UKIP can­di­date in ‘shut mosques’ Twit­ter row

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

AFORMER UKIP elec­tion can­di­date caused fury on­line in the wake of the Paris terror at­tacks.

Adrian Howard, who stood for UKIP in Mac­cles­field in May, sparked con­tro­versy on Twit­ter af­ter he sug­gested ‘all mosques’ be closed as a so­lu­tion to the is­sue of ter­ror­ism.

His re­mark came dur­ing an on­line row with ra­dio pre­sen­ter and com­men­ta­tor Jon Gaunt on Novem­ber 14, the day af­ter dozens were killed in a se­ries of Is­lamic State (Isis) linked at­tacks on the French cap­i­tal.

Mr Gaunt had urged his Twit­ter fol­low­ers: “Con­demn ex­trem­ist sav­ages and de­clare war on them NOT all Mus­lims. Don’t fall into ter­ror­ist trap of di­vide and rule.”

But Mr Howard, who lives in Mac­cles­field, ac­cused Mr Gaunt of us­ing ‘apol­o­gist lan­guage’ and when asked for his ‘so­lu­tion’ to at­tacks on the West said: “Close down all Mosques, Madrasas, ban the Hi­jab, Burka & all re­li­gious dis­plays in pub­lic”, adding: “Peo­ple dy­ing due to this alien re­li­gion”.

UKIP has since promised to in­ves­ti­gate the re­marks made by Mr Howard, who se­cured more than 6,000 votes at the gen­eral elec­tion.

But Mr Howard told the Ex­press he would ac­cept be­ing booted out of UKIP for stand­ing by his be­liefs.

He said: “I ab­hor racism and I am not a bigot.

“I stated dur­ing the twit­ter ex­change that if I were to be booted from UKIP for stat­ing what I be­lieve to be the truth then so be it.

“There comes a time when peo­ple have to speak out no mat­ter the con­se­quences. The next pile of bod­ies could well be on our streets and the con­stant apol­o­gis­ing gets us nowhere.

“Free­dom of re­li­gion and wor­ship should be seen as a priv­i­lege, but a priv­i­lege that if abused can be taken away or at the very least lim­ited.”

On Mon­day coun­cil­lors and staff at Cheshire East Coun­cil raised the French flag and held a min­utes’ si­lence as a mark of re­spect for the vic­tims of the Paris at­tack.

The flag cer­e­mony at the author­ity’s West­fields HQ co­in­cided with a time of re­flec­tion at Mac­cles­field Town Hall.

Coun­cil leader Michael Jones said: “Mem­bers and of­fi­cers stand to­gether with their French broth­ers and sis­ters at this time of great sad­ness and mourn­ing.”

●● Adrian Howard

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