Islamic cleric who refuses to condemn Wednesday’s grisly terror attack where two men beheaded a British soldier.

The Guardian is reporting that Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi and shadow defense secretary Jim Murphy are speaking critically of the airtime the BBC and Channel 4 have given radical cleric Anjem Choudary in the wake of the Woolwich attack.

Choudary, “who has been an outspoken critic of British military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan,” knew Woolwich attacker Michael Adebolajo when he converted from Christianity to Islam in 2003. Choudary allegedly impacted Adebolajo’s ideology and reported that Adebolajo changed his name to “Mujahid” upon converting.

To date, Choudary has “refused to condemn the [Woolwich] killing.”

Warsi believes Choudary and his anti-British military ideology have received too much airtime. Speaking on May 23, she said, “We all have a responsibility, including the media, not to give airtime to extremist voices–idiots and nutters who speak for no one but themselves.”

Murphy pointedly criticized the BBC’s decision to give Choudary airtime by tweeting, “Banned by France but welcome on Newsnight. A mistake of the BBC to invite Choudary on the telly tonight.”

The BBC has defended its decision to have Choudary on air. Channel 4 is refusing comment. 


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