Councillor accused of ‘posting Islamophobic comments’ says: ‘I’ve been made to look like something I’m not’


A BOURNEMOUTH councillor who came under fire for allegedly posting ‘Islamophobic’ content said her words were taken out of context.

Beverley Dunlop, of BCP Council, was one of a number of Conservative councillors to appear in an article published by a national newspaper this week.

It is understood some 25 Tories across the UK have been suspended from the party pending an investigation.

According to reports in The Guardian, Cllr Dunlop posted messages in two Facebook groups with more than 11,000 members between them.

In one of the messages, apparently posted in 2016, she allegedly said: “I hate to ban anything really but I’d suggest we start with mosques!”

In another post from last year, she allegedly responded to a call for an inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative party by writing: “How about them calling for an inquiry into Islamist rape gangs grooming underage, underprivileged white girls?”

Cllr Dunlop has this week released a statement about the article to the Daily Echo. She said: “A few sentences from a wider discussion have been removed from the context in which they were written in order to make me appear to be something I am not.

“The irony – which I thought was obvious in the mosque comment – is that I am well known for my libertarian outlook and very much oppose restrictions of freedom such as bans.

“Only someone with a political agenda would view comments about female oppression and abuse and then attempt to denigrate the writer. I am aware of two other comments, which without the surrounding material can and no doubt will be used to convey whatever the publisher chooses.

“After 12 years of representing Moordown I sincerely hope the residents – and of course my BCP colleagues – know me better.”

Osman Ahmed, a lecturer in sports therapy at Bournemouth University, told the Daily Echo he has written a formal complaint to top BCP Council officers calling for a review by the standards board.

In his letter to Tanya Coulter, service director legal and democratic, and Richard Jones, head of democratic services, he said: “I have spoken to many Muslim friends and family in the local area who are all shocked and appalled by The Guardian report.

“Tellingly, many of my non-Muslim friends and family have also reached out to me and are equally upset as to these comments being made.”

The Daily Echo contacted BCP Council to comment on the situation, however, the local authority said the complaints process is confidential and no comment could be provided.

In September, Labour BCP councillor Lisa Lewis apologised for her “carelessness on social media” after she shared a link online to an “anti-Semitic” article.

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