Sayeeda Warsi has offered up academics and experts to help educate The Sun’s columnist Kelvin MacKenzie after he wrote a “divisive” article.
The Conservative peer was responding to a column which criticised Muslim reporter Fatima Manji for presenting Channel 4 news in the wake of the Nice terror attack.
She said in an open letter to the Sun’s editor Tony Gallagher that the “divisive” piece “attempts to hold a whole community accountable for the actions of an individual”.
Warsi added that the “shock-jock” article may have increased the paper’s sales, but that more severe consequences would befall Muslims in Britain.
“I’m writing to you not because as a white man I hold you responsible for all the stupid actions of other white men, but because I urge you to exercise your role as an editor with responsibility,” she wrote.
“A number of academics, writers and policy makers who are renowned experts in community cohesion and tackling bigotry are willing, on a pro bono basis, to help inform your papers thinking and educated columnists like Kelvin MacKenzie.
“Please let me know if you would like to take up their kind offer.”
The controversial piece, headlined ‘Why did Channel 4 have a presenter in a hijab to front coverage of Muslim terror attack’, attracted a large degree of criticism elsewhere.
Press watchdog Ipso confirmed it had received over 300 complaints by midday.
Many reporters leapt to the defence of Channel 4’s Fatima Manji.
While human rights lawyer Shoaib Khan questioned how long MacKenzie believed Manji should have stayed off screen after the attack and businessman Lance Bradley said he had reported the incident to police.
Hate crime hotline Tell Mama told HuffPost UK that MacKenzie had wrongly associated Manji’s faith with that of the perpetrator of the attack in France that left more than 80 dead.
“Instead of writing an article about tackling extremism and terrorism together as communities, he turns on Fatima Manji and inadvertently suggests that any Muslim who comments or is in the public eye should be removed, by default because of the association of their faith to that of the perpetrator even though it seems he was hardly Muslim in his lifestyle.
“What we have in the comments of MacKenzie is someone who believes in ‘collective punishment’. Remove those who are Muslim because someone who was born of a Muslim mother conducts a crime. This is stomach-churningly autocratic, perverse and very dangerous.”
Channel 4 said they would respond to the column in due course.
When approached by HuffPost UK a spokesperson for The Sun simply said: “No comment.”