Just when I started to think that the BBC might have the balls to stand up to Islam, it transpires that the corporation is set to pay the Muslim Council Of Britain a whopping £30,000. Why? Because on Question Time, Former Daily Telegraph editor, Charles Moore, ‘slurred’ the Council.
And what was the terrible thing Moore said, precisely?
Answer: he stated that the MCB has failed to condemn attacks on soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Moore’s remarks came during a debate about the Islamic protests which recently ruined a soldiers’ homecoming parade in Luton. The MCB then threatened the BBC with legal action.
Mr Moore blamed the MCB’s leadership for its apparent reluctance to condemn the killing and kidnapping of British soldiers overseas. He went on to claim that the MCB thought it was a ‘good thing’ to kill troops.
When the MCB first threatened to pursue legal action, the BBC offered to make a public apology on the Question Time website. The MCB rejected this and is now demanding a live apology on air.
A BBC source said the move has angered Mr Moore, who was not consulted over the legal response to the complaint or even informed that an offer to settle had been made.
Question Time is recorded an hour before it is actually shown, precisely so that lawyers can check the content for possible problems. None of the legal advisors raised flags over Mr Moore’s comments.
Charles Moore said: ‘The Muslim Council of Britain, which is the umbrella organisation for all Muslim groups in this country, I’ve gone to them many times, and I said will you condemn the killing and kidnapping of British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they won’t.
‘But there is a bigger, another step that they take, they say it is actually a good thing, even an Islamic thing, to kill or kidnap British soldiers.’
The MCB rejected Mr Moore’s claims as a ‘total lie’. It then instructed libel lawyers Carter-Ruck, who wrote a formal letter of complaint.
The MCB is also involved in a separate row with M.P. Hazel Blears. This one is between MCB deputy secretary general Dr Daud Abdullah and Miss Blears, and centres on a document relating to the recent conflict in Gaza which was signed by Dr Abdullah.
In March, Miss Blears interpreted the document as justifying attacks on the Royal Navy and wrote to The Guardian to explain her concerns.
A solicitor’s letter was sent on behalf of Dr Daud Abdullah demanding she pay £75,000 by last month or face full legal proceedings. But she refused to do so and no further correspondence has been received.