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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 January 2008, 19:55 GMT
Mayor apology over Muslim remarks
Robert Bennett
Robert Bennett has apologised over his comments
A town council mayor has apologised after sending an email saying Muslims "cause mayhem with explosives".

Robert Bennett also spoke of Muslim women wearing "black sack-like clothing" and said that Muslims wanted homosexuals to be shot.

The Tory councillor, who is mayor of Mirfield, West Yorks, made the comments in an email to the town council clerk.

The Kirklees Conservative group has condemned the remarks and is deciding whether any action should be taken.

Mr Bennett sent the email after a request by the Huddersfield-based Ahmadiyya Muslim Association to appear before the town council to ask for funding.

I sincerely hope my comments will not undermine the important job of work that has to be done in building greater community cohesion throughout West Yorkshire
Robert Bennett

It said: "I am aware Islamic organisations are keen to promote a view that they are peaceful, forward thinking individuals who wish to integrate into the British way of life.

"The policy of clothing the feminine population of Dewsbury in black sack-like clothing from head to toe, the occasional trip out to cause mayhem with explosives and the proposal that all those of homosexual persuasion should be killed by shooting or other means is adequate and practical testimony to the level of progress being made in this direction."

He added: "I, for one, am not prepared to spend the time on something that can be dealt with elsewhere... We have enough non-religious problems to address in Mirfield at this time without adding a religious dimension to our discussions."

'Not acceptable'

After the email was leaked to the media, Mr Bennett's comments were widely criticised by his party and the local Muslim group.

He said: "I apologise for any remarks I have made which may have caused offence.

"I sincerely hope my comments will not undermine the important job of work that has to be done in building greater community cohesion throughout West Yorkshire."

Dr Abdul Barry Malik, from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, said: "You don't expect a person of that calibre, at that level, to speak the language that he has used.

"He's supposed to represent all the citizens of this town and to criticise one particular community without having enough knowledge, without any facts, is not acceptable in a civilised society."

In a statement the Kirklees Conservative group said: "His comments are completely unacceptable, we understand he has issued an apology and it now follows that the local party will look into the matter to determine the course of action to be taken."

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