A UKIP councillor has been accused of ‘crossing a line’ after he labelled Islam as an ‘evil cult’ and that Muslims should be ‘completely removed from our country’ in a Facebook post.
Councillor Stuart Potter, ward member for Paulsgrove on Portsmouth City Council, faced a barrage of criticism yesterday after his comment on a post by The News regarding the city leaders’ reaction to the terrorist attack in London on Saturday night.
Islam, Muslims, Isis have no morals, they are an evil cult and need to be completely removed from our country before more innocent men and women and children are killedCouncillor Stuart Potter
Cllr Potter commented on the post yesterday morning: ‘Ok so the news did not talk to me, a Ukip councillor, because I would say what the majority are thinking.
‘I offer no apologies for my statement that follows which is my own thoughts and belief.
‘Islam, Muslims, Isis have no morals, they are an evil cult and need to be completely removed from our country before more innocent men and women and children are killed.’
Cllr Potter’s fellow ward councillor, John Ferrett said the comments were ‘very dangerous.’
He said: ‘This has the potential to really inflame community relations. We have got our own personal views as councillors and you have got to be responsible.
The independent councillor added: ‘His words are very dangerous given the situation as to what has just happened.
‘He is conflating terrorists with the majority of law abiding citizens. Ukip need to have a look at this. This could really inflame tensions.’
Councillor Donna Jones, the council leader said Cllr Potter’s comparison would be the same as comparing Irish people to the IRA.
She said: ‘Political leaders have a very important role at times of crisis and that is to represent people’s views whilst also being careful not to incite hatred or fear.
‘Isis is an evil organisation that acts in a cult-like way based on tribal principles of religious interpretation, they murder, destroy and rip apart anything in their way that stops or prevents the one state.
‘They do not represent or reflect all Muslims across the world and certainly not the vast majority of the UK. It would be the same as comparing an Irish person to the terrorist principles of the IRA.
‘I would urge councillors to think carefully when commenting to avoid inciting behaviours that could lead to civil unrest.’
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth Liberal Democrats said: ‘What Cllr Potter has written plays into the hands of what the extremists want people to say.
‘To label a whole religion because of the actions of the few is not what we should be done on a day like this. Today is a day for reflection and the Islamic people are as outraged as everybody else about what happened. What he has said is very dangerous.’
Councillor Stephen Morgan, leader of Portsmouth Labour Party also condemned the comments, calling for unity among the city’s politicians after the attack.
He said: ‘Now is a time for unity in our country, not the politics and language of division.
‘The recent barbaric attacks on our people and our country – in Manchester and now London – only reinforces my view that we have more in common than that which divides us.’