Orange suspends employee over 'Islamophobe' blog entry

Investigation underway

Orange has suspended an employee after a string of customer complaints about a post he made on Tory blogging site ConservativeHome.com.

Inigo Wilson, a community affairs manager at Orange, posted a rant about "lefty" jargon he feels is being used to obscure the real political motives of the left.

In his list of definitions, Wilson writes that "child-centred-education" has come to mean: "we can't be bothered to teach them...perhaps they'll do it themselves", and that "skills-based-education now means "teach the little ba**ards Microsoft Word or something. They don't actually need to know anything."

However, the bit that got him in trouble is his definition of an Islamophobe: "Anyone who objects to having their transport blown up on the way to work". His definitions of Palestinians and of al-Qaeda have also attracted criticism.

Posters on the forums of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC), an organisation which describes itself as a civil liberties group set up to "empower Muslims to focus on non-violent Jihad and political activism" have led a campaign to have Mr Wilson removed from his post.

A spokeswoman for MPAC told us that in the current climate Mr Wilson's comments were certainly unhelpful.

"We don't want to go down the path of 'Muslims don't have a sense of humour'," she said. "But at the same time, it is hard to read that without wondering if there is some underlying prejudice."

Orange says Mr Wilson's suspension doesn't neccessarily imply that he has done anything wrong.

A spokesman told us: "All employees are issued with guidelines as to what constitutes behaviour that brings the company into disrepute. We need to investigate now to determine whether or not Mr. Wilson has breached those guidelines."

The investigation should take about a week, depending on how complicated it becomes, he added. ®

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