Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 14 December 2019

UK government adviser sacked over Islamophobia comments

Roger Scruton was under scrutiny over his comments on Islam, anti-Semitism and financier George Soros

British Muslim women and children demonstrate against Islamophobia. Getty
British Muslim women and children demonstrate against Islamophobia. Getty

Right-wing philosopher Roger Scruton has been sacked as a British government adviser after a string of controversial comments including denying that Islamophobia was a real problem.

Prof Scruton has been dismissed with “immediate effect” for his “unacceptable comments”, a government spokesman said.

In an interview for British magazine, the New Statesman, Mr Scruton was quoted as saying that that “Islamophobia” was a “nonsense” propaganda word “invented by the Muslim Brotherhood in order to stop discussion of a major issue”.

He was also critical of financier George Soros who has become the target of a Hungarian government attacks on his foundations that have funded pro-migrant groups.

The right-wing government has taken a hard-line stance against migrants, building border fences and introducing laws to restrict Muslim migrants into the country.

The government has portrayed Mr Soros, who is Jewish, as a puppet master in a series of campaigns that critics have said are anti-Semitic.

Mr Scruton said: “Anybody who doesn’t think that there’s a Soros empire in Hungary has not observed the facts.”

He added said it was “nonsense” to accuse Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán of anti-Semitism.

“The Hungarians were extremely alarmed by the sudden invasion of huge tribes of Muslims from the Middle East,” he added.

A spokesperson for Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the British opposition Labour Party, said on Wednesday: “Anybody in a public position who makes those kinds of remarks should not be in that position.”

The sacking followed previous calls for the removal of Mr Soros from the unpaid chairmanship of a housing advisory group. He had held the position since November last year.

The opposition Labour party said that previous comments were “hateful” on subjects including homosexuality and Islam.

Updated: April 11, 2019 03:32 PM

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