Rachel Riley

Countdown presenter Rachel Riley has apologised after a backlash over a tweet regarding the Sydney mall stabbing.

Over the weekend, six people were killed and others injured in a stabbing attack at the Westfield Bondi Junction Mall in Sydney, with the perpetrator identified as a man called Joel Cauchi, who was later shot dead by police.

Following the attack, Riley shared a tweet in which she wrongly claimed that the attack was linked to “globalised intifada”. Police have claimed that the attack was “related to the mental health” of Cauchi and that there was “no ideological motivation” (via BBC News).

In the since-deleted post, the presenter wrote: “For 6 months now, people have been out on our streets proudly calling for the ‘Intifada Revolution.’ If you want to know what ‘Globalised Intifada’ looks like, see the Sydney Mall. 5 victims stabbed to death and 8 transferred to hospital, including a baby, due to one man and a knife.

Rachel Riley
Rachel Riley at The Grassroot Soccer World AIDS Day Gala. CREDIT: Getty/Stringer

“In the second intifada over 1,000 Israelis were murdered in restaurants, on buses and in the streets by suicide bombings, stabbings, stoning, lynching, shooting rockets. The youngest victim was just 9 hours old. Sydney mall, multiple times over is what they’ve been proudly calling for.”

The tweet has sparked a backlash on social media, with some accusing the presenter of Islamaphobia. In a follow-up post, Riley said her “intention with this tweet was not to say this attack was caused by any ideation or to link it to Islamic extremism”.

“At the time we did not know who the attacker was, and as such I made no reference,” she wrote. “My aim was to highlight the weekly calls for ‘intifada’ being tolerated in London and around the world, which in actuality means violence on our streets.

“For 6 months now, I have avoided taking the tube, or going with my kids to anywhere near the marches each Saturday, and each week we see the extremist chants on proud display with little outcry,” Riley continued. “Sadly, the type of attack seen in Sydney yesterday is exactly the kind of violence the previous intifada involved and I hope to avoid in future, but in my opinion ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.

“Attacks on Jews have recently become repackaged as ‘resistance’ in some circles, and we should in one voice condemn all acts of violence, whoever the perpetrators and whoever the victims. I am sorry if this message was misunderstood, that was not my intention.”

Amid calls for Countdown broadcaster Channel 4 to take action, the channel said in a statement (via Metro): “We have reminded Rachel of her obligations as a contributor to Channel 4 programming.”

The post TV presenter Rachel Riley apologises for “intifada” tweet that was “misunderstood” appeared first on NME.


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