David Starkey slammed for calling Mehdi Hasan ‘Ahmed’ on Question Time

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Gay historian David Starkey has been labelled a bigot for referring to political journalist Mehdi Hasan as ‘Ahmed’.

Mr Starkey – who has made a long string of controversial comments – made the gaffe on Question Time last night.

While talking about the Charlie Hebdo attacks, he accused modern Islam of being “backward”, and claimed that “nothing important” has been written in Arabic for five centuries.

“I’m sure we will hear from Ahmed, in France there are very strict rules.”

Mr Hasan – who recently left Huffington Post to work for Al Jazeera – later hit back: “Given you can’t get my name right – my name is Mehdi, not Ahmed – I would question your selective quotation of somebody else.”

Host David Dimbelby also had to intervene to stop Mr Starkey from speaking over other panellists, saying: “David, leave it please, you are not the only person on this panel as you well know.”

Elsewhere in the show, he appeared to blame a female victim of a paedophile grooming gang.

Twitter reacted with outrage to the historian’s comments – with users branding Mr Starkey a “xenephobe” and a “racist”. One user joked: “It’s political incorrectness gone mad.”

Appearing on Question Time in 2011, he warned against creating a “new tyranny” after a Christian couple with anti-gay views were stopped from fostering children.

Starkey said he had profound doubts about the decision and that being “nice and sweet about gays isn’t wholly a good thing”.

Writing in The Telegraph in June 2012, Starkey questioned whether equal marriage was really necessary at all.

In a discussion on Newsnight about the riots of 2011, Starkey said: ”The whites have become black”.