BBC host apologises for hosting Tory debate Imam as disturbing tweets emerge
An Imam who grilled Boris Johnson on TV has been suspended from his job at a school after “disturbing tweets” emerged in the man’s name.
Abdullah Patel held Tory leadership contenders to account over Islamophobia in a BBC debate last night – demanding they agree words have consenquences.
Shortly after the debate, a Twitter account claiming to be Mr Patel branded their responses “disappointing” and “deluded”.
But that account has now been deleted – and Mr Patel suspended from his job – after past anti-Semitic comments were discovered by the Twitter user.
One widely-circulated screenshot shows the account, @AbdullahPatel94, saying: “How long are the Zionists going to hide behind the Holocaust cry?
“It was a tragedy, but Gaza today is a repeat of the oppression.”
Another comment posted from the account claimed: “Every political figure on the Zionist’s payroll is scaring the world about Corbyn.
“They don’t like him. He seems best suited to tackle them!”
The Mirror has been unable to independently verify the tweets because the account has been deleted.
The Chair of the school trust where Mr Patel is named as a deputy head announced on Wednesday that they have suspended him following media reports.
Mr Yakub Patel wrote in a statement on Al-Ashraf Primary School website: “Following some of the comments attributed to Mr Patel in the media this morning, the Trust has decided to suspend him from all school duties with immediate effect until a full investigation is carried out.
“The ‘school’ and ‘Trust’ do not share the views attributed to him.”
The BBC today insisted it vetted the members of the public asking questions during last night’s debate.
But a spokeswoman said “one individual” had “reactivated” an account that was dormant at the time of the vetting.
And 5Live host Nicky Campbell said sorry to his audience for hosting the Imam again on his show today.
Mr Campbell said: “I would like to apologise.”
Taking to Twitter, he added: “We had the Imam from the BBC Tory leadership debate on our programme this morning.
“His social media comments have been extremely disturbing.”
He added: “We should have checked. We didn’t. I’m sorry.”
The Imam probed the Tory leadership contenders about Islamophobia during the television debate.
Mr Patel asked the five candidates whether they believed words had consequences and said he had seen first-hand the impact of Islamophobic rhetoric on his community.
Boris Johnson said he was “sorry for the offence” his comments about veiled Muslim women looking like “letterboxes” and “bank robbers” had caused, while Michael Gove condemned Islamophobia as “repugnant” and attacked Jeremy Corbyn for comments he claimed were “disgusting” and anti-Semitic.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid urged all the candidates to commit to an external investigation into the issue within the Tory party, and his rivals nodded in agreement.
A BBC spokeswoman said today: “We carried out background research into the online and social media profiles of all our questioners for last night’s debate.
“Following the debate, one individual reactivated a public twitter account he had previously deactivated, whose tweets were not visible during our research period.
“Had we been aware of the views he expressed there he would not have been selected.”
Rob Burley, who edited the programme, said: “It was AFTER the show that Mr Patel reactivated his account revealing his tweets.
“We wouldn’t have put him on the programme if these were public before broadcast, but they were not. We also carried out a number of other routine checks which didn’t uncover anything untoward.”