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Kelvin MacKenzie stands by hijab comments blaming the ‘Twerperati’ for Ipso complaints

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By John McCarthy | Media editor

July 22, 2016 | 3 min read

Former Sun editor and current columnist, Kelvin MacKenzie says he is standing by comments he made in the paper around Fatima Manji presenting Channel 4 News’ coverage during the Nice attacks while wearing a hijab - which he argued was insensitive to viewers as the attacker was reportedly also a Muslim.

His column date sparked 1700 complaints to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) – including one from Manji herself and another from ITN chief John Hardie.

Manji also responded in the Liverpool Echo days later accusing him of trying to "intimidate Muslims out of public life" with his column, which was titled: 'Why did Channel 4 have a presenter in a hijab fronting coverage of Muslim terror in Nice?'.

MacKenzie Manji

Fatima Manji and Kelvin MacKenzie

MacKenzie was critical of the backlash in The Sun on Friday (22 July), stating that the "Twerperati got involved and it became a national debate". He said he made a "reasonable inquiry" before broadening the debate asking: "Should presenters be allowed to wear artifacts that advertise their religion?"

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"If, for instance, one of the regular presenters was a Christian… would they be allowed to wear a huge cross outside of their shirt or blouse to the same prominence as a hijab?"

He concluded: "Instead of accusing me of Islamaphobia (yawn! yawn!) Channel 4 might like to try finding a Muslim presenter to front a documentary about Islam’s attitudes towards the gay community, or perhaps on how women are treated as second-class citizens in Muslim countries."

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