The BBC Asian Network has defended its ‘Breakfast’ presenter Adil Ray after he commented on the cancellation of the Gurdas Maan concert over a Kirpan issue.

The comments were made on Adil’s show on Thursday 6th August when the programme featured a news bulletin with two stories about Sikhs. One was about the cancellation of a Gurdas Maan concert in Canada, the other about Sikh soldiers joining the Queen’s guard in the UK for the first time. Adil talked about both with the newsreader after the bulletin.

The BBC Asian Network said, “We have had a few responses from listeners who thought that he was in some way mocking the Kirpan or Sikhism, or judging the rights and wrong of wearing the Kirpan. That response has led to discussion on some message boards.”

The statement further added, “The Asian Network and Adil Ray would like to assure all our listeners that he did not mock the Kirpan or Sikhism. He was expressing surprise at the cancellation of the gig over the Kirpan issue, and then to link the two stories he made a remark about the British Army and whether it would be open-minded enough to let Kirpan wearers in. At no time did he make any judgment about people’s faith or the rights and wrongs of wearing the Kirpan.

The Asian Network and Adil Ray welcome the fact that he has listeners of all faiths who enjoy his humour and presentation.”

Following the uproar by listeners, the BBC Asian Network has spliced out the remarks from its listen-back service, BBC iPlayer.

Earlier this year, the Network of Sikh Organisations (NSO) Media Monitoring Group expressed concern over the ‘Adil Ray Show’ after stand-in presenter; Tommy Sandhu made some comments about growing a beard.