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Durban - The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa has dismissed a complaint against controversial 5FM presenter and Idols judge Gareth Cliff for making derogatory remarks about Muslims.
The agency said it had received a complaint in September after Cliff, on his live breakfast show, had allegedly made comments about the suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, in which eight South Africans had been killed.
According to Zaheer Ismail, who sent out a broadcast message on BlackBerry Messenger, Cliff had said: “There is nothing good in Afghanistan, nor is there anyone with any common sense.
“Westerners should leave these 13th-century barbarians to blow themselves up.”
Cliff came under fire on social networks
where many expressed outrage.
He allegedly went on to insult the Middle East and mimicked the Arabic language in an insulting way.
The commission’s Kim Erentzen told The Mercury that the agency had reviewed the complaint and there was no judgment on the matter.
“There was no contravention breached,” she said.
Reacting to the news, Cliff, through his publicist Rina Broomberg, welcomed the ruling.
She said Cliff had not referred to Muslims but was quoted out of context by the complainant, which was why the matter was dismissed.
“There was no mention of Muslim people. He has absolutely nothing against Muslim people. He has a lot opinions which everyone is entitled to,” she said. “Gareth was condemning the behaviour of the suicide bombers.”
She admitted that Cliff often had a “go at a lot of people”.
“He has a go at fat people. But people often quote him out of context and that is why the complaints are dismissed.”
In July, the agency dismissed a complaint against Cliff for calling a woman a “b***h” and ruled the word had been used in a “playful and melodramatic manner”.
He had addressed the woman as “Dear B***h”. The woman lodged a complaint.