Monday 21 August 2017

'I made a mistake and I'm sorry but the reaction I got - death threats - doesn't promote debate' - Vogue Williams on internment comments

Vogue Williams on RTE's Cutting Edge
Vogue Williams on RTE's Cutting Edge
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Vogue Williams has apologised for her calling for internment for Muslim extremists, but condemns the online abuse she received in the wake of the comments.

The 31-year-old model and presenter faced massive backlash over her column in the Sunday World last week in which she discussed the Manchester and London terror attacks.

She referenced Muslim former police chief Tarique Ghaffur who suggested internment camps for radical extremists were the answer to the issue.

"This is something that should be decided by the people but I certainly agree with it," she wrote. "The only way to stop these senseless attacks is to put any potential threats away."

While she conceded it "didn't work" in Northern Ireland, she still advocated for internment today.

"I know it didn't work with the internment of IRA members in Northern Ireland when 2000 alleged paramilitaries were held without trial in makeshift camps," she continued.

"But in today's case the terrorists cannot be negotiated with.  They want to ruin the western world and they will stop at nothing to do this, so we need to have the same approach with them."

Reaction to her column on social media was overwhelmingly negative, and in this week's column she apologises for her stance.

She says it was written "at a time when I was upset and shocked" and she felt "frightened and angry".

She says she stands by her belief that if the UK government had "insight into the individuals or network that carried out the attacks then the country should act on that with a zero tolerance approach".

However, she adds, "But after reflecting more deeply, I understand that suggesting internment camps - ie imprisonment without trial - was a misguided opinion.

"Everyone has the right to a fair trial and to be heard and I of course do not believe in a dictatorship type of government."

While admitting she "made a mistake" and is "sorry for that" she condemns the reaction she received which included "death threats, hate, pure vilification" and said it "doesn't promote debate".

Vogue condemned the abuse which she says causes people to retreat into themselves and sticking with a "sometimes wrong opinion because they're afraid to even address issues in case they're wrong."

She concludes by saying that we should not be afraid to have a debate or discussion.

Online Editors

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment