LBC is a London-based national talk and phone-in radio station. One of its best known and respected presenters is James O’Brien. Over the years O’Brien has tackled many issues, including Islam and Muslims, as well as interviewing politicians, celebrities, and sporting personalities.
Below are two of my favourite O’Brien clips. The first is of O’Brien giving a masterclass in how to deal with people who blame Islam and all Muslims for the Charlie Hebdo attack in early 2015. This was O’Brien’s most listened to clip of 2015, as well as being his favourite highlight of that year.
The second clip is of O’Brien movingly reading a letter from a man of Jewish ancestry on Holocaust Memorial Day. The letter called for greater focus on the experience of Muslims in the UK, as it draws an important parallel between anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany and present day Islamophobia.
Full transcripts of both clips are also presented.
The third clip is similar to the first one above. LBC presenter Cristo Foufas puts an Islamophobe who calls all Muslims “maggots” in his place.
All three clips are each only several minutes long, well worth listening to. Anyways, enjoy!
James: Richard is in Maidenhead. Richard what would you like to say?
Richard: Hi James. I just want to say I agree with you to a point, I think any reasonable person knows that most Muslims have absolutely no part in this and that it is a real and fundamental and a very, very minority group who are doing this, but I think an apology is needed. You said before that if a Geordie person had done this, should all Geordies issue an apology, and that was kind of a little bit ridiculous but…
James: Why? Why is that any different? Why should Abbas, our last caller, apologize for what these murderers in Paris did?
Richard: Well because I think the alternative is that there is no apology.
James: Have you apologized yet?
Richard: Apologized for what?
James: The murders in France on Wednesday.
Richard: Why would I need to apologise for that?
James: Well why does Abbas? He was in Berkshire.
Richard: Well, no, because they’re doing it in the name of Islam. If that was done…
James: Not his Islam. They might have been doing it in the name of Richards, wouldn’t mean it was about you.
Richard: I know, but the…
James: So why haven’t you apologized then? You can do it now if you want.
Richard: There has to be, there has to be some…these people are connecting acts of terror in the name of Islam.
James: Not in the name of his Islam.
Richard: I know, I do understand that…
James: So if I went and blew somebody up now, and I said I was doing this in the name of Richards everywhere, you would feel you would have to apologise? In fact, wasn’t the Shoe Bomber called Richard Reid? Have you apologised for him yet?
Richard: You’re making it a bit ridiculous now…
James: No, you are.
Richard: I’m really not…
James: Okay, then tell me why you haven’t apologised for the Shoe Bomber whose name was Richard, because Abbas has to apologise for a terrorist who said he was a Muslim?…Take all the time you want mate.
Richard: Okay, so these guys are from the Islamic community.
James: Yes, and the Shoe Bomber was from the community of people called Richard.
Richard: We could feel some sense that some action in the Islamic community…
James: I don’t trust people called Richard anymore, so when are you going to apologise?
Richard: It is difficult to argue against you when you are being like this. I’m just trying to make a point that these people are from the Islamic community, and there needs to be a sense that…
James: What does that even mean? What does the Islamic community even mean?
Richard: You don’t understand what the Islamic community is?…
James: I know that Sunni and Shia kill each other every single day in this country on a scale that is nowhere close to what happened in France. So what do you mean by the community? Do you think they are on the same side, do you, those people killing each other in Syria at the moment?
James: So what is the Islamic community?
Richard: The Islamic community in this country.
James: So it’s just everybody who has the word ‘Islam’ on their religious affiliations, even if they actually hold murderous intent towards each other. Which is bringing us back to Richard, everyone who’s got Richard on their passport, is part of the Richard community. You’re allowed to admit you’ve made a mistake my friend.
Richard: No I’m not going to admit that I’ve made a mistake. There needs to be a sense that we as a country…
James: I’m just going to interrupt you there Richard, which some may consider an act of mercy…
I heard you mentioned that you want to avoid conversation about the ongoing anti-Muslim rhetoric that is so prominent in the press at the moment, but I really think you missed a trick here.
I just wanted to say that although I am not a religious man I have a strong Jewish heritage. Today being the 71st anniversary of the Holocaust, which is very personal to me for obvious reasons, I think we really need to make the link of how Muslims are being subjected daily to such lazy prejudices, just as my ancestors were all those years ago.
On this day of remembrance Jews, more than anyone, need to stand up for the Muslim community and the vile rubbish that is spouted in the press pretty much every day. Leave all that Middle East nonsense to one side for the moment, we need to remember that it was not that long ago it was us who were on the receiving end of this type of treatment, and we all know where that ended up.
A lot of my family emigrated from white Russia during the pogroms in the early 19th century to settle in the slums of east London, where it was commonplace to see signs reading ‘No dogs, no Irish, no Jews’. It feels like we’re receding into a society that is happy to say ‘No Muslims’. Just look at what’s going on in the States with that lunatic Donald Trump. We simply cannot tolerate this. That’s all I wanted to say. Keep the peace.
Josh, on today of all days I am happy to provide you with an opportunity to bring that message to a slightly wider audience, in the probably naive hope that some people might listen.
Cristo: You were very careful to point out that you believe that every single Muslim is a maggot. The Muslim that treated you at the hospital, the Muslim that may have treated you at the doctor’s surgery, the Muslim that may have educated your children, the Muslim that may have sold you something at the corner shop, the Muslim that may have been here and contributed and worked all of their lives in order to make a better life for themselves and to pay taxes here in the United Kingdom – you would call them a maggot.
Cristo: You’re an idiot.