A VICAR who linked on social media to an article entitled "9/11
Israel did it?" has apologised.
The Revd Stephen Sizer, Vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water,
in Surrey, is reported to have posted the article on Facebook, with
the comment: "Is this anti-Semitic? It raises so many
A spokesman at the Church of Englands communications office said
on Thursday: "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 Guilford, where the Rev Sizer is licensed, is
taking immediate steps to investigate," the spokesman said. "The
diocese is aware of the seriousness of the matter and is also
in touch with the Board of Deputies of British
The vice-president of the Board, Jonathan Akrush, said on
Friday: "Posting a link and giving approval to an article which in
effect accuses Jews of responsibility for the 9/11 atrocity is
unquestionably antisemitic, just as it is beyond absurd."
On Friday, Dr Sizer said: "I very much regret and apologise for
the distress caused by the sharing on Facebook of a link to an
article about 9/11 from Wikispooks.
"It was particularly insensitive in that last week
coincided with Holocaust Memorial Day. I removed the link as soon
as I received adverse feedback, and realised that offence had been
"I have never believed Israel or any other country was
complicit in the terrorist atrocity of 9/11, and my sharing of this
material was ill-considered and misguided.
"At the request of the Diocese, I will be suspending my
use of all social media and blogs with immediate effect and until
Dr Sizer has a troubled relationship with the Board of Deputies.
He was investigated by the police in 2012 after a complaint was
made about an article he posted on his Facebook page. The Crown
Prosecution Service concluded that he had not committed any
criminal offence (News, 16 March and
2012), but a formal complaint was brought by the Board of
Deputies under the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM). It was
eventually resolved through conciliation (News, 25 October,
The report of the conciliation said that Dr Sizer did not accept
the substance of the complaint; but that he accepted that he
should have "taken more care" before linking to the contents of
certain websites. He agreed to ensure that three people would read
his website and blog in order to check the content and monitor any
links to websites.
On Friday, Mr Arkush said that Dr Sizer had "breached the terms"
of these undertakings: "This is a very serious matter and the
Board will be taking further action."