UK Jews and Muslims complain to BBC over reference to Holocaust in online article

The BBC has removed a line from an online story on its news website which had caused offence to both Muslims and Jews.

On Wednesday, the Board of Deputies issued a joint statement together with Fiyaz Mughal, founder of Tell MAMA, calling on the national broadcaster to urgently edit the article, which said that the Holocaust was a “sensitive topic” for many Muslims because survivors settled in Palestine.

The story concerned a group of Muslim schoolgirls from Germany who were racially abused while on a school trip to Holocaust memorials in eastern Poland. One girl said a man spat at her in the street, while another said she was thrown out of a shop for speaking Persian.

They told German radio that one of their group was threatened with a knife while on the tour, which was designed to teach students about Germany’s Jewish past. The school group visited camps at Majdanek and Treblinka, as well as the cities of Warsaw and Lodz, which had large Jewish populations before the Second World War.

But when first posted, the original version of the story included a line which stated: “The Holocaust is a sensitive topic for many Muslims because Jewish survivors settled in British-mandate Palestine, on land which later became the state of Israel.”

The line was removed after the complaint was sent to the BBC.

Marie van der Zyl, vice-president of the BOD, together with Mughal, said: “In a story about Muslim schoolgirls suffering racism as they learn about the Holocaust, why have the BBC included the gratuitous line – offensive to both Muslims and Jews – that ‘the Holocaust is a sensitive topic for many Muslims’? Together, we call on the BBC to delete the offending passage and apologise.”


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