UKIP candidate in ‘shut mosques’ Twitter row
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