BBC Reporter Compared Hate Preacher Anjem Choudary To Gandhi And Mandela

From the Daily Mail:
The BBC is under fire after the Home Affairs Editor appeared to compare notorious hate preacher Anjem Choudary to Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.

Following a lengthy report on last night's BBC News at Ten about Choudary's 'radicalising force', Mark Easton appeared to question whether there were similarities between Britain's most famous extremist and two of history's greatest civil rights campaigners.

Referring to Theresa May's pledge to clamp down on extremism, the journalist said Gandhi and Mandela had been seen as extremists and that those stances 'are sometimes needed to challenge very establish values'.

But outraged viewers slammed the comparison as 'disgusting' while campaigners said the 'ludicrous' comments gave credence to Choudary's 'complete rejection' of democracy and tolerance.

Speaking after a 'special report' which gave further airtime to Choudary and his radical views, Mr Easton said: 'It's one thing to ban someone for inciting hatred or violence, but quite another to pass a law that silences anyone who challenges established values.

'I was in Parliament Square today - a statue of Gandhi looking down at me who was jailed for being extremist; Mandela who was jailed for being an extremist.

'History tells us that extreme views are sometimes needed to challenge very established values that people at the time hold so dear.'

MP Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs select committee in the last parliament, said: ‘It is outrageous to make any comparison between Gandhi, Mandela and Anjem Choudary.’

r Vaz said that while Gandhi and Mandela campaigned for civil rights, Choudary and his followers were ‘seeking to destroy the basic values of our community’.

Tory MP Michael Ellis, a fellow member of the last home affairs select committee, added: ‘The BBC seems obsessed with giving as much airtime as possible to hate preachers. To make a comparison between historic figures who campaigned for peaceful change and a hate preacher like Choudary is appalling, offensive and inflammatory.’

Even Choudary himself rejected the BBC’s comparisons last night. He said: ‘The comparisons with Mandela and Gandhi are false. They are kuffar (non-believers) going to hellfire whilst I am a Muslim. Alhamudililah (praise God).’

The comparison was also rejected by the Gandhi Foundation, which continues the work of the former Indian leader – who was assassinated in 1948 – towards tolerance, democracy and non-violence. Mark Hoda, chairman of the trustees, said: ‘Choudary is someone who advocates hate and violence and justifies terrible acts, so I think it is an absurd comparison.

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