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UK politician sacked over burka binbag jibe

Chris Joannides

By Beatrice Thomas / Arabian Business / 06 Mar 2014

A British local government politician has been kicked out of his party after posting a photograph on Facebook comparing the Islamic hijab dress to trash bags, the UK’s Daily Mail reported.

Councillor Chris Joannides has been expelled from the Conservative party for a year following an investigation over the image which showed a woman and child in traditional Muslim dress standing between two black rubbish sacks.

A caption under the photograph said: ‘I saw her standing there and I told her she had three beautiful children. She didn’t have to get all p***ed off and threaten me. It was an honest mistake!’, the Daily Mail reported.

The councillor, who did not compose the words on the caption, said it was posted on his page by a friend but he admitted having “shared” it in what he described as “blokeish banter”. He said he then deleted it from his page.

“The picture was shared on my Facebook profile by a friend and I deleted it straight away, but someone took a photo of it before I could take it down,” he was quoted by the Mail as saying.

“I was investigated by the local association and cleared. I was investigated by the police and cleared. I was reselected to stand in May by the local branch.

“Then I got an email from Conservative Central Office at the 11th hour telling me they were suspending my membership for 12 months, effectively barring me from standing.

“The rug has been pulled away from me. I am not and never have been Islamophobic.”

The Conservative Central Office said Joannides “is not endorsed as a candidate in the forthcoming local government elections”.

“No appeal is permitted under party rules. Furthermore, Mr Joannides is expelled from the party for a period of 12 months. He may appeal against this decision and it is our understanding he intends to do so,” a spokesman was quoted as saying.

The newspaper reported that Joannides, who is of Greek-Cypriot origin and represents the Grange Ward in Enfield, had previously upset colleagues by complaining that his community work often interfered with his social life and also surfing Facebook during meetings.

 

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