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Friday, 30 January 2015

Church of England is investigating a vicar accused of posting a Facebook article blaming Israel for 9/11 attacks.

  • From the section UK
Attack of World Trade Centre
The 9/11 attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania in 2001 claimed nearly 3,000 lives

The Church of England is investigating a vicar accused of posting an article on Facebook blaming Israel for the 9/11 attacks in the US.

The Reverend Stephen Sizer, vicar of Christ Church, in Virginia Water, Surrey, allegedly posted a link to an article entitled: "9/11 Israel did it."

He reportedly wrote: "Is this anti-Semitic? It raises so many questions."

The Diocese of Guildford said it was taking "immediate steps" to investigate.

A spokesman for the diocese - which oversees Mr Sizer - said it was a matter of "deep sorrow and shame" that the posts appeared in the same week as the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

"Our attention has been drawn to comments by the Rev Stephen Sizer on social media. In those comments Rev Sizer linked to an article entitled '9/11 Israel did it'," the spokesman said.

'Beyond absurd'

"These comments would rightly be seen as unacceptable whenever they were posted. It is a matter of deep sorrow and shame that they have been posted in this week of all weeks.

"The Diocese of Guildford, where the Rev Sizer is licensed, is taking immediate steps to investigate. The diocese is aware of the seriousness of the matter and are also in touch with the Board of Deputies of British Jews."

BBC religious affairs correspondent Caroline Wyatt said Mr Sizer had a history of disputes with Jewish community leaders over blog postings on Israel and Zionism.

In 2013, Dr Sizer and the Board of Deputies of British Jews reached a mediated agreement aimed at ending a long-running dispute over postings on his blog about Israel and Palestine.

Our correspondent said Mr Sizer had removed the Facebook post but reportedly continued to defend it, saying he was encouraging debate about "serious allegations" over 9/11.

Jonathan Arkush, vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, told the Jewish News: "Posting, and giving approval to, an article which in effect accuses Jews of responsibility for the 9/11 atrocity is unquestionably anti-Semitic, just as it is beyond absurd."

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