Hackney UKIP candidate apologises after retweeting offensive 'Prophet Mohammed' cartoon
PUBLISHED: 12:15 24 April 2015 | UPDATED: 16:57 24 April 2015
Keith Fraser, the UKIP prospective parliamentary candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington has apologised after retweeting an Islamophobic cartoon which looks similar to Charlie Hebdo's depictions of the Prophet.
Mr Fraser retweeted the image of a Muslim man wearing a white turban being impaled by a crusader’s lance above the message “Happy St George’s Day, infidels!” yesterday morning.
After he was asked if he thought this was appropriate, Mr Fraser deleted the retweet and explained: “it was in error as [I] didn’t see [the] whole cartoon. It has been removed. No offence intended at all”.
Fiyaz Mughal, founder and director of Faith Matters, said: “The cartoon is meant to stir up thoughts of ‘them and us’ and uses a drawing that is akin to harking back to Crusader-type imagery. The person being impaled is what some bigots caricature Mohammed as, though given the beard and the turban, the suggestion is that Muslims are infidels. It is a humiliating cartoon that promotes division and bigotry and we would suggest that the UKIP candidate apologise for being irresponsible and inflammatory.”
The UKIP candidate said that he had been using Twitter on his phone and hadn’t seen the man impaled on the lance, just the St George’s cross and the caption, which he thought was playfully referring to British people as ‘infidels’: “I thought it was taking the mickey out of us for celebrating St George’s Day”.
He said that he had shared the image “completely in ignorance” of the anti-Islamic connotations and that he “would never be rude about something like that”.
Earlier this week, Mr Fraser was tweeted an image of a campaign leaflet where his picture was defaced to look like Hitler. Mr Fraser, who is Jewish, said that the tweet was reportable to the police.
The St George’s Day image was originally shared by a Twitter account called @StupidHumansUSA, which tweets satirical pictures about religion.
On his official campaign website, Mr Fraser describes Hackney as “extremely ethnically diverse,” and praises “the incredible array of cultures living in this exciting locality.” He went on to say that “growing levels of racism and anti-Semitism” are “issues that need tackling with gusto”.
He also published a blog post entitled “Time to genuinely support London and Hackney’s ethnic minorities,” where he spoke about visiting members of Dalston’s Turkish and Kurdish communities.
UKIP has been contacted for a comment.