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Pair pay price over Islam article

Wilson and Macleod fired by Skye newspaper

Brian WilsonSkye-based West Highland Free Press (WHFP), has sacked its founding editor and former government minister Brian Wilson along with Rev Donald Macleod of the Free Church of Scotland in a dispute over an article on the spread of Islam in the UK.

Mr Macleod, a contributor to the weekly paper for 24 years, wrote an article in May which included the line “in the event of Islamic dominance in Britain our friendly Muslim shopkeepers will have little option but to march behind the radicals.”

His article was defended by Mr Wilson who said it opened up “wider questions about Islamic influence within Europe, including implications for democracy and freedom”.

The company took a different view and in a statement said: “We note there has been some speculation around Professor Donald Macleod and founding editor Brian Wilson no longer writing columns for the West Highland Free Press and confirm they will both be no longer writing for us.

“We thank both Brian Wilson and Professor Macleod for their immense contribution to the paper over many years.

“They have rightly earned their reputation as erudite, passionate and respected writers and their regular offerings in the West Highland Free Press will be missed by some readers. Further than this, we have no comment to make.”

Mr Wilson, a minister in former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government, has written for the paper for most of its 43-year history.

He said: “From my perspective it’s completely a freedom of expression issue and of course it saddens me that this is the outcome.”

Mr Macleod  is a former principal of the Free Church College in Edinburgh.  He said: “I am upset and vexed for Brian. He has paid the price for supporting me.”

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