Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gloves Are off as Ken Accuses Boris of 7/7 Smear on Islam; Emotional: Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone Listen as Tyiesha Litambola Appeals for London to Be Made a Safer Place at the Mayoral Hustings in the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gloves Are off as Ken Accuses Boris of 7/7 Smear on Islam; Emotional: Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone Listen as Tyiesha Litambola Appeals for London to Be Made a Safer Place at the Mayoral Hustings in the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster

Article excerpt

Byline: PIPPA CRERAR

BORIS JOHNSON today accused the Mayor of "demeaning" his office bysuggesting Mr Johnson had smeared Islam after the London bombings.

The Tory candidate said he took "deep offence" at Ken Livingstone's claim hehad said the Koran was "inherently" violent.

However, the Mayor insisted Mr Johnson's remarksin contrast to his own rousing response to the 7 July attacksshowed his true reaction to the tragedy.

In the first radio hustings on LBC radio between the three main candidates, MrJohnson insisted he would have issued "exactly the same" kind of remarks afterthe bombings, which killed 52 people, as Mr Livingstone had if he had beenrunning the city at the time.

"What Londoners want in the event of a tragedy of that kind& is someone whowill speak for the city and give a voice to our defiance and our unwillingnessto submit to that kind of terror and kind of cowardly attack," he said.

However, the Mayor claimed: "I know what Boris would have said because he wroteit in the Spectator the following week. Very different. I said this is acriminal act by a handful of men. It doesn't define a faith or an ideology.

"What you said, Boris, was Islam was the problem... And the Koran is inherentlyviolent. I actually made certain that we were looking at individuals. Yousmeared an entire faith." An audibly furious Mr Johnson responded: "Can I tellyou what deep offence I take at that? I think you really traduce what I said.

"My view is that Islam is a religion of peace and indeed I am very proud to sayI have Muslim ancestors.

"My great-grandfather knew the Koran off by heart, Ken Livingstone, and Ireally wish you would leave off these kinds of tactics, which demean this raceand demean your office." In an article for The Spectator magazine the weekafter the bombings, Mr

Johnson wrote: "The Islamicists last week horribly and irrefutably asserted thesupreme importance of that faith, overriding all worldly considerations. …

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