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Robert Kilroy-Silk

Robert Kilroy-Silk is a former Labour Party member of Parliament in the United Kingdom, best known as the presenter of his daytime television confessional talk show, Kilroy.

He was educated at the London School of Economics and then became a university lecturer.

He was MP for Ormskirk from 1974 and later for Knowsley North. He was appointed Shadow Home Affairs spokesman, but resigned in 1985. His show started in 1986.

In addition to his television programme, he wrote a column in the Sunday Express newspaper.

In 2004 the program was suspended by the BBC after Kilroy wrote an article published in the Sunday Express, about Arabs, which was strongly condemned by the Muslim Council of Britain and the Commission for Racial Equality.

An Arab columnist for The Guardian, wants Kilroy-Silk prosecuted for "incitement to racial hatred". In an article entitled Islamophobia should be as unacceptable as racism (Monday January 12, 2004) [1] Faisal Bodi attacked Kilroy-Silk for his criticism of the Islamic death sentence on Salman Rushdie:

During the Salman Rushdie affair in 1989, he [Kilroy-Silk] wrote that if Britain's "resident ayatollahs" could not "accept British values and laws then there is no reason at all why the British should feel any need, still less compulsion, to accommodate theirs". Buoyed by the support of liberals in a debate that was wrongly characterised as free speech versus censorship he went much further. "Muslims everywhere behave with equal savagery. They behead criminals, stone to death female - only female - adulteresses, throw acid in the faces of women who refuse to wear the chador, mutilate the genitals of young girls and ritually abuse animals," he wrote for the Daily Express in 1995.

The affair could have larger ramifications such as Sunday Express owner, Richard Desmond's chances of aquiring The Daily Telegraph. Trevor Phillips, the head of the Commission for Racial Equality said that the affair could have a "hugely unhelpful" effect. A new "public interest test" is to be applied before a media magnate is permited to buy another paper.

Labour MP Andrew Dismore wonders why the BBC has disciplined Kilroy-Silk but had not moved against Tom Paulin, the poet and Oxford professor and poet Tom Paulin.

Ibrahim Nawar, the head of Arab Press Freedom Watch came out in support of Kilroy-Silk in a Daily Telegraph article[1]

I fully support Robert Kilroy-Silk and salute him as an advocate of freedom of expression. I would like to voice my solidarity with him and with all those who face the censorship of such a basic human right.“I agree with much of what he says about Arab regimes. There is a very long history of oppression in the Arab world, particularly in the states he mentions: Iran, Iraq, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, as well as in Sudan and Tunisia. ...

"I would also agree with Mr Kilroy-Silk’s comments on the oppression of women by totalitarian Arab states. Women in Saudi Arabia even have to struggle for the right to walk unaccompanied in the street or to drive a car."

According to the Daily Express, 50,000 people have responded in a telephone poll supporting Kilroy-Silk’s reinstatement.