Julie Burchill abused me for being Muslim – yet she was cast as the victim | Ash Sarkar

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The columnist has apologised for her Islamophobic insults, but the response at the time shows the issue goes way beyond her

Last December, I was referred to as an Islamist and a paedophile worshipper. I read multiple tweets speculating about whether I’m any good in bed, and insults about me supposedly having a moustache. Strange poems popped up portraying lurid sexual fantasies about having a threesome with me and the French far-right leader Marine Le Pen. I saw posts being liked on Facebook that told me to “kill myself for shame” and suggested that I had been a victim of female genital mutilation. None of these were the actions of an anonymous troll – they were the work of Sunday Telegraph columnist Julie Burchill.

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This morning Burchill published a lengthy apology for these defamatory statements. She acknowledged that some of them “play into Islamophobic tropes”, and admitted that she was wrong to make “racist and misogynist comments” regarding my appearance and sex life. Burchill has apologised “unreservedly and unconditionally” for the “hurtful and unacceptable statements”, and undertakes not to contact me directly again or “engage in any course of action amounting to harassment”. She has also had to pay substantial damages for the distress caused and my legal costs.

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